This Four-Week Summer Self-Care Challenge Helps You Keep Burnout at Bay

The shifting of the seasons gives us an opportunity for reinvention. Alongside the rising temps, we begin to crave a deeper sense of novelty in our lives. A shake-up of the everyday. The summer is a time when we move outwards—operating at a pace and scheduled abundance that contrasts our colder months’ lax itineraries. (For me, a perfect night in January involves nothing more than knitting, reading, and a cozy soup for dinner.) But the summer sees us filling our social calendars, booking trips with reckless abandon, and making the most of our PTO. With so much to do, our self-care practices inevitably suffer. We might skip a few morning journaling sessions in favor of sleeping in, or the five minutes we usually dedicate to breathwork start to slip away. Rituals, however, are key to feeling our best—making summer self-care essential.

Even the most dedicated wellness enthusiasts fall out of their routine. Life is a practice of coming in and out of balance, and there’s no shame in stepping away from what doesn’t feel true for you at this time. But there’s also power in practicing rituals. Healthy habits reduce decision fatigue, helping you fill your days with aligned actions—and allowing you to ultimately cultivate more joy and happiness in your life.

Woman wearing yellow dress outside.

28 Summer Self-Care Ideas to Feel Your Best

Summer can be a difficult but important time to practice self-care. With beach days and a wardrobe of swimsuits and shorts defining the vibe, our culture has long been influenced by the push to perfect your “summer body.” Thankfully, body neutrality is a thing, but the lack of layers can heighten our insecurities. That’s why, along with prioritizing supportive foods and movement that helps us feel strong and supported, summer self-care calls for a healthy dose of compassion as well.

Life is a practice of coming in and out of balance.

Ahead, we’ve divided 28 summer self-care ideas into four weeks, letting you build healthy rituals and routines little by little. Because though it may be tempting, going all in all at once is a recipe for burnout. (The opposite of what we’re going for.)

Ready for your best summer yet? Keep reading for ideas that’ll deliver a true glow-up—one that you can keep going well past Labor Day.

Mother son swimming pool

Week 1: Reconnect With What’s Important

This week is all about taking stock of where you are. So often, we jump into new habits or periods of transformation without understanding what we need first. Take out your journal and get ready to spend some time with yourself. As far as summer self-care goes, this is the best place to start.

Days 1-7

1. Reflect on how you’ve spent summers past. What did you like about your experience? What trips did you enjoy? Did you have any regrets? Spend some time with your journal, writing in a stream-of-consciousness reflection on the past—and how it may inform the months to come.

2. Curate a summer playlist. Shuffle through your Spotify, creating a playlist that aligns with your intentions for the season. How do you want to feel? What experiences, new and familiar, do you want to have? Follow those vibes. (And if you’re feeling uninspired, our Casa Zuma Daybreak playlist is a summertime state of mind.)

3. Design a summer vision board. I love building a season-specific vision board as an extension of my year-long board. Use our guide to vision boarding as a refresher, and have fun on Pinterest gathering images and words that align with the summer you wish to have.

4. Practice work-life balance. It’s the ultimate, elusive pursuit. With work taking up physical time and mental space in our lives, it can feel impossible to come into a place of balance. But summer is the perfect time to practice setting boundaries and stepping away when you feel overwhelmed.

5. Plan your summer menus. Who doesn’t love flipping through cookbooks, magazines, and the internet to find the best summer recipes? Compile a list of all the seasonal dishes you’re excited to try.

6. Identify the relationships you want to pour into. Summer is a time of nonstop socializing. Though we love it, it’s also an easy way to exhaust yourself. Instead, pick 3-5 relationships—friends, family, partners—you want to prioritize this season. Reach out, make plans, and commit to nurturing this connection.

7. Ask: what summer self-care practices feel supportive for you? Ultimately, the most effective habits are those you authentically align with. While we can offer inspiring ideas, it’s up to you to identify the rituals that deliver what you need. Sit down with your journal and reflect on what you currently need at this stage in your life, then design the routines that deliver exactly that.

Woman doing yoga.

Week 2: Rethink Your Fitness Habits

The winter was all about warming up in the gym and staying toasty in a studio. But among the many beautiful truths about summer is that the weather is nice enough to take your workout outside. As such, it’s also a chance to infuse play into your routine. Rather than sweating it out for the sake of checking off a to-do, the summer allows you to reflect back on the forms of movement that bring you a childlike sense of joy.

Days 8-14

8. Reconsider play. PSA: Fitness doesn’t always look like going all in at Barry’s or gritting through an hour-long workout. Instead, reflect on the physical activities and movement you loved to do as a kid. Maybe that was kicking around a soccer ball or perhaps jumping rope. Incorporate that activity into your weekly workout routine. Expect joy to ensue.

9. Reflect on how you want to feel in your body. Maybe this is your era of building full-body flexibility, or you want to improve your posture by focusing on core strength. Perhaps you want more time to disconnect from your everyday busyness and simply be in your body. Let your goals guide the way.

10. Try a new workout class with a friend. Exploring something new can be so gratifying, but it’s often a challenge to build up that confidence. Enlist a friend and sign up for a workout class you’d both like to try. Alternatively, join a virtual fitness program with a built-in community—FORM is our favorite.

11. Go swimming. Is there anything more quintessentially summer? I love swimming laps in the morning or joining up with friends for an evening on the lake. Pairs best with a swimsuit you love.

12. Train for something. Maybe that’s a 5K run, 10K walk, or a full-on triathlon. Taking your training routine from start to finish. There’s nothing like reveling in the satisfaction of completing a goal.

13. Create a stretching routine. Mobility should be top of mind as we age, and it’s an important factor in feeling our best and moving throughout our days without pain. This beginner-friendly stretching practice is the perfect wake-up call. Or try this 12-minute wind down yoga flow courtesy of our favorite online yogi, Adriene Mishler.

14. Consider cycle syncing your workouts. Cycle syncing has transformed how we approach fitness. Now, we no longer power through a cardio-heavy routine during our menstrual phase and instead give ourselves grace to be gentle with our bodies when needed. Get started with this guide to cycle syncing your workouts.

Avocado caprese salad

Week 3: Get Excited About Summer Food

Deprivation? Not on our summer agendas. While we naturally crave lighter, fresher foods because of all the goodness that’s in season, there are still plenty of ways to infuse our meals with flavor and fun. So clean off the grill, pull out your market basket, and get ready to enjoy all the deliciousness summer has in store.

Days 15-21

15. Visit a farmer’s market. Hot take: Farmer’s market > grocery store. It’s the easiest way to add a little romance to your weekly cooking routine. Take the family or make it a friend date. Pairs perfectly with coffee before or after.

16. Pick your produce. Now’s the time to take advantage of all the farms offering berries, peaches, and other seasonal produce for the picking. Bonus: with an abundance of fresh fruit and veg, you’ll feel all the more inspired in the kitchen. Steal these cherry tomato recipes, rhubarb recipes, and light desserts to make the most of your findings.

17. Try a blood sugar-balancing smoothie. Our Wellness Editor and resident nutritionist, Edie breaks down exactly how to build a high-fiber, high-protein smoothie that’ll keep you satisfied and your energy high.

18. Romanticize your meal prep routine. Turn on some music (your summer playlist!), pour your favorite bev, and get ready for the week. Steal Camille’s strategy for prepping high-protein meals.

19. Change up your beverage rituals. Learn how to make the perfect matcha latte, try one of the best teas to minimize bloating, or experiment with a kombucha cocktail that packs plenty of gut-boosting goodness.

20. Go for walks after dinner. It’s not just good for digestion—low- to moderate physical activity (i.e., walking) gets you outside and away from your phone. Pro tip: It’s even better done with family or friends.

21. Eat outside! Summer is peak-al fresco dining season. Taking your weeknight meals, lunch breaks, or even morning coffee outside can do so much to make the experience all the more inspiring.

Woman reading bhagavad gita

Week 4: Embrace Your Highest Self

Once you have all the core pieces of your summer self-care routine in place, now’s the time to really soak up all the good vibes you’ve created. It’s important to remember that living your best life in the summer doesn’t have to mean spending every weekend on a boat or hopping over to Europe every chance you get. Instead, practicing a summer of self-care means getting clear on what you want and need—and following exactly that.

Days 22-28

22. Do a digital detox. With the weather as nice as it is, take the season as a sign to step away from tech when you can. Put down (and turn off) your phone, shut your laptop, and opt for screen-free evenings. If you’re up for a challenge, try going off of social media for a week and notice how much clearer your routine suddenly feels.

23. Update your summer skincare. Now’s the time to lighten up on your products. Ditch the heavier creams and moisturizers and opt for lighter formulas. Follow this expert-approved routine to transition your skincare to summer. And of course, SPF is a must—these are the best sunscreens for every skin type.

24. Enjoy the longer days. More sunlight, more energy. Embrace waking up with the sun and take your morning routine outside. (Coffee and journaling on the porch or patio—is there anything better?) Carve out more time for yourself in the evenings or spend it with friends. How you spend your summer is entirely up to you.

25. Clean your space. Right around now is when your spring cleaning efforts are coinciding with the inevitable clutter of life. Follow these tips to upgrade your cleaning routine.

26. Practice positive affirmations. If you’re new to the practice, saying positive things to yourself in the mirror might seem strange at first. But! It’s a powerful way to embrace and embody your core truths and values. These 60 positive affirmations are the perfect place to start.

27. *Actually* give yourself space to rest. Reminder: rest does not require a checkmark. It can look like taking a nap, literally touching grass, or doing whatever it is that makes you feel a little more chill. Rest, rejuvenate, repeat.

28. Write down everything you’re excited about this summer. Hello! It’s summer, arguably the best time of year for embracing all that’s good and wonderful about life. Make a list—as long as you’d like—brainstorming all the activities, practices, rituals, and routines you can’t wait to start. Let’s begin.

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