Once the New Year's afterglow begins to fade, many of us lose inspiration to create or continue positive change in our lives. In fact, Jan 12th was National Quitters Day - the day that most people abandon their resolutions. One of the reasons resolutions don't tend to stick is because they are often drastic/extreme, requiring huge life changes, or they're goals that are too vague, and therefore difficult to work toward. An example: Deciding you're going to work out 7x/week as a resolution is drastic and unsustainable if you were working out 0x/week before, and deciding to "be more active" is too vague...if you wanted to cheat the system, you could stand up from your desk 1 extra time per day, and you'd technically be "more active"!
In order for positive changes to happen and stick, it's often a good idea to start with small habits. Although small habits & changes may initially seem insignificant, any kind of consistent change is better than short-lived big changes or no changes at all. Here are some small habits you can try to incorporate into your life that can have massive payoff!
Saying "I want to drink more water" simply isn't enough if you really want to enact change. A good benchmark for how much water you should drink is calculated like so: divide your weight (lbs) in half, and that's how many ounces you should try to drink each day. For example: a 200-pound man should try to drink 100 oz of water/day. These numbers may seem daunting, but if you commit to steadily drinking water (for me it took buying a huge water bottle with a carrying strap!), you'll begin to notice positive changes. Your skin can clear up, you can feel more energized, you'll even feel less hungry--did you know that oftentimes, your stomach can't distinguish hunger from thirst? Next time you feel the munchies, drink a glass of water.
I'm not saying you have to get up at the crack of dawn and climb to the top of a mountain to "experience nature"--I'm just saying that meditation as a practice is really beneficial to your life. If you're like me, and you're bad at emptying your mind, try guided meditations. I use an app called "Calm" every night, and I use guided meditations/sleep stories to help my mind shut off and get ready for rest. It's become a routine of mine, and I've noticed a massive positive change in my sleep quality and how fast I can fall asleep. Try incorporating meditation into your morning or night routines--the results could surprise you.
This doesn't mean you need to blow money on tons of expensive treatments or pampering sessions (although you're welcome to do so!). It's simply important to dedicate time each day to caring for one's self. In my own life, I practice self care by treating myself to face masks, and by dedicating time every evening to being alone. This allows me time to recharge (I'm an introvert so solitude is a must), and to spend quality time with my pet cat Rosie (the ultimate therapy!). Try carving out just 10 minutes a day for yourself, whether it's to paint your nails, do some feel-good stretches, etc--giving yourself time to be "selfish" is imperative! The better you take care of yourself, the better your perform in other aspects of life: work, relationships, finances, and more.
I hope this little list inspires some of you to make small adjustments to your routines! It can have a profound impact.
I am not a sunshine and/or heat enthusiast. Most people can guess this as soon as they meet me—I am one of the palest humans I’ve ever met, and I can’t tan; I only burn and then somehow get even paler. I also tend to run extremely warm, so the high temps aren’t my friend either. Suffice to say, surviving summer can be difficult. Here’s a list of my top tips for keeping cool/not burning to a crisp during the summer months!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
According to the USGS Water Science School, up to 60% of the human adult body is water. When the temperatures rise, it becomes even more important for us to replenish our bodies with constant hydration! Personally, I’m not so great at keeping hydrated, but I have noticed that I hydrate much more often when I carry a very durable water bottle with me (I’m quite clumsy – nothing is safe!). My current favorite water bottle is this one from Camelbak. It’s large enough that I don’t feel like I’m constantly refilling it, and it stays watertight and sealed throughout the day which helps me to avoid unnecessary spills.
Use Accessories to your advantage
In addition to hydration, you can use accessories to help regulate temperature. In the past, I’ve used neckerchiefs like this. You just submerge them in water for 10-20 minutes, letting the beads inside expand, then pop them in the fridge or wear them right away. Having the moisture/cooling beads on the back of your neck effectively spreads cooling to the rest of your body rather quickly.
To protect from the sun, try a fashionable sun hat! This one even has a secret ponytail hole so you can wear your hair up while wearing it!
Be Aware and Prepare!
As a near-transparent person, I’ve grown accustomed to putting on sunscreen routinely. If sunscreen isn’t a routine for you, try your best each morning to anticipate where your day will take you: Will you be driving a lot? If so, make sure to at least put sunscreen on your face, as the rays get in through your windshield/windows. Will you be walking outside much? If so, either have clothes that cover everything, or apply sunscreen before leaving.
The same kind of preparation applies to temperature! If you know it is going to be hot, close the blinds/curtains in your house in order to block out some heat. I make sure to do this before I leave for work, and when I return home my apartment is always cooler than the outside temps. I also recommend investing in a sunshade for your windshield if you don’t have access to shade when parking your car at home or work. I use this one. I unfold/position the shade each morning before I walk into the office, and when I return at the end of the day my car is MUCH cooler than it would have been without the shade.
I hope these tips help you to stay safe and comfortable amidst the sunshine and heat this summer! What are your top tips for summer survival?