Read, Reflect & Restore
BY Emily Evans
Summer is a season in which I typically feel stronger and healthier in both body and mind! The days are longer, the sun is hotter, the grass is typically greener and flowers of all colors brighten our yards and gardens. The farm stands are bursting with many varieties of tomatoes, watermelons, peaches and corn, among many other summer fruits and vegetables. For some reason, it tastes fresher and healthier, and there is nothing better to me than buying local, freshly picked veggies with a bit of dried dirt from the garden! My children devour it all daily, and I happily honor all requests to run out to get more peaches, melons and tomatoes. As a family, we love trying new recipes since the evenings are less hectic than school nights. The Defined Dish by Alex Snodgrass has been my go-to cookbook for the last couple of years, and we love her newest, The Comfortable Kitchen!
Summer also represents a time of thoughtful reflection for me as a wife, mother, educator and friend. I tend to incorporate books into my summer reading that help me to learn more about myself, my habits, my personality and how I can be the best version of myself. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud is the book I refer to frequently, reread and recommend consistently to friends. As a family, we discuss healthy boundaries and their importance in all of our relationships. Another book becoming one of my favorites is Atomic Habits by James Clear. We all form good and bad habits, and understanding simple behaviors that we can incorporate into our daily lives at work, school and home contribute to our progress, success and, subsequently, our well-being.
Summer is also a time when I slow down and can be more reflective while school is out. My mind does not seem to be racing a million miles per hour. I understand that my two children who are still in school also feel pressure as students, even more so than I did at their ages, so I am intentionally encouraging them to slow down and savor their time in the summer. At sixteen and twenty-two, they are beyond the carefree ages of long days at the pool, popsicles, searching for “sea glass” in the river and catching lightning bugs after dark. However, they are still up for family Yahtzee and scrabble, movie nights, conversations after dinner on the deck, and summer reading discussions that do not feel like homework. As a family, after a little prodding from me, we recently read The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. It is a book about friendship, in the simplest terms, and I encourage everyone to read it, especially at a time when showing kindness is most critical for ourselves and others.
Health and wellness is so broad, and each of us has different ways we incorporate it into our daily lives. So, in addition to the vitamins, supplements, exercise regimens, foods and diets that we fuel our bodies with to achieve the highest level of health, I encourage you to dig into a book or two this summer that does the same thing for your emotional health and well-being.