Summer Mindfulness 2023

Mindfulness is a healthy coping skill that can help you regain focus when thoughts or situations  become overwhelming. Practicing mindfulness can be challenging for many parents, especially  during seasonal transitions. However, as the weather heats up this summer, you likely find  yourself becoming more energetic than in the colder winter months. Summer is an ideal time to  put that extra energy to good use by freshening up your mindfulness practice. So clear your  mind, enjoy the longer days, and focus on the present with a few activities to strengthen your  mindfulness. 

Embrace the Changing Seasons and Get Cooking 

An excellent way to practice mindfulness is to embrace summertime by whipping up a few  culinary treats using seasonal produce. In addition, cooking a delicious home-cooked meal  allows you to use all your senses, which is an essential part of mindfulness. Try to remain  present during each step of the process, from preparation to enjoying your finished meal. You  can even use mindfulness when selecting your food at the grocery store. Pay attention to what  senses help you make each selection, such as sight, touch and smell.

Surround Your Self With Nature With a Walking Meditation 

Walking meditations are perfect for those looking to combine low-intensity exercise with nature’s  sights and sounds. Summer is a wonderful time to go outdoors too. During a walking meditation,  you can focus on your breath, how your body moves, and what you see. If you’d like, you can  pop in your headphones and listen to a meditation app or simply focus on the thoughts that  cross your mind. In 2022, a research study found that mindful walking outside can decrease  stress, enhance sleep and bring an overall sense of well-being to participants. So, put on your  walking shoes and begin your mindful walking journey this summer. 

Kick Off Summer by Decluttering Your Home 

Springtime isn’t the only time to get your home in order. Disorganization and clutter often cause  anxiety, especially as you accumulate more things you don’t need. Mindfulness and decluttering  often go hand in hand, as you must remain intentional as you decide what to keep, donate or  throw away. Don’t let your organization efforts overwhelm you, though. For example, you can  start as small as you’d like with a junk drawer or your bathroom. Make sure you maintain the  right frame of mind as you go through your items and reflect on what you truly need as you  enter a new season of growth. 

Unplug From Electronics and Reconnect With Yourself 

Many people struggle to set healthy boundaries with electronics. This struggle becomes even  more apparent if you must constantly check your work email or phone even after office hours.  Spending too much time online or using electronics can cause a disconnect from what truly  matters in life. Make a conscious effort to remain more mindful this summer by deliberately  limiting how much time you surf the web or answering emails. You can then use this time to  reconnect with your loved ones over a cup of tea or even reconnect with yourself with a bit of  journaling, yoga or introspection. 

Get Your Kids In on the Action 

Mindfulness isn’t just something for adults to enjoy. Children are often more naturally mindful,  especially smaller kids since they use all their senses to explore the world around them. Make  mindfulness fun and intentional by incorporating activities they’ll enjoy throughout the day. Lie a  blanket or some beach towels on the lawn, lie down, and observe the clouds in the sky. Discuss  with your children what each one looks like, what shapes they make, and what colors they are.  Another fun way to practice mindfulness with your children is to bring them along on your walks and ask them to point out ten things they see along your route. Not only are these great ways to  enhance your bond with your child, but you’re building the foundation for them to become more  mindful as they grow. 

Mindfulness is an essential component of self-care, and this summer is a great time to put it into  practice. Fortunately, there are many ways to practice mindfulness, and each is easily  adjustable to fit your schedule. As seasons end and new ones begin, we become aware of the  seasons of our lives and how quickly they pass. Practicing mindfulness this summer will help  you maintain an optimistic outlook and put things into perspective no matter the challenges  ahead.

Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC, and has been meditating for over 30 years. Our article is also published in ParentingOC’s Magazine!

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