As the summer weather (finally!) kicks in and the thought of our social lives re-emerging becomes a reality, many of us are feeling excited and nervous in equal measures. No doubt, you’re looking forward to seeing more friends, having a drink somewhere other than your best mates flat and (dare we say it) potentially even getting back to ‘normal’ office life.
Now more than ever, we need to be taking time out for ourselves and making sure that we’re getting that ‘me’ time in the diary. But after months of lockdown, sheet masks and yoga are beginning to feel a bit like ‘more of the same’ than a break from the norm. So how can we get ourselves calm, inspired and ready to get out there and be our best selves without breaking the bank?
My answer is pretty simple: H20. Yes, it’s not ground-breaking, but water in its many forms has been proven to help reduce stress, promote wellbeing and soothe the nervous system. So how can we make this little miracle worker part of our daily life?
Drink enough of it – Yes it's simple, but if you’re dehydrated your brain won’t be running as efficiently as it could be. Which means it could struggle to convert enough energy for you and could produce less serotonin – the chemical that makes us happy. But for those of you thinking “yes, yes 8 glasses a day, move on”, I’ve got some news for you. The ‘eight glasses a day rule’ may have actually been developed in 1945 and has stuck around because it’s easy to remember. The level of water you need will vary according to what you’ve eaten that day, the level of humidity around you and how active you are. So remember to check in and check your hydration levels as the temperature rises.
Get Paddling – SUPing has exploded this year and is the perfect way to meet new friends in a socially distanced setting. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got terrible balance, are not sporty or are a bit of a nervous beginner, this is an activity that anyone can give a go. Clubs such as Gutsy girls make it easy to get on the water for the first time by organising taster sessions where a fully qualified instructor teaches you all the basics and then takes you on a short paddle to practice your new found skills.
Tune into the sounds of the sea - The noise of the ocean stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the system in the body that helps you create that sense of deep chill. If you can’t get to the ocean yourself, Yoga app Glo offers you a range of timed meditation including sea waves. Try finding a small field or spot somewhere quiet outside to gain maximum sensory stimulation.
Get an indoor desk fountain – Succulents be gone, the indoor desk fountain is the new desk accessory. Whilst it may feel kind of crazy to install a small water feature on or near your desk, you may find a surprising leap in your creativity levels or that it’s easier to connect with others as this constant presence soothes your mind and helps it to consider things outside of the daily life.
Why not challenge yourself to try out one or more of these this August. Or if you’ve got another watery way to relax let me know; I’m looking for some new ideas to try out myself.