Updated: Aug 17, 2020
One of the greatest pleasures derived from living in Oslo is drinking in the beauty of the seasons. In the six years that I’ve been here, I’ve curated little traditions to celebrate each of the four seasons and also support my health and wellbeing: from diet to décor, to nature-based activities and skincare rituals. I thought I'd share a few of them here.
Watermelon is essentially nutrient water, and I have always adored it. What makes watermelon a risk-free buy is even if I discover that it is overripe when I open it, it can easily be transformed into refreshing watermelon juice. Just scoop the melon into the blender and after it’s blended, you can filter out the heavier fibers through a strainer or cheesecloth. Just pour the juice into a large pitcher and voila! You can add a few mint leaves or lemon to dress it up as well. Watermelon has a good dose of vitamins A, B6, and C. It also includes potassium, lycopene (a phytonutrient), various amino acids, and antioxidants. It’s a wonderfully healthy, immune boost that supports a plethora of good things: heart health, bone health, and cancer prevention.
Organic Herbal Teas or Fruit Infusions
Every summer I make regular batches of iced organic tea or fruit/plant infusion ‘tea.’ This season I’m really enjoying various options from Pukka and Clipper Teas.
Spirit: Tao Te Ching
I just finished a little self-led study program. I read all 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and wrote a response to each verse and its associated commentary. I have several versions of the Tao Te Ching, and it’s valuable to cross-reference more literal translations by translators who are fluent in Chinese with those who take more poetic license and may not know the original language. I think there is value to found in both textual approaches. I found that writing a short analysis for each verse was a wonderful way to deepen my engagement with the text and provided a lovely contemplative ritual.
Nature: Forest and sea
Honestly, I do this all year round, but summer is the season when I’m forest bathing the most. Even though we live in the city, we are only a short bike ride or walk to a forested peninsula and harborfront in one direction and the world-famous Vigeland sculpture park in the other. I would be squandering a precious gift if I didn’t visit these places a few times a week. I put together a special forest bathing playlist (see below) that I enjoy listening to on my leafy adventures. In July and August, my husband and I enjoy going out to pick wild blueberries and raspberries, a standard tradition here in Norway. Just yesterday, we went out and picked a few bushels of raspberries which will be turned into jam.
My readings about how the forest impacts human health and psychology has only furthered my interest in increasing my quiet hours in the green spaces. In good summer weather, I like to go for at least 2 hours, drinking in as many phytoncides (antimicrobial organic compounds derived from plants) as possible. Phytoncides support human immunity and NK cell production; they also lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. But the wider, more poetic beauty of being in nature is the felt affirmation of connectivity and wellbeing.
I’m less of a water person, but I’ve also started to do a little swimming and rowing with my husband on the fjord. This has been a regenerative summertime activity and a lovely way to share a new activity with Paul.
Sounds: Forest Bathing Playlist
Forest Bathing Playlist: If you’d like to enjoy my ever-evolving, dreamy forest bathing playlist, you can click the link here
Skincare rituals: SPF
Ever since my skincare awakening a few years ago, I’ve learned the value of (and seen results from) a good SPF 50, prescription tretinoin, quality vitamin serums, and gentle acid-based exfoliation. After a lot of research, and trial and error, I have a program that is working with small tweaks here and there. For the summer, my go-to SPF 50 for face is SkinCeuticals tinted mineral sunscreen. Finding a lightweight mineral sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast and goes well under makeup is incredibly hard to find. Here’s the thing: it’s expensive. So, I usually save money by getting a chemical sunscreen for kids (because it’s a cheaper and cleaner formula) to use on my body.
Hope you enjoyed these summer wellness tips! Love