Sun protection has always been big in my family. We tend to burn instead of tan and are prone to skin cancer. Knowing this about myself has made me more vigilant. This was my first lesson in the fallibility of the human body and in my taking charge of my own health.

Summer is often a time to step back, take a breath, and take care of ourselves. Self-care is also an important part of making sure we are able to show up for our family, our job, and our community. We can’t improve health care if we can’t take care of ourselves.

A relaxing vacation may be in the cards for many of us this July but mindfulness may be the next best thing. Increasing mindfulness is an easy step we can all do to check in with ourselves and give ourselves a break from the stress of our daily lives. Watch Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk and see how spending 10 minutes a day may be all we need (or is at least a great first step) here. My favorite video on mindfulness is called “Why mindfulness is a superpower” here. Gratitude and actively practicing being grateful is another pathway to greater internal peace and maybe happiness and is also profiled in a TED talk by monk and interfaith scholar Brother David Steindl-Rast here.

My happy place is in nature, whether that is running through one of Seattle’s parks, hiking off I-90, or exploring our National Parks. This is my ideal self-care. In Japan this is called forest-bathing or shinrin-yoku. For those of us working downtown, walking to the Olympic Sculpture Park (free admission, a great summer event line-up, and fantastic tamales) is what I recommend. This also takes care of your recommended daily walking quota.

Cheers to a healthy and happy summer!

Ginny Weir, MPH
Program Director, The Bree Collaborative