Best. Summer. Ever.

 

Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.”

– Kellie Elmore, Writer

“Before we know it, summer will be gone. And with it will go the many opportunities that it brings. The radiant sunlight, beautiful beaches and outdoor cooking…and underlying these elements are opportunities to boost the way we think and feel” which is why we’ve brought together a panel of experts to give us tips on how to still have the best summer ever.

Alongside world renowned psychiatric visionary Srini Pillay M.D. (2017) quoted above, we have Kathleen Doheny multiple award-winning health journalist with the research might of WebMD, but perhaps strongest expert of all on having an unforgettable summer, we have an actual 9 year old, professional kid who also just happens to be my daugher.

“Even adults tend to adopt a ‘school’s out!’ attitude in summer,” Doheny reported, so “WebMD went to eight health experts” to ensure that readers had the best information on how to make the most of their summer (2010). But “kids are the real experts on summer,” Illyana said, “because we are amazing! Adults usually stay inside…but kids run around outside like maniacs and live it up!”

Summer Experts Agree

 

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

– Henry James, Author

 

Living it up in summer is a balance, especially if we seek that free-spirited child’s approach. Our experts agree that these five tips will go a long way to achieving that balance while bringing some grown-up data to the childish spirit at summer’s core.

Be Connected

Countless studies have shown that our relationships boost our positive feelings, increase our enjoyment of experiences and provide emotional resilience in times of stress; summer is no different.

“Summer is all about spending time with your family and friends,” Illyana said, excited about her family, neighborhood pals and “lots of new friends that don’t even go to my school, that I’ve made on my own” at summer camp “so that’s pretty cool.”

Doheny and the team at WebMD agree that part of a great summer is the social connections we build, especially through play “remember,” she said “the family that plays together not only gets fit together — it’s also a great way to create bonding time” (Doheny, 2010).

 

Be Active Outside

“Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin,” Dr. Pillay said (2017), extoling the virtues of simply playing in the sun for lowering our risk of cancer, heart and autoimmune disease, “and even premature death” but from an emotional perspective, “to be less anxious and depressed and to say sharper, walk outside.”

Kids both simplify the benefits and crank that walk up a notch. “Playing outside in summer is good for kids because it’s fun! We bounce on trampolines, swing on swings, ride bikes and sometimes we just run around.” Kid experience supported Dr. Pillay’s data. “When I’m running around and my heart’s beating so fast I’m just joyful…all those positive feelings, that means summer to me.”

Dr. Pillay noted that the advice to play outside “may sound obvious, but only 16% of U.S. adults have one walking trip a day.” So it makes sense, especially in summer, to broaden our outside horizons. A simple kid tip to live by is “Always go outside…sprinklers and pools—water type things—play in them!”

 

Be Imaginative

With the warmer weather, bright skies and hopefully more relaxed schedule, the experts suggest that summer offers a great opportunity to open our minds as well, and soak up some hidden benefits—even super powers.

Dr. Pillay studies our innate ability to be imaginative and intuitive. He cited twenty-six studies that “found that the human body can detect stimuli presented one to ten seconds in the future.” Bam, summer superpower! Or maybe magic that kids knew about all along…

“Sometimes we use our imaginations when we play,” Illyana said. “This one time I was at my friend’s house and all the kids were there—we all were something imaginary—I was pretending that I was a magical bunny and my favorite line was ‘I gotta bounce!’”

For those of us who can’t picture our next garden party involving pretending to be magical animals, Dr. Pillay suggested to “allow your mind to wander while waiting for food to cook on the grill or while gardening too. You might want to set an alarm for the grill but you start this by imagining something playful or wishful. This will activate the unfocus circuits and allow for more creative thinking as well as brain rejuvenation” (2017).

 

Be Adventurous

Perhaps the most common past-time in summer is the vacation, and with it comes a host of benefits like lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones like cortisol “which contributes to a widening waist and an increased risk of heart disease” (Doheny, 2010).

Dr. Pillay suggests that we make room to travel new paths alongside the favorite vacation spots. Neurologically, new experiences and challenges actually build your mind-muscles “and when your body follows unexpected paths, your mind follows suit too” leading to greater creativity and brain health (2017).

“It’s good to do something new” Illyana agreed, “because you shouldn’t do everything the same in life—there should be different things going on because it’s exciting, but sometimes nervous—but mostly exciting.”

When traveling these new paths, make sure to bring a memento back. Such items will not only remind us of the experience and bring fond memories, but they have also been shown to rekindle some of the feeling of excitement or accomplishment left from the journey. Illyana returned to Doheny’s point about summer being family-bonding time to share  “this is, like, a fun fact: In our basement we have this beam that’s in the middle of our house and what’s cool about it is we’ve filled it up with stickers and stuff from everywhere we’ve gone. Just today I went to the Philadelphia Zoo and—wham!—I put it up on the beam.”

 

Be Restful

To a kid summer is grand “even when it rains it’s good because it’s a nice day to rest.” Rest is key in summer, according to WebMD. “Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days,” Doheny urged. “Instead pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule” because of the multiple benefits of a solid nights’ rest on the day’s activities (2010).

“Sleep. Sleep, sleep,” our 9 year old expert concurred. “After a long day of Summering around-sleep-sleepity-sleep sleep because sleep is good for your body.”

Summer? Nailed it.

 

Summertime is always the best of what might be.

– Charles Bowden, Journalist

 

I would like to thank our experts, both interviewed and researched, for helping us all have the best summer ever, and Illyana would like to say “Thank you for READING this article!!!!” to our fine readers.

Doheny ended her piece by encouraging readers to try the heathy tips above, and Dr. Pillay advised that trying them “will protect your mood and thinking” because summer important to all of us, no matter our age (2017).

“I think experts talk a lot about how to have a good summer because if there was no summer we would never have any time to go to pools, run outside and scream ‘It’s summer!’ and go on vacations,” Illyana observed. “Life would probably be miserable.”

Let’s all go out and scream “It’s summer!” because life surely isn’t miserable. Especially if we follow the advice of the experts.

 

__________________________________________________

 

Doheny, K. (2010) 8 Summer Steps for Healthy Living. WebMd.com. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/women/features/8-summer-steps-for-healthy-living#2

Pillay, S. (2017) Psychological Gifts You Can Give Yourself Over The Summer. PsychologyToday.com. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/debunking-myths-the-mind/201707/psychological-gifts-you-can-give-yourself-over-the-summer

Karabin, I (2017) Interview.

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