I know I am not alone in my love and passion for the beach. A lake is fine. A river is nice. There is nothing like the ocean, though, to really get me rejuvenated. I take a very whole person approach to health and wellness – in my practice, I have pillars of my philosophy devoted to balancing the nutrition (for nutrition is only one part!) within the context of a person’s life. I speak to my clients on the following points: stress less, your world, sleep deep, pamper thyself. There is nothing like a day at the beach to zero in on keeping my personal pillars intact. Today I’m sharing 10 reasons why the beach is healthy for you. It is worth the sand in your suit and full body sun-block. Read on!
- Salt water: there is nothing more therapeutic for your joints and muscles than a soak in salt water. The ocean heals little nicks, cuts and scrapes and if you take a minute to exfoliate with a little sand, you’re skin will be grateful for days. (Just remember to reapply sunscreen after time in the salt water and sand – it can eat away your suntan lotion).
- Sense of stimulation: Go ahead and try to name one of your senses that isn’t stimulated by a day at the beach. Take a minute to see the gorgeous surf, sand and sky combination – it is glorious any time of day. Smell the salty air that can do wonders for pulling stress out of you with every exhale. Of course you don’t eat the beach, but taste how much more delicious your food is with a little salty happiness stuck to your lips and smile. There is not a more relaxing and rejuvenating sound than the ocean. Hear waves hit the shore but do more than that – listen to the sounds of the beach; it’s like a healthy orchestra of restoration for your soul. Finally, there is nothing you cannot touch that isn’t spectacular – from the sand to the sea to the pages in your book, the feel of a day on the beach cannot be replicated.
- Recreate. I find there is nothing more cathartic than a long walk on the beach. It doesn’t have to be fast – my favorite ones are the ones I take leisurely holding hands with my kids and looking for seashells. There is no goal, no rush, no place to be. My walk is most treasured. Of course, it is hard to resist being active. I love it all: football, Frisbee, volleyball, building castles, boogie boarding and body surfing are my top choices.
- Body check. Once a year, around my birthday in January I look my body over for new moles, skin changes and anything unusual. I do the same before I go to the beach. As I put on my sun block, I start with my face and work my way down my body – taking time to pay attention to my skin and looking for anything I might not otherwise notice. It’s a good practice to get in the habit of. I always ask the hunk rubbing lotion on my back to take a peek too, but double check in the mirror as well.
- Unplugged. Honestly my colleagues in my office would never believe me, but I really love it that the beach is entirely destructive to technology. It feels good to organize myself to be without my computer, phone and tablet for a few hours. Some of my most creative moments have come when I’m undistracted and left alone with uninterrupted thoughts. I’m able to focus entirely in the moment without worrying that a ding, blip or ring will pull me from my escape.
- Pampering 101. It feels pretty to feel pretty on the beach. Polished fingers and toes are a great reward for me, and taking the time to care for myself and all of my digits reminds me that it is important to take time to do things just for pleasure and pleasure has a purpose in my health and wellness. If I’m really, really engaged, I throw in a 10 minute massage, an exfoliation, or skin treatment just to really practice what I preach.
- Sleep. Whenever I look around at the beach, I notice dozers everywhere. Rarely do I get more than a twilight and dreamy sleep while actually on the beach, but when I go home, I find that I am rested, relaxed and ready to have the best night of sleep – it is truly therapeutic.
- Turn on. You can argue until you are blue in the face that there are things sexier than the beach, and I will not believe it. Once my ‘senses’ are stimulated (see #2), and I am relaxed, pampered and have unplugged, I look to keep the good feelings going between the sheets.
- Bare feet. Having bare feet means freedom. It is nearly impossible to be formal without shoes on. If I am shoeless, I laugh more. I trip less. Bare feet mean comfort, and I love being comfortable. My shoes are always off underneath my desk. When I walk into my house, the first thing I do is kick off my heels, sneakers and flip flops. When I am barefoot, I am the most free version of me.
- Humanity. There is a lack of humanity in many aspects of my daily life. I’m usually racing about with all of New York racing about around me. There is no patience, solitude or connecting over the truly important things in life. At the beach I find people pull out more civility. Families connect. Friends play. Lovers relate and there is a different community for the day – one made up of people who are all out for a nice time. It is noticeable to me when I am on vacation or at a local beach for the day. I look forward to that.
Reconstruct your pillars. Dig out your umbrella. Add to my list. See you on the sand, friends!