7 tips for Summer Renewal

☀️Summer is here! ☀️ At least for those of us in the northern hemisphere 😎 For many of us work slows down in the summer, and whether we are able to take a vacation or not, it offers an opportunity to get renewed and refreshed in body, mind and spirit. Here are 7 ideas for making the most of it.

1. 🏖 Get in touch with nature 🌿
Feeling the wind in your hair, the sand in your toes, the sun on your skin: Nature helps us slow down, take in beauty through all the senses and gain perspective. We all have our favourites. Here are some of mine: Hiking up a mountain, going to the spa, watching the sky change as the sun sets. This summer I will take one week’s vacation in the alps. I love the “good tired” feeling after a day in the mountains and the fact that I sleep like a log. How will you enjoy nature during the long summer days and evenings?

2. 🏄‍♀️ Try something new 🚀
As humans we are creatures of habit. The right habits can be hugely helpful, of course. The downside is that our everyday routines can get us stuck in a rut. There’s nothing like trying something new to get you out of your comfort zone, expand your horizons and help you grow. How about travelling to a new place, trying a new sport, or eating a new type of food? This summer my husband and I will be hiring a caravan to go to a summer event on a campground for the first time. I have holidayed in tents, boats and cabins, but never a caravan. My husband has done none of the above. I am slightly nervous, but excited and looking forward to seeing what we will learn on this adventure!

3. 🚠 Play tourist in your home town 🗽
We all have jewels on our doorstep! And it’s exactly because they’re on our doorstep that we take them for granted or never get around to visiting them. I grew up in London and used to love having the excuse of visitors to do the tourist thing. One of my favourites was taking a boat down the Thames to Greenwich and seeing London from a different perspective. In the Lake Geneva region we are spoilt for choice. It’s so easy to eat a picnic lunch by the Rhone, take a boat from Nyon to Yvoire, or enjoy a swim in the lake! We live at 800m in the Jura and literally 20 minutes walk from our house there is a public barbecue spot with a view across the lake that we’ve never tried out. What gems are on your doorstep that you want to explore?

4. 📚 Read a book 📖
Reading is good for you! Books transport us to another world, expand our minds and enhance our creativity. Research has shown that reading has positive health benefits too, helping combat stress, anxiety and depression. When I travelled regularly to the US for business I made a ritual of buying a novel at the airport on the way home on a Friday and finishing it before I went back to work on Monday. It was the perfect way to disconnect and relax and I miss it.
When I had a child, I thought I didn’t have enough time to read “proper” books and I practically gave up trying. But, according to research conducted at the University of Sussex, it only takes six minutes of silent reading for the heart rate to slow down and muscle tension to ease? So, even if you don’t have a lot of time, it’s definitely worth it! The summer holidays are a great time to get stuck into a good book. What’s on your reading list?

5. 🤹‍♂️ Release your inner child – go play! 🧜‍♀️
If, like me, you have a tendency to take your work and your goals too seriously, then it will do you the world of good learn to play again, just for the pure joy of it! There are infinite ways to play, just remember “If its purpose is more important than the act of doing it, then it’s probably not play,” says psychiatrist and play researcher Stuart Brown. So, let go of the feeling of guilt that you’re “wasting time” and know that you are doing good something that’s good for your soul and your brain 😍. If you’re stuck for ideas here are some inspired by my 4-year old because children are endlessly creative and curious:

*Get moving! A day without physical activity is unthinkable for a 4 year-old. Run, jump, climb, swim, play frisbee – alone or together, the less serious the better.
*Use your imagination! In imaginative play children explore different roles and scenarios, try new things and explore their emotions. Why not allow yourself to dream a little this summer?
*Create something! Creating something with our hands is wonderfully satisfying and engages different parts of the brain than “thinking.” Whatever you enjoy making, take time for it this summer.
*Get Curious! Curiosity and exploration are at the heart of play. This summer why not follow your curiosity to visit somewhere that fascinates you, research a topic you’ve always wondered about, or interview a friend or relative about something that’s close to their heart.
*Express Yourself! Children have an authentic and spontaneous way of expressing themselves: if it’s funny they laugh, if it’s sad they cry, and they call a spade a spade. While some self-censorship may be desirable, most of us are probably a bit too worried about what others think. So, this summer share your delight with others: laugh, sing, dance, hug, and if you love someone tell them.

6. 🎧 Create a feel-good summer playlist 🎼
Want to create good feelings and make memories with your loved ones this summer? Why not create your own soundtrack to Summer 2018? Music provides a powerful way of experiencing and expressing emotions. Music can lift our mood, inspire us, and console us. Music also helps us to create and recall memories. I love music of many different genres (especially anything that has a dance beat), but nevertheless my taste does not always correspond to that of the rest of the family. And given that we are going on a road trip this summer, I have decided that if I don’t want the song of the summer to be “the wheels on the bus” I’d better get intentional about making some new playlists!

7. 🎪 Attend an outdoor event 🎫
A few weeks ago, we stumbled across a neighbourhood festival in Geneva and stopped to eat some street food, listen to some music and enjoy the ambiance. It is fun to see human diversity and creativity at play as the summer draws people out of their apartment blocks and into streets and parks. I don’t know about you, but it lifts my spirits! We are spoilt for choice for summer outdoor events in the Geneva region catering to all tastes and ages, many of them for free. What’s on where you are?

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