Here Comes the Sun

summertime, enjoy the sun

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This last week has been a whirlwind. Daylight Saving Time, Friday the Thirteenth, and of course the mass hysteria over the outbreak of COVID-19. It’s been exhausting. The good news, though? The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.

Benefits of the Sun

Increased exposure to the sun has many physical and mental benefits. As many people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) know, when the days get longer, mood and productivity increases.

It has been shown that sunlight increases the release of serotonin-or the happy chemical-in the brain. Increased serotonin not only improves mood, but also increases energy. What is more, not only does sunlight help with mood, but it can improve the immune system.

A recent article spoke of how the sun may benefit those who are currently ill, referencing the 1918 influenza pandemic. The basic premise is, influenza patients who were exposed to fresh air were able to reap the benefits of the sun, which can kill the flu virus and bacteria that causes infection in the lungs.

Getting Sun Amid a Pandemic

With the heightened concern of contracting COVID-19, it has been recommended to postpone any traveling, which may ruin many regular spring break festivities. Taking a flight to the beach is risky, all ski resorts in Colorado have been shut down for a minimum or a week, and a majority of amusement parks are shut down. With all of this going on, what are some things we can do to take advantage of the benefits of the sun, to reap the benefits sunshine provides, while avoiding human interaction?

sunshine, sunlight, sun, daylight, healthy, happiness, lake, water

Go for a Run

Obviously one of my go-tos. I’m sure many people, like me, have been stuck inside on the treadmill due to snowy and icy conditions on the roads. It’s time to break free from the confinement, and get in a good outdoor run. Not only will you benefit from the sunshine, but you will also get the endorphin and immunity boost from exercise.

Paddle Boarding

This one may not be feasible for many people, as many lakes are still too cold or frozen. However, paddle boarding offers a means of exercise and fresh air, with little to no exposure to others.

If you’re looking for a paddle board, I recommend the Go Plus Inflatable SUP, which you can purchase here. I purchased one last year, and while I’ve not used it much yet, I have loved it so far. It’s inexpensive, for those of us who are pinching pennies, and easy to set up. Plus, it has a handy storage bag that makes it easy to transport the paddle board and accessories without taking up too much room.

Fishing

There is not much better than a sunny day, a fishing pole, and a tackle box! You can even grab a collapsible fishing pole, like the one here, and hike into some backcountry for an even less crowded experience.

back county fishing, fishing, hiking, camping

Outdoor Yoga

Honestly, I’ve never gotten into yoga. I attempt to practice it to help with my running, then I get bored and stop. But, grab your yoga mat, or find a nice, grassy area, and soak up the sun while practicing some mindfulness!

When All Else Fails, Read a Book

Last year, during The Fourth of July, I was pretty well house-ridden with laryngitis. I could barely talk loud enough to call my dogs back into the house, let alone try to do my job and speak to members of the public. During this time I got in a lot of tanning and reading (Ironically, I chose to read Ted Dekker’s Circle series, about a pandemic that will wipe all of humanity from earth). This is a good option if you have contracted COVID-19, or have other reasons you cannot leave the house. To benefit from the sun, sit on your back deck, or even beside an open window. Crack open a book, slather on the sunscreen, and get lost in another world.

Have Fun, Be Smart, Don’t Panic

The moral of this story is, we are entering into a new season. It’s time to shed the winter blues, and enjoy the sunlight and warmth. Don’t give into the panic, but be smart and safe. And it may not hurt to ration on the toilet paper for a month or two.

5 Reasons I Don’t Give a F*ck What Other People Think

In life, it is so easy to get caught up in caring what other people think. So much so that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to be who YOU really are.

Yet, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what Joe Schmoe thinks of you? What effect does it have if someone thinks your hair looks “stupid”? Will your world end if you say something awkward and people laugh at you?

Now, imagine, you’re in a group of people, perhaps a classroom setting, and I’m sitting in the classroom as well. The instructor asks the class, “Who has cared so much about others’ opinion of them, that it hindered them from living their best life?” I would be the first to raise my hand! At a young age we are taught, perhaps inadvertently, to care what the Joneses next door think. We allow it to impact our daily lives, to prevent us from taking a leap we may not otherwise think twice about.

So what do we, as mere humans, do about this? How do we prevent the opinions of others from interfering with our day-to-day lives? I’m here to tell you, it’s not easy! It is something I still work on, but it can be done!

Below, I have compiled a list of FIVE reasons I have stopped giving a fuck what other people think!

#1 – Life is Short!

I’m going to be honest. It took me a long time to figure this one out. And it’s still something I have to work on daily. But, life IS short. Putting too much stock in what other people think about the way you look, act, or talk, only detracts from the quality of your life. I have found that, the less I care of others’ opinions on me, the more fun I am able to have. Not worrying about others’ opinions allows me to be who I am, and have fun doing it!

#2 – People’s Opinions Reflect More on Them Than You

It’s not easy to hear someone say something nasty or hurtful about you, and go on living life. But, you have to remember that what they are saying says more about who they are than about who you are. They could be saying something hurtful because they are jealous about what you have, or they are insecure about some aspect of their life. It is a hard thing to do, but instead of taking offense, show empathy for where they are in life! See what they may be missing, or how they are hurting, and realize that is the true reason for the hurtful comments. Is this an easy thing to do? Fuck no! But it not only helps you live a better life, but it is also a great practice in building a stronger mentality!

#3 – Showing Your Weird Attracts Similar Weird

If you’re like me, you are very picky with whom you spend your time on. And, well, you should be! We only have so much time, and so much energy, and those we are around the most affect our energy and quality of life. This creates a very important reason to own and show your weird! If you are true to who you are, others will see that, and you will attract like-minded people.

Bestie and I embracing our weird

When you are around people who accept you for your “weird” it relieves the pressure of having to put on a mask. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you are not. This helps to create energy, and can guide you in being the best you possible. When you find people who get your personality, you are less likely to have to explain why you said or did something you did. They will understand when you need to back away and isolate yourself, in order to recharge. There will be less judgement and greater support.

#4 – Relying on Others’ Opinion Creates Overthinking

Overthinking = Anxiety. Anxiety = A lessened ability to perform to the best of your ability.

Guys, I have spent so much time in my life worrying that people will think I said something stupid and laugh at me. Or see how I look and think it’s “stupid”. This has so often caused me such anxiety that I wouldn’t speak up when I should have, or I wouldn’t do something I thought would be fun or that was important to me. What kind of way is this to live life? Full of anxiety and fear? Since I have grown more into owning who I am, I am more confident, more fearless, and I have less anxiety. In owning who I am and becoming more confident, I have improved my life by building a network of friends whom I trust, and I have gained the respect and trust of co-workers. And I am happier! In the end, being happy is the important thing!

Chicken makes me happy. Chicken helps me make friends.

#5 – Everything is Temporary

Maybe one of the most, if not the most, important reasons to not give a fuck what others think is because everything is temporary. You may still be ruminating over the stupid thing you did or said 5 years ago, but chances are, you are the only one who remembers. Even if you’re not the only one who remembers, do you even communicate with anyone who would remember the dumb thing you did? Good chance is, you do not.

I have learned that, more often than not, when I do something stupid, or say something embarrassing, and people laugh at me for it, it’s forgotten by the next day. Even if it’s not forgotten, more often than not I find myself laughing at myself for the stupid thing I did further down the road.

Example: last year I was in a training for crisis intervention. Part of the training involved interacting with actors, who were portraying individuals in different crisis situations. In one of my scenarios, my actress was “trespassing” at a residence where she used to live. I was asking her about the house where she was trespassing. Her response was to talk about a staircase in the house she liked. At a loss for words I responded, “I like a nice set of stairs.” The actress, who is trained to not break role, almost laughed. The facilitators laughed. People in my group laughed. I felt dumb. Later, I laughed. Despite how stupid I felt at the time, I now laughingly relay the story of how I like a “nice set of stairs.”

I hope these reasons help you in not giving a fuck what other people think, and help you fully embrace your you-ness!

Do you have any tips and reasons to add to those listed above? When did you realize it was better to not give a fuck about what other people think? Or are you still working on that realization?