10 Ways To Love Your Body This Summer

Summer is finally here, and so are the ubiquitous crash diet plans and pressure to get a “bikini body,” whatever that means. Here’s an idea: how about we stop trying to change our bodies and start celebrating them instead? To get started, check out these 10 fun, easy ways to show your body some love over the next few months…

1. Drink tons of water. At the risk of sounding like my 7th grade softball coach, “You’ve gotta stay hydrated!” Seriously though, your body feels better, looks better, and works better when you drink enough water. If you’re not big on plain water, try adding fresh lemon or cucumber slices to sparkling water–you’ll instantly feel like you’re at a high-end spa.

2. Soak up the sun. Human beings are solar powered. If you need proof of this, just go to a park on a sunny day and watch everyone running around like maniacs (and compare it to the way people drag their feet along the sidewalk on gray winter days). Even if work’s crazy, even if you have a million things to do, get outside for at least 15 minutes on sunny days, breathe deeply, and feel the warmth on your skin. Of course, there is one caveat to this piece of advice…

3. …Wear sunscreen. Protect that gorgeous skin of yours! You don’t want to get melanoma or end up looking like the left half of this guy’s face, do you?

4. Be naked more often. Need one reason? How about eight? Summer is the perfect opportunity to spend more time in your birthday suit because it’s way too hot for clothes anyway. Shut the blinds (or don’t, whatever) and strip down!

5. Try a new style. Whether it’s tank tops, mini skirts, bikinis, crop tops, or jersey dresses, we all have certain styles of clothing we believe to be “off limits” because of our body insecurities. There’s nothing worse than wearing a cardigan on a 100-degree day because you don’t want to show your arms (trust me, I’ve been there). When it’s hot out, wear whatever the hell you want to wear–everybody’s focused on their own sweaty armpits anyway.

6. Dress colorfully. I love head-to-toe black as much as anybody, but summer calls for bold colors: yellow dresses, rainbow stripes, neon sandals.

7. Eat fresh summer foods. All the fresh summer foods. A quick spin through the farmer’s market is an amazing reminder of why summer rocks: plump, juicy berries; ice cold lemonade; sweet cherry tomatoes; buttery lettuce; and an endless supply of fresh herbs. Treat your body well by fueling it with fresh, flavorful, seasonal food. Need some inspiration in the kitchen? Here are 101 summer salad recipes.

8. Let your hair down (or up, or sideways, or whatever direction it wants to go). Trying to control your hair in 90% humidity is a hopeless endeavor, and heat styling in hot weather is the WORST. Summer is the time to let your hair be its true self (for at least a couple days a week) and just own it.

9. Challenge yourself. Our bodies can do amazing things, but it’s up to us to challenge them every once in awhile. Summer brings good weather, long days, a plethora of new activities, and a general air of spontaneity: it’s the perfect opportunity to use that body of yours to do something new and incredible. Five mile hike? Sure! Surf lessons? Why not? Kayak adventure? Don’t mind if I do!

10. Relax. When you’re not out conquering the waves and the hiking trails, make sure to carve out some time to do absolutely nothing at all. The lazy days of summer invite us to relax and recharge. Do your body a favor and accept the invitation.