We look forward to the sunshine and blue skies every summer with great plans to enjoy the outdoors. But despite our most adventurous intentions, the summer heat can put us off from stepping outside and reconnecting with nature.
With a little bit of planning and perspective, we can still enjoy the beauty of nature without becoming overwhelmed by the heat. Here are some tips for you.
1. Be an early bird
One of the best pieces of advice I received some time ago is that we should make the effort to wake up early not because someone says it’s good for you, but because you actually enjoy the early mornings.
You can experience it for yourselves. The earliest parts of the day feel so fresh and peaceful. The air feels crisp and clean. The morning light feels gentle on the skin. While you won’t always see stunning sunrises, the atmosphere always feels quiet and serene.
Early mornings are also a safer and more comfortable time to be outdoors. Temperatures are lower at that time of the day. The air is less polluted. And according to Sun Smart (a program jointly funded by the Victorian Government and Cancer Council Victoria), the UV Index before 10 AM is generally low (ie below 3).
So take advantage of this beautiful time and head outdoors early. You are sure to be rewarded, because everything looks stunning in the morning light!
2. The water element
There’s a natural attraction to water in the scorching heat. Swimming and other water sports are obviously popular during summer.
Be mindful that you can still get sunburnt, even while in the water. Taking sun protection measures is always wise.
A walk along a stream or river can also be refreshing, preferably where there is a lot of tree cover. Try dipping your feet in the cool water if you can find a safe place to do so.
3. In the shadows of trees
Nothing feels more satisfying on a hot day than stepping into the cool shade of a tree.
Pack a picnic and head to your local park. Find a tree that will shield you from the harsh sun and provide some refuge from the hot temperatures. If you can’t get to a park, just find a shady spot in your own backyard!
Forests also provide a good rest and recreation space in summer. Temperatures tend to be cooler in forests during the hot season because of the shade provided by the extensive tree cover and the evaporation process (think of it as trees sweating to cool down).
4. Pick a window
Grab yourself a refreshing drink and just look outside a window. You just might notice plants, trees and animals that you hadn’t noticed before, or you might discover new aspects of them.
We can see a bird bath from our window, where birds regularly come to have a drink and make a splash. It's always fun watching them – their antics never fail to put a smile on our faces.
5. Bring nature indoors
Indoor or house plants create a beautiful ambience in the home, and they come with the added benefit of improving the air quality inside. Do we need any more incentives?
If you don’t think you have a green thumb, then try some easy to maintain varieties. Zanzibar gems thrive on neglect, while parlour palms, lucky bamboos and the snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue) are easy to take care of as well.
Expect to grow attached to your indoor plants overtime (you might even find yourself talking to them!).
And finally, to create a more natural feel at home, why not diffuse some essential oils. There are some nice outdoor blends that will remind you of forest scents and help you relax at the same time.