5 Tips To Feel Somewhat Normal
Since the quarantine came into effect in March, many of us are feeling the strain from the new norm. Continual social distancing and all the time indoors with crappy lighting is really starting to get old. Now that it’s summertime, thoughts of BBQs and long days at the beach are likely on your mind, but should you lean into that? Although you should still observe the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, spending time outdoors — and with your loved ones — is very much important.
Here are some tips on how you can enjoy your life and still be safe!
1. Lean In To That Fire
Ever notice how when summer comes around that you start to feel full of energy? Summer is the season of yang and fire. As that internal (and external heat) start to rise, we often feel more outgoing. After months of being cooped up, a great way to both get your wiggles out and connect with others, find a workout buddy. Pick a park, set a time, and get to working off all the takeout you likely ordered the last few month. One note, be careful not to overdo it in the heat. Find some extra tips for this in “Surviving Summertime & Sun Holistically.”
2. Go Forest Bathing to Restore Your Qi
The Japanese have a practice known as “shinrin-yoku,” or forest bathing. It’s a centuries old practice and even considered a form of preventative health care in Japan, and it’s really simple: Just spend time in a forest and admire the woods. Curious about its health benefits? Well, numerous studies have linked reduced depression, anxiety, confusion, and even fatigue to the practice.
When it comes to TCM, time in nature is said to increase the flow of qi and blood circulation. One study found that participating in outdoor activities (and spending time outside in general) can lead to a “variety of positive mental health outcomes.” So, if you’re feeling down from the quarantine, a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood (or local park) might be the best medicine.
3. Nighttime Fun
Ok so this is bringing a new meaning to the term above. The days of cocktails till 2 am might be on pause, but when was the last time you looked up at the stars? It’s probably been a while, but we bet if you do, you’ll remember how amazing it is. Star gazing is a great way to give yourself perspective and meaning. The late Stephen Hawking even encouraged it when he said, “look up at the stars and not down at your feet.” So, the next time you’re feeling lonely or lost, grab a friend (or just yourself) and take in the view.
4. Friends and Family BBQs
BBQs are a great option if you’re social distancing as you can easily catch up with your buddies while hanging outside. While we’re all in this together, it’s hard to remember that when you spend so much time alone, and these sorts of activities can help to build the sense of social support. When you cook with others, even if you’re just bringing over the ingredients so they can do the work, you’re forging a bond and a special memory with that person.
Plus, studies show that loneliness can increase the risk of depression, suicide, alcohol use, and even cardiovascular disease. In other words, lack of a support system can have long-term effects on your mental and physical well-being.
In the summer, bitter and cooling foods (think spinach and watermelon) are a great option. For ideas on what else to eat by season, check out “A Year In Food And TCM.”
5. Set Up a Personal Getaway for Yourself
As important as it is to spend with those you love, it’s equally important to take care of yourself! Take some time to do something on your own — especially when you’re feeling stressed out. You know that hike you’ve seen on IG and always wanted to do, but never found time for? Now’s the time.
One study shows that taking part in leisure activities can lower blood pressure and stress. So, if you’re in a funk get out, even if you don’t feel like it. Make yourself do it and you likely won’t regret it.
Have some other outdoor activities you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!