Personally, summer is my favourite time of the year. If your birthday occurs during the summer season, I imagine you feel the same passion towards this time of the year as I do. I contribute this love for the summer months to being a fire sign astrologically. My birthday is July 28 which makes me a Leo.
During these times, the sun is shining, the gardens are growing and the bumblebees are humming. It is pure perfection. I apologize in advance if you do not feel the same way I do about summertime but I hope I can change your mind.
This summer, I am challenging you to let yourself relax. Let yourself fully indulge of everything summer offers. Use the glorious weather as an invitation to heal your mind, body and soul. With the current pandemic occurring, it is the perfect time for us to dive into our self wellness. It is time to tap into your PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system.
Your parasympathetic nervous system is one of two divisions of the autonomic nervous system which acts unconsciously within your body. The parasympathetic system is also known to us as the "Rest & Digest" system. Maybe you have heard of the sympathetic system before, also known as the "Fight or Flight" system, these two systems are opposite of one another. When we rest and digest, our body slows down to focus on healing, digesting and reducing stress. When we are in fight or flight mode, our body focuses on increasing vision, muscle function and perspiration. Understand? If you need more information, here is an educational link.
Now you may be asking yourself, how can I do this? There is no simple answer to this question as each of us have our own individual experiences with relaxation of the body. Today we are going to discuss simple ideas you can add into your everyday life that will help you relax this summer. Even if you have that full-time job, a family and trying to live a social life... we can do this.
"What is my favourite summer activity?"
"Where is one place I want to explore this summer?"
"What is one unhealthy habit I can change to promote relaxation this summer?"
Write these answers down on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge (or anywhere else you will see it daily). This is one simple activity that can help you create a stress-free summer. Every few days, re-ask yourself the same questions. Did the answers change? Are you doing your favourite summer activity? Are you enjoying yourself? This is a great time for self-reflection.
To add to this exercise, I challenge you to pick one summer activity to add into your daily routine. Here are some ideas. Remember, think 'simplicity':
Whatever you chose, start with a simple goal on how you can incorporate this into each day. For example, I am going to aim to walk everyday this summer for at least 30 minutes. This goal is tailored to me and may or may not be appropriate for you. Your goal must be specific, attainable, measurable, realistic and time-based for success. This means starting small and working your way up to something bigger after each small success.
I have decided to dedicate this summer to full relaxation of my mind, body and soul. I hope you can as well. Evening if you are working, studying or volunteering, it is necessary to set time out of your day for self care. Your health and wellness is more important than your job or schooling. Some of us need to hear that!
Good luck to you all. I hope your summer is enjoyable and relaxing.
Thanks for reading.
This is how we flourish.
Today, we are talking about one of the most essential micronutrients our body needs. Vitamin D is used in the body to absorb calcium and create strong healthy bones. There is scientific research providing evidence that Vitamin D can lower the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis. There are even more benefits to this vitamin that are still being researched. Here's why you should include more of it in your lifestyle.
You may know by now that you can get adequate levels of this micronutrient from the sun and being outdoors. Specifically, the UVB rays that the sun emits. Unfortunately, not all Canadians are going outside enough to receive any of the vitamin. Approximately 30% of Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D which could increase ones risk factors for osteoporosis, obesity, and decreased cognitive abilities.
Spending a few moments outside each day can increase your body's ability to make Vitamin D. If you cannot attain this, try incorporating fortified dairy, plant-based products or other items on the shelf where Vitamin D actually gets added to the product. If neither of these options seems reasonable, a multivitamin could be beneficial to your wellbeing. Elders can benefit most from a Vitamin D supplement due to them spending less time in the sun and their increased risk for osteoporosis.
Here if a fun fact, during the Spanish Influenza of 1918, nurses brought hospital patients out into the sunshine and saw a dramatic increase in symptoms. Those who were treated outdoors suffered less than those who did not get any outdoor time. The sun exposure encouraged healing throughout the body.
The current research is debating on how much Vitamin D is needed for your body to see the most benefits. Some say 400 IU while others say 4000 IU. I was once on a vitamin program that recommended I take 6000-8000 IU of liquid Vitamin D per day. When I stuck to this regime, I always felt my best. I encourage you to read the research out there today on this topic.
Now that it is summer time, I will be lessening my Vitamin D supplementation and increasing my time spent outdoors in the sun. Remember that sunscreen is important and each of us will respond differently to UV rays. As someone who is pale and freckly, it is important to gradually increase sun exposure with UV protection.
It is also very important to remember those with increased melanin in the skin (the darker the skin colour, the more melanin in the skin) may have troubles absorbing Vitamin D from sun exposure and most experts would recommend a supplement to fix this issue. There are a number of others factors that can inhibit ones ability to absorb Vitamin D from the sun including, smog, clothing and sunscreen. There is no magic number for you to spend outside each day. I aim for at least one hour of sunshine per day but I usually go for a lot more. I love being warm in the sun.
I hope you learned something today and will start to incorporate more Vitamin D friendly habits into your lifestyle. Whether it is sunshine, fortified food or supplements, it is important to keep this up throughout all seasons of the year.
Thanks for reading everyone.
This is how to flourish!