One of the greatest things about summer is that the days are longer. Since many of us use sunset as a cue to start to wind down and relax, the extended daylight hours of summer mean that we are on the go constantly, trying to fit as much as we can into those glorious hours of sunshine. While most of your daily activities are hopefully ones you enjoy, being on the go constantly can leave you with the need to unwind in a quiet, low key way. You need this time to rest, refresh and recompose. You know how you feel right after you come home from vacation? You had a great time, but it is almost as if you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. The constant activity that comes with the summer months can leave you with the same feeling, even if you don’t ever venture any further than your own backyard.
What you need is a little low-key pampering. I am talking about small acts of kindness to yourself that require little in terms of investment of your energy or money. Even if you have an active social life or spend plenty of time on activities that you enjoy, there are plenty of reasons to take a few minutes and focus just on you. For starters, a little self-care reduces stress and leads to better sleep habits, both of which provide great payouts where long term health is concerned. Just think that in a few more months, fall will be upon us, as well as the chaotic energy of the holiday season. So, why not take every opportunity to pamper yourself while you can.
There are countless ways that you can start showing yourself a little love right now. In case you need a little inspiration, I have compiled a list of healthy little indulgences for making yourself your number one priority.
Take a Nap on a Breezy Day
There is no better way to recharge than taking a little nap during the day. While naps are great, a nap on a breezy day with the window open is even better. Keep a set of crisp clean sheets ready to put on your bed to elevate the experience even more. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a hammock in your back yard, take it outside and let the combination of the breeze and warm sunlight lull you into slumber land. Just make sure to apply some SPF if you plan on falling asleep under the warmth of the sun.
Buy or Pick Some Fresh Flowers
I am convinced that floral shops and even the floral department of large grocery stores are an underutilized commodity. We tend to save fresh flowers for special occasions, but why not treat yourself to a beautiful bouquet for no reason at all? Place it in the center of your table, or someplace where you will walk by it constantly, then take every chance to inhale the scent and appreciate nature’s beauty.
Try Dry Brushing
Before you take your next bath or shower, take a dry, natural bristled brush and gently brush your skin in upward strokes. This will shed all those unsightly dead skin cells, leaving your skin luxuriously soft, plus dry brushing will boost your circulation, giving you a beautiful glow and the added benefit of more energy.
Take a Pampering Bath in the Middle of the Day
Why wait until the end of the day for a soak in the tub? Quite honestly, I am a fan of the morning bath as long as the water isn’t so warm that it leaves me sleepy before the day even starts. While a morning bath might not be your thing, a mid-afternoon soak could be just what you need amid a hectic day. Lock the door, use a special bath salt or oil in your water, even pour yourself a glass of your favorite refreshing summertime drink to sip on and enjoy your private little escape from reality for a few minutes.
Deep Condition Something
Summertime hair can become dry and brittle. Going barefoot can leave calluses on the bottom of your feet. Summer can be just as harsh for hair and skin as winter, except we aren’t always prepared for it. Take a few minutes and deep condition your hair, apply a foot cream, pamper your hands or indulge in a moisturizing face mask.
Pamper Your Skin
Speaking of moisturization, summer is the perfect time to splurge on a truly luxurious body lotion. For a little more than what you pay at the drugstore, you can drench your skin in a natural, antioxidant-rich body lotion that delivers instant gratification while creating long term benefits. Our Sweet Almond & Macadamia Nut Body Butter and Olive & Jojoba Oil Body Soufflé fit the bill perfectly!
Buy a New Cosmetic
Now is the perfect time to be playful with your makeup. Go ahead and try those extra-long lashes, or the bright colored lipstick. Apply a little shimmer where you normally wouldn’t. Enhance the playful side of yourself with a new cosmetic that makes you feel happy and free spirited, without worrying if it appropriate or what other people will think.
Get a Mani/Pedi in a Color or Style That is New for You
If you don’t normally indulge in a little salon care for your hands and feet, then I strongly encourage you to plan an afternoon devoted entirely to yourself and spend some of that time in a comfortable chair, leaving your fingers and toes in the hands of a skilled professional. Whether you have never had a manicure, or the technician sees you so often that she considers you family, go a little bold and crazy the next time you go in. Pick a color that you have always loved, but felt it was too uncharacteristic of your personal style. Try a new length or shape of nail or go with a fun design. Be playful and be reminded of that playful spirit every time that you look down at your hands and feet.
Some of the best little indulgences are those shared with others. Take every chance that you get to show and share affection with those that you love and care for. Give hugs freely, kiss with abandon and hold hands every chance you get. Plenty of studies show that there is a direct correlation between affection and happiness. What’s even better is you getting to pamper your loved ones while pampering yourself.
Play Catch Up
Pick up the phone and call, yes call, the person in your life that you have lost touch with. Don’t do it by text. Hearing the voice of someone that you miss is incredibly therapeutic, and chances are that hearing your voice will also bring some happiness to their day.
Take Yourself on a Picnic
When was the last time you went on a picnic? Now that you have answered that, when was the last time that you took just yourself on a picnic? Why not pack up some of your favorites in a picnic basket, head to your favorite outdoor retreat, lay out a blanket and enjoy the company of nature? You don’t need human companionship to have a picnic. Eating is something that we all need to do; however, we rarely make a celebration out of eating alone the same way that you might when others are joining you. Treat yourself to your favorite healthy indulgences while enjoying nature and your own company.
Be Decadent with Dark Chocolate
There is one bit of sweet decadence that you can indulge in, even if you are carefully watching what you eat. I am talking about dark chocolate here. It is rich, luscious and has just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy a persistent sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is also well known for some of its health benefits such as its antioxidant qualities, the way it lowers stress, lowers cholesterol and overall helps to protect cardiovascular health.
Try a New Fruit
Summer is the perfect time to try one of those new fruits that you come across when perusing the produce aisle of your local grocery store. Maybe there is a more traditional fruit, such as an apricot that you have never tried, or maybe you have a flair for the more exotic and want to sink into a kumquat or passionfruit. Whatever it is, stop just looking at it and put it in your basket. Five minutes on the internet will tell you everything you could ever want to know about any fruit or vegetable that you are unfamiliar with, so there really is no reason to not indulge your curiosity.
While sinking into a whole cake or devouring an entire pint of ice cream aren’t the healthiest choices, there is a way that you can explore some new, decadent sweet treats without blowing your daily caloric load. Many bakeries keep samples on hand and are happy to share then with you. Many restaurants and cafes now offer a selection of mini-sized desserts that make for the perfect little indulgence. If dessert isn’t your thing, but beverages of the adult variety are, head out to a local wine or beer tasting. Check out the pub down the street to see if they offer a flight of their locally crafted brews of even spirits such as whiskey. These give you a chance to sample just a little bit of everything without worrying about waking up with a headache the next day.
Splurge on What Can’t Be Seen
We spend so much time concerned with how we present ourselves and the way that others see us. What not splurge a little on the things that only you can see? Pick up some new lingerie, and throw away all your old ragged underthings. Having something of high quality, that also feels nice, so close to your skin will remind you all day long that you are worth the little indulgences.
Read a “Fluffy” Book
There is only so much seriousness that one can handle. Why not put it all aside for a little bit and treat yourself to your favorite guilty indulgence in book form. Download a romance that will take you away or go to the library and check out a book from an author that was one of your favorites as teenager.
Construct a Vision Board
Of all the little ways that you can pamper yourself, devoting a little time to your vision of the future is one of the best investments of your time and energy. Gather up those old magazines that you have been meaning to recycle, go to a craft store or antique market and find bits and pieces that feel significant to you and in some way, tell a story about where you are and where you want to be in the future. Include things that represent blessings and goals. Then find a large board or shadow box and arrange them, collage style. When you are finished, hang it up as piece of artwork that you are proud to own.
These are only a few suggestions of low key, inexpensive ways to relax and pamper yourself this summer. No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing to remember is that you are always worth it. You can’t be all that you need to be for everyone else if you neglect yourself. Your own self care should always be at the top of your priority list. Make a habit out of treating yourself to little indulgences such as these on a regular basis. I promise that you always deserve it!
-- Angela Irish, Certified Aesthetician & Co-Founder OZNaturals