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There is nothing like these long days when every delicious, summery minute counts. This time of year embodies abundance, energy, and fullness. July brings daily joy, feeling the sunshine and warmth that we Northerners miss so much throughout our long winter. This year we are making the most of our current situations by exploring and savoring our sweet home state of Vermont.
We don't always get these opportunities to slow down during the summertime. It seems that in the past years, summers have been filled to the brim that they were booked up before we knew it, so this time has become a real silver lining during the pandemic.
I intentionally planned a full staycation day that involved no work or chores and checked a few things off my summer bucket list. There is always a plant-inspired theme to these adventures, and I bring herbs along to support and inspire. I hope it brings some inspiration as you plan your own summer staycation adventures in your home states.
I think it's important to maintain a simple morning routine that sets your day straight. Maybe it's a few moments of journaling or making lists, meditation, or savoring your coffee in quiet stillness before your family wakes up. Whatever it is, use this time first thing in the morning to get your mind into a state of balance.
I like to wake early. I crave these solo quiet mornings before the world wakes up- it feels like sacred time. It's also my most productive for thinking, dreaming, and writing.
First things first is herbal tea. A summer favorite is yerba mate with local honey or coffee if I am in the mood.
While I wait for the tea water to boil, I take my Digestive Bitters and other herbal supplements. I keep these right next to the kitchen stove and teapot--that way, I see it when I am going about my morning, and I never forget to take them- they become a daily habit without too much thought. And we all know that these daily habits have the most impact on our everyday wellbeing.
Then I head out to the backyard to either work in the garden or lounge in the hammock. I like to weed first thing in the morning and then water. It's a wonderful way to wake up, and then I get to see what work needs to be done and can plan for it in the coming days. Also, gardening puts my head in the right space, so starting my day like this is therapeutic.
I've been loving outdoor yoga classes right on the water--they embody summer for me, and as a yoga teacher it's a treat when I get to attend a class rather than teach. I highly recommend outdoor classes this summer; it's a great way to get fresh air, see people (in a socially distant manner) and give yourself a bit of movement and stress reduction. I like to take Joy Tonic before class to calm my nervous system and get me into a place of gratitude.*
Most weekends, during the summer, I visit the farmers market. I love the ritual of walking around and seeing what fresh produce is available for my summer cooking. While it's a bit different this year with a pandemic (masks required, and no sampling or lingering allowed), I think it's more important than ever to support our local farms. This year I discovered June Farm, a flower farm at the Intervale Center. For me, having fresh flowers in the house is like a type of spirit medicine. It's instant joy for my soul. Since we are spending so much time at home these days, I have been making the practice of having fresh flowers throughout my home a necessity.
I like to take a walk or hike in the woods, and when I can, I'll try to do it barefoot. I don't often get to do this, but earthing benefits are becoming more well-known. It sets the alignment of my body back in place, feels great to get my feet on the earth, and makes me slow down more to notice my surroundings. If you need more of an excuse to get into the woods on a summer's day, read about the benefits of forest bathing here.
We recommend taking a field guide out to the woods or local parks with you--it's a great way to learn new plants and familiarize yourself with the local flora.
I follow up the woods walk with a refreshing river swim: the rivers here always feel so clean and rejuvenating, but getting in any body of water will do. Exposing yourself to the earth's natural elements is good for the microbiome, both internally and for the skin's external microbiome.
For an adventure like this, I like to bring Energy Tonic. The energizing adaptogens sustain my energy levels without the use of caffeine. I'll also bring herbal iced tea, Traditional Medicinals Hawthorn with Hibiscus tea has been a summer favorite with a picnic lunch.*
A vacation day doesn't feel complete without a glass of wine, so I stopped by our local Shelburne Vineyard and picked up one of my favorite natural wines, Pet Nat. The term has its origins in French, "pétillant naturel," which translates to "naturally sparkling."
I am a big fan of natural wines, and they are growing in popularity, which doesn't come as a surprise since people are making decisions that support more sustainable practices. The oldest method of winemaking, natural wine has nothing added, and nothing removed and is grown organically or biodynamically. These wines are alive with healthy populations of microorganisms, and they tend to have more life, energy, and flavor than conventionally made wines. I love these wines chilled on a hot summer's day, especially when enjoyed with good company.
We live in a beautiful part of the world, and Lake Champlain is my favorite body of water. The sunsets here are something else, and an evening on the water is what summer is all about--especially this year as we don't have much to do or anywhere to go.
You don't need to get out onto a boat to enjoy the magic of water at sunset, a picnic dinner at the beach or your local park is also perfect.
I like the European tradition of a simple meal enjoyed outdoors somewhere other than the home. It’s a way of reinventing dinner and entertaining, and it allows you to rediscover the joys and simple pleasures of a shared meal--nothing to do but eat, talk and be together.
And, of course...dessert!
I believe in treating yourself. We wait all year for these summer days, we might as well enjoy them, and the treats that come with the season.
This is when Digestive Bitters come in handy. Treat yourself, but first, take your bitters! Bitter herbs are your best friend this season. Use them for gas and bloating, by taking them before you eat to ignite the digestive fire, supporting the production of the body's natural digestive juices, or occasional heartburn and indigestion by sipping a small amount after a meal.*
These sprays make for a convenient way to take herbs with you. They fit easily into a small purse or a pocket--that way, you are never without these trusty digestive aids.
What a full day! This is what summer is about--savoring the abundance and harnessing the energizing vibes of this season. But it's equally important to rest.
I like to take Simmer Down Tonic as I begin to wind down from the day, these calming adaptogens support the nervous system and prevent you from getting into a place where you feel burnt out. I love the ritual of actually "simmering down" for the evening. It's a great time to read, sit outside on the back patio, drink tea, take a cool bath, and eventually get into bed. At this point, I'll take Hit the Hay; it's the perfect nightcap to send me off into a deep, restful sleep.*
Happy summer adventuring!
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