WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published August 07, 2013, 10:00 PM

Positively Beautiful: Savoring summer

There are 94 days between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, making summer the longest season of the year. You could have fooled me.

By: Dr. Susan Mathison, INFORUM

There are 94 days between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, making summer the longest season of the year.

You could have fooled me.

After an agonizingly long Midwestern winter, this particular summer has felt painfully short.

Of course, I always come into the season with the very best intentions to slow down, rest more, savor the long evenings and take a completely unplugged vacation with my family.

And yet, here we are with summer coming to an end, once again.

Did I have a good summer? Yes.

Did I allow myself to savor it to the fullest? Mostly.

Did I rest and play with my family and friends as much as I’d hoped? Sadly, no.

I’ll be honest: I’m feeling a pang of wistfulness and remorse as the shops started to broadcast their back-to-school sales right after that red, white and blue banners were put away. All those fresh notebooks, new crayons and shiny pencils (and even early bundles of Halloween candy) just remind me that Grant is heading into kindergarten, that summer is drawing to a close and that life is accelerating ever faster.

So, other than finding a way to freeze time, what to do?

My solution? Celebrate.

Celebrate the end of summer with your whole heart, making peace with all that you’ve done and all that’s left undone.

A few of my favorite ideas:

- Take a Slow Day. Not necessarily a vacation day, or a sick day, just a slower-than-usual day.

Give yourself an unusually leisurely lunch break, smell the late summer roses and take the long way home. Time is all relative, right?

- Book a family photo shoot.

Early evening is the perfect time for an outdoor shoot. Parks are in glory, so are the fields of sunflowers, corn and wheat.

We are blessed with great local talent such as RiaLee, Samantha Meyers, Michelle Warren, Dan Francis, Laura Caroon, Brandi Spray and J. Alan Paul. Or check out www.photographers.com for more options and make a date.

- Listen to the most relaxing song ever written.

British scientists have identified the most soothing song. Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions.

Research showed the top 10 most relaxing tunes were:

1. “Weightless” by Marconi Union

2. “Electra” by Airstream

3. “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)” by DJ Shah

4. “Watermark” by Enya

5. “Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay

6. “Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona

7. “Pure Shores” by All Saints

8. “Someone Like You” by Adele

9. “Canzonetta Sull’aria” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

10. “We Can Fly” by Cafe Del Mar

- Take one last ride on your bicycle. Don’t have one? Borrow your neighbor’s or check out www.rentabikenow.com.

- Savor the sweetness. Apricots, plums, peaches and cherries are reaching peak deliciousness as summer draws to a close. Try a galette, a pie with a flat, free-form crust – no pie pan needed. Or make a compote or fruit-infused liqueur.

- Toss a few flavored ice cubes into the glass. Making the cubes is a great project for kids with no hot stoves, no knives, no danger! Check out www.ohjoy.blog.com for photos and recipes for these fruity summer striped ice cubes.

- Let your skin breathe.

Sticky weather + sunblock + cosmetics = congested skin. Skip your usual make-up regime for just a few days, to give your face a breather.

- Go back to school early. Why not give yourself a gentle head start on a new habit, before the back-to-school rush?

Yoga studios are often relatively empty this time of year,which means more one-on-one attention for those who show up to class. Or buy a yoga-for-kids video and make it a family affair.

- Throw an end of summer soiree. Have one last hurrah, with friends, family and neighbors.

Despite my love-hate relationship with Martha Stewart, she does have some great ideas for outdoor entertaining, including a non-toxic ant repellent.

Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and shake to mix. Then spritz the solution in water-resistant areas where ants are common, such as patios, porches and picnic tables, before guests gather. I sure wish it worked for mosquitoes, too.

- Make heart-shaped s’mores on a stick. Inspired summer sweets from www.sheknows.com The kids, big and small, will love them.

Enjoy these final, fleeting days of summer.

And if you see me rushing around town, looking frenzied, please remind me to take my own advice.

New beginnings are thrilling. But endings can be positively beautiful, too.

Dr. Susan Mathison founded Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo and created PositivelyBeautiful.com. Email her at shesays@forumcomm.com.