I’m writing this while shielding my eyes from the bright light, tempted to go back outside to do just a little more reading In The Sun.
This has been one of my favourite things to do this summer and I feel like it’s the first summer I’ve actually made the most of in my whole life. (In recent years, I’d take revision and other work outside but this year, sometimes, it’s been novels or even just sitting and feeling the ground beneath my feet).
It started (embarrassingly enough for someone whose work is all about wellbeing and self care) as something I’d almost force myself to do – sit outside for 20 minutes to Make Some Vitamin D. I knew that levels have been falling and that in some cases, rickets has been found in the UK so, with our cloudy climes, it was almost a chore to sit and let my skin convert the sunlight into a mood boosting vitamin.
The extra long and cold winter made those early sunbeams even more welcome. But I was surprised at how brief 20 minute sunshine breaks (longer and even being half Indian, I worried about burning) felt like a mini holiday.
I was still working crazy hours (early starts and late finishes and my one day off each weekend is a recent thing) and yet I didn’t feel as close as I used to to my allostatic load (that point of overwhelm). I was more productive and happier.
This was without even factoring in the sea (I’ve been my own boss for nearly 9 years so have only myself to blame). Just sitting in the garden, bare foot, with a glass of green jasmine iced tea (often pretending it was whisky but still…) enjoying the moment.
Last summer was so hectic with work and study that the garden was somewhere to revise. I didn’t have a sea swim until early September. This summer, I’ve gone to Essex’s ‘sunshine coast’ several times (and had more during a few days with friends in Cornwall) and one was so idyllic (felt like I had the whole sea to myself), I did a spontaneous underwater Happy Dance.*
As we near the end of summer, think about how to soak up as much sunshine (literally and emotionally) as you can. What do you love most about this season? How can you create as many joyful memories as possible to warm you through the winter?
When you contemplate winter, what ‘warm’ things can you imagine doing year round to keep your spirits high? Creating emotional Vitamin D?
Whatever you love, I hope you’ll continue to do as much of it as possible.
(And I’m hoping to get a few more sea swims in).
* Think Snoopy’s First Day of Spring Dance but twisting in the sea.
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