by Amy P. Mercovich, D.C.
1. Habits vs Outcome… You can try to make something happen as hard as you want, yet usually the outcome of our efforts are a happenstance, not a guarantee.
The great news? You get to control your habits and you can create a happy life by cultivating habits that align with a greater chance for health, happiness, love, joy, success… all the things you want!
The bad news? You don’t get to control the outcome of those efforts!!!
Want more good news? You can use this to take all of the pressure off of yourself. Cultivate the daily practices that are healthy, joyful, active, social, earth-friendly, strong, self-loving, peaceful, accepting, forgiving, compassionate, stimulating, pleasurable, relaxing….all the adjectives you want. That’s it. Stop worrying about the outcomes which you cannot control. We only live in one moment at a time anyway. Just do as many moments as you can being the person you want to be with the habits that you want to have.
That, my friends, is living a good life. If we look at this from a health perspective, this means being active most days but not worrying about whether you can run a mile in six minutes or lift 200 pounds. This means eating fruits and vegetables and good proteins everyday but not worrying about whether it makes you lose weight or not. This means going to bed at your set bedtime but not worrying whether or not you fall right to sleep. This means doing your daily posture stretches and using your devices the way you should for good posture but not worrying about the fact that you will still shrink a bit as you age.
2.Act like a kid again. A friend of mine gave me a card once that read “Whatever you are doing today, do it with the confidence of a 4-year old in a Wonder Woman t-shirt.” I love that! I am not sure of the origin of the quote yet the sentiment is great. Have that child-like mindset again.
Find something…ANYTHING…that makes you as happy as a kid on a new playground whooshing down the biggest slide for the first time. Do something that makes you laugh so hard you think you might pee your pants. Learn something new and go into the endeavor like a child would…fearless and confident that “I can do that!”
Bonus points if the thing you choose is active. Moving our bodies is one of the biggest gifts and joys in life, in the opinion of this author.
3.Stop the Comparison. Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How true! In the age of social media, some people are sadder than ever. Obviously, there are many reasons for sadness but seeing what others are doing and thinking you aren’t good enough is a recipe for it.
What do we do instead? Leave your technological comparison devices in another room. Go outdoors sans phone. Have a conversation with someone who makes you feel loved. Hug. Think about what you would say to a child who felt like they didn’t measure up. Likely you would ask… “Did you do your best?” After a nod of yes, you would say… “Then that’s great/perfect! Nice work.” Have that same compassion for yourself.
Another perspective regarding comparison is to ask yourself why you are even doing what you are doing? Are you on social media looking for validation? Are you buying things to “keep up with the Joneses?” Are you doing an activity because you feel obligated to? Basically, if you are doing something because it is good for you, your family, the community, or the planet OR because it brings you joy, then carry on. If you are doing something to keep up, for a fear of missing out, to prove anything, for obligations, etc, then consider stopping it.
There is a great video clip online where Bob Newhart is a therapist and a person is telling him all their problems. He keeps interrupting them saying “just stop it.” Just stop. It’s funny and it’s also weirdly difficult. But, does it have to be difficult? Probably not. At the very least, we can all stop the comparison and revel in our unique selves. Be you…the perfect, authentic you.
4.Connect with Nature.
Be outdoors as much as possible. Eat more plants.
Have you ever eaten a salad and had regret? Have you ever come indoors from gardening all day and thought “that was a waste of time?” Have you ever walked in the woods or kayaked on a lake and regretted that you weren’t scrolling through Facebook instead? Have you ever gone berry picking and felt badly about it?
I am doubtful! Almost any outdoor activity and time spent doing it is healthy for you. (Remember, I said “almost.” I am sure people with active imaginations can come up with a funny list of things that are not.)
List of fun and HEALTHY outdoor activities: walk on the road or a high school track, outdoor concerts, amusement parks, make a slip ‘n slide with a hose and a plastic sheet, nature walk, bird watching, kick a soccer ball, shoot hoops, play four square, sit outdoors with the elderly person you are visiting, garden, pick berries, seek out new playgrounds, read on the deck, take your coffee or breakfast outside, walk around the building then eat your lunch at work, go camping, do a ropes course, swim, play tag.
Eat more plants. Farmers’ markets and CSAs abound these days. Visit them and buy something different or in a larger quantity. Don’t let those veggies go to waste! Fruits and vegetables are where vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients live in our food sources. Expand your weekly vegetable selection by one or more this Summer. Find ways to put new or more herbs into your meals. It’s a challenge! Do you accept?
5.Keep cool and hydrated this Summer in fun ways.
Make your own watermelon slushie with frozen watermelon chunks, seltzer, and a squirt of lime in a blender. If you need your beverage to also replenish your electrolytes because you sweated a ton, then add a dash of salt to it.
Keep your water bottle with you at all times. If you work outdoors or in a hot building, be VERY CONSCIENTIOUS to drink enough water. Heat stroke is real.
Play in water such as a creek, pond, lake, or ocean. You’ll feel like a kid again and it’s healthy and cooling.
Nothing beats the feel of a cool washcloth on the back of your neck when you are really hot. Agree?
There you have it, Folks….some “outside the box” ideas for a healthy and happy Summer.