Do you ever feel like summer gets so busy and leaves you feeling more exhausted than energized? May is the perfect time to set health and wellness goals around meals, movement, and mindfulness so you feel good all season long! You won’t want to miss this snackable episode chock full of ideas and resources to help you refocus this month on what fills up your cup as we transition from spring to summer. 

here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [2:36] May begins the transition from spring to summer – especially for those of you on a school schedule. It’s an energetic time of year when we yearn to get out of the house to enjoy the nicer weather and socialize with others. 
  • [4:59] Before our schedules get full, now is the perfect time to set an intention for the summer that we want to have. 
  • Use our Meals, Movement, Mind Framework to help organize your focus for the month of May:
    • [5:55] Meals: try using marinades as a simple yet delicious way to add interest and flavor to any kind of protein or vegetables. 
    • [12:03] Movement: 100 Mile Summer! Aim to incrementally increase the amount of movement you do each week.
    • [17:17] Mind: Create a list of fun things to do this summer. It’s time to prioritize fun again!

links mentioned in this episode

April Health & Wellness Goals

March Wellness Goals

Wellness Goals for February

Dressing & Sauces Recipes

How to Freeze Anything in a Mason Jar

read the transcript

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:01)

You’re listening to The Feel Good Effect. We’re talking about what to focus on in May. Let’s make it happen.

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:11)

Radically simple and ridiculously doable. The Feel Good effect will help you redefine wellness on your terms. Hi, I’m your host Robyn Conley Downs. And I believe that wellness isn’t about achieving another set of impossible standards, but instead finding what works for you, drawing from cutting-edge science on mindfulness, habit, and behavior change. This podcast offers a collection of small mindset shifts that allow for more calm, clarity, and joy in everyday life and allows you to embrace the idea that gentle is the new perfect. I invite you to listen in as we cut through the clutter and find the small shifts that create huge changes in your life. Less striving, more ease. It’s time to feel good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:59)

Well, Hey, Feel Good, fam. I am so glad you’re here today. We are talking about wellness goals for the month of May. So if you’re new to this series, what to focus on, we’re really kind of breaking down wellness goals into mind, movement and meals, sort of three categories of self-care and nourishing ways to help yourself feel good. And we do it each month so that you can kind of regroup and focus on what matters as the seasons change. And as maybe your energy shifts, we know that the seasons can affect our moods and what we, you know, how we’re how busy we are busy seasons that we’re in. One of my intentions with this series is to really help you do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. So fill your cup before you empty your to-do list. And really don’t worry about emptying your to-do list because we don’t need to be doing everything.

Robyn Conley Downs: (02:01)

So this is always an invitation to take what you need, to leave what you don’t, to really embody the spirit of living by the 80 20 rule. So the 20% of behaviors and actions and habits that lead to the results and then ditching the rest. So very much about more of what works and less of what doesn’t. And if you’re enjoying the series, you can go back and listen to previous months, even though they’re definitely seasonal. I think there’s a lot of gems that you can take regardless of the time of year.

Robyn Conley Downs: (02:36)

So let’s talk a little bit about May, depending on where you are. Of course, I have to caveat this from time to time. If you live in a different hemisphere, I’m in the Northern hemisphere and I I’m in the Northern part of the norm Northern hemisphere year seasons might be very different than mine, but in general, where I live May is definitely still spring and, uh, but moving into summer.

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:00)

So my partner works in, uh, a university and his university is actually starts, ends the, the winter semester at the end of, of April. And then his summer starts in may. And I know that throughout the country, there’s many states and school districts that start summer in may we don’t, my daughter is on the K12 system here. We don’t start summer for her until June, but it’s definitely this move toward summer. And depending on where you live, it might feel already like you’re there. So I think that may, can be a really great time to kind of set an intention in for summer. I know for us summer tends to be really, really full and maybe even more so this year in an attempt to maybe make up for a few summers where we weren’t doing much traveling, where we weren’t seeing many people. Um, so we definitely have a pretty full planned summer this year, or hope that all happens.

Robyn Conley Downs: (04:02)

And I feel like May just has this energy where people start to really wanna get, get out of the house, go and do fun things outside, reconnect, be more social it’s very energetic time, um, and sort of balancing that energy with a little intention. So what do you hope for this time of going into summer? Are there things that you hope to do, people that you hope to see or things that you wanna do to kind of take care of yourself? I know for me, when things start to get really full, I will say I am lots of plans, lots of extroverting, lots of en energy expenditure. I, it can be a little depleting for me, even though those are all things I really enjoy doing. If I don’t balance it, I can start to feel kind of exhausted. I also get this outdoor energy where I wanna be hiking and doing really long walks and tons of outdoor time and in nature.

Robyn Conley Downs: (04:59)

And as much as that fills my cup, it can actually kind of go over the line and be a little bit exhausting if I don’t balance that out with rest and with stretching and with more mobility kind of workouts to kind of balance everything out. So that is my invitation for you this month is to kind of take stock of where we are in the year and think about where we’re going into summer. And is there some kind of intention that you wanna set for this summer? Um, whether it’s seeing people, whether it is getting into nature or getting into the garden as a way to make sure that those things are, are paused and paid attention to so that the time doesn’t slip by and we’re already in fall, you wonder where summer went. So I have three offerings for you when it comes to what to focus on for me, meals, movement, and mind, and we’re gonna start with meals.

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:55)

So I don’t know about you, but summer energy for me around cooking is very much about keeping things incredibly simple and for a number of reasons. So first of all, seasonal produce, at least here in the Pacific Northwest is just the best. And so I wanna keep the focus and the highlight on those beautiful, amazing seasonal local line of veggies and produce. And honestly, when you’re using really great ingredients, especially if you’re able to get them locally now may is a little early for us for like the full-blown farmer’s market. But we’re starting to get some things in there depending on where you, you are, you might have a little bit or a lot, or even if you’re at your local grocery store, maybe they have some things that are coming from near where you live. You really don’t need to do much. It’s a very, like I think beautiful time where we don’t have to over-plan and over-manage and we can really kind of let the ingredient and do the work for us.

Robyn Conley Downs: (07:01)

And the other thing is what, when the weather warms up, I just, all of a sudden have very little interest in cooking. Um, and we go and do a very few number of types of recipes, but we add a lot of variation. And so it’s definitely a time where we think about like summer and capsule meal planning. I’m probably gonna do talk about that next month, actually. But for May, one of my favorite things to do as the weather warms up is to grill. And whether you have an outdoor grill or a grill pan inside, cuz you don’t have to have a grill to grill , you could do a grill pan. Um, you could even adapt this to like a baking in an oven, but I am, we probably grow two to three, if not four nights a week, when the weather gets warmer, it keeps the kitchen clean. It keeps the kitchen cool. And it just feels so effortless and so focused on the ingredients and just easy, right? And more time to be doing the other things that we really wanna be doing more of what works, less of what doesn’t. The thing about grilling is it can get a little bit, one note, you know, if you’re just putting the same protein on the grill every night can get really a little bit stale, a little bit boring. So my invitation for May, for what to focus on with meals is marinades, which is really basic right, but it’s this maximum way to add so much flavor with very little effort and you can kind of use those basic proteins and basic vegetables and just add so much more interest and flavor. I have a whole collection of really, really easy-to-make marinades on the website, under dressings and sauces. So definitely check those out for some inspiration. Or of course you could grab your favorite store brought variety. I think that it’s the best thing to do. If you’re on the fly, you don’t have a lot of time is whipping up a homemade marinade. It has so much more flavor than most things you’re gonna find out there. And you can really kind of zhuzh it up and make it to your taste. If you like, it’s saltier. If you like, it’s sweeter. If you like more acidic and, with some basic pantry ingredients, you can make so many different options. So one of my favorites is a honey mustard marinade. I just put up a honey sriracha sauce. That is so good. , that’s a very much something I keep in the fridge now all the time to kind of put on anything. The chipotle honey vinaigrette is an incredible marinade as is the lemon vinaigrette and the apple cider vinaigrette. So many options to use as marinades.

Robyn Conley Downs: (09:43)

And yes, you can definitely marinate overnight if you want to. But even 30 minutes is really all you need. So if you’re kind of a last-minute, not sure what to have for dinner, that’s what I would kind of experiment with this month. This pick your favorite protein, whether it’s chicken, whether it’s fish, shrimp, salmon, beef, even tofu you could do. Um, as the marinated on the grill and whip up a little bit of this marinade, I like to do them in Mason jars. And the instructions for that are on under dressings the and sauces as well. Just to keep things clean, not make a big mess in the kitchen. You could also use like a recyclable bag, reusable, reusable, or plastic re uh, sealable bag, make the marinade right in there, pop the protein in there, give it a marinade in the fridge for like 30 minutes or a little longer if you have it.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:34)

Uh, obviously if you’re marinating raw meat, you want to discard any marinade that the Mar raw meat touched. But if you keep some separate, you can also use that marinade as a dipping sauce. Just make sure it’s not the one you used for the marinade. Um, with the, with the meat, throw the, throw the protein on the grill. You can marinate vegetables also. Like I love doing a marinade with portabella, a mushroom or cremini mushroom, um, asparagus. There’s every kind of vegetable I could tell you is so good on the grill. If you’re marinating like a tofu or a veggie, you can actually use that sauce to serve with, cuz it didn’t have contact with the raw meat, but either way, this is what effortless kind of summary vibes, eating is all about just marinate some vegetables, some protein, throw it on the grill, serve some extra sauce on the side, maybe add in some bread or some pasta or some carbs of choice if you’re in a carbs and you have a meal and we pretty much eat that like for or five times a week when it gets really warm and uh, everyone likes it.

Robyn Conley Downs: (11:42)

There’s a hardly any cleanup and it just feels good in my body. It feels good as a family, everybody kind of may can eat the sauce if they like it, leave it on the side. So that is meals for May is try a marinade. And I definitely have some to get you started. If you wanna try on the website, under dressings and sauces.

Robyn Conley Downs: (12:03)

Now for movement. I love to do this every single year and I usually start it later. I start it in June because that’s like more summer starts, but I wanted to make the offering in May, for those of you who are more on the summer and May starts in may kind of mindset or actual schedule. And that is what I like to call 100 mile summer. So I started doing 100 mile summer, like five years ago. I think something like that when Elle, my daughter, who’s now 10 was 5 and it was just a fun way to challenge us, to get outside, to get moving and a fun way to kind of keep track of it in a very organic kind of intuitive way and kind of something to work for toward to kind of give us something yeah. To give us something to work toward. So 100 miles summer is really very self-explanatory. It’s doing 100 miles of activity in whatever your summer is. So if your summer is May June, July, August, or if it’s somewhere in between that it would be getting a hundred miles in for us. It was hiking and walking. And um, I just used, I have like a speedometer.

Robyn Conley Downs: (13:21)

I actually have a apple watch. So I was able to keep track of mileage that way. And then I just had a actual little note on my phone using the notes app. And every time we’d do a walk or hike, I would write down milage, and I would just keep adding it up every single week. And I’ve had other folks in the community do this as well. Um, but maybe do it with bike riding. You don’t have to do it as walking or hiking or, um, running. You could do it as bike riding. You could do it as swimming. It doesn’t have to be 100 miles it could be 50, it could be 20. And so this is just something fun I do every summer. And I invite you, you to join us if you’d like to as well and know the other community members do it.

Robyn Conley Downs: (14:02)

In some years, we don’t hit that 100 miles. I think the first year we did it, we didn’t quite get there the first year and then we have hit it some years. And it’s really not about the outcome. It’s about the journey to get there and just have making that fun and enjoyable where everyone’s involved. And I’ve had friends and family do this with their families, whether it’s, like I said, swimming, biking, all the different ways that we move in the summer. And I think it was last summer. I was sharing about 100 mile summer on Instagram and someone messaged me about not wanting to do it cuz she felt like she wouldn’t be able to hit that goal and, and then would feel like she failed. And I thought that was such an interesting perspective. And one that I think some of you probably share is not wanting to set a goal like that because it feels like if you don’t miss, if you don’t make it, then you’ve failed.

Robyn Conley Downs: (14:50)

And I think there’s two ways to address that and, and she has smaller kids. So if you have a really young one, you know, is a hundred miles realistic? Probably not. I mean, totally depends. Like for some people it is for some people it’s not, that’s not even the point. The point of it is to do more of what works and to do less of what doesn’t. So if you’re doing more of what works is to get out and get you moving and get you into nature and doing, doing those things and a way to kind of keep tabs on it and to pay attention to it and to know that it’s moving you forward. And if that, if it’s, if the goal then isn’t serving the purpose, then make a different goal. But for her what, and if you’re in that similar position, whether or you have little ones or you’re, you know, you’re injured or any of the other things, if a hundred miles doesn’t sound good to you, number one, you could choose a different goal. So it could be 50 miles. It could be 30 miles. I would say like, look at what you’re doing now and, and do an incremental increase. So if you typically do like five miles a week, whether that’s running, walking, biking, trail running by all the things, and you’re doing five miles in the week, then that would be 20 miles in a month. What if you did 25 miles in a month? So you’re adding like an extra mile in each week. That’s a beautiful way to go. And it’s much more in line with where you are. And um, rather than some arbitrary goal, just cause I said 100 and then the other one is to just remember that the whole point of a goal or in this case, you know, something to focus on is to get you doing more of what you wanted to do. And so if it’s not serving you, then adjust it or focus more on the process. Like the process is getting out and moving every day in a way that feels good. So we will be doing 100 mile summer again this year, probably starting in May and um, we’ll adjust it as needed, but I’m looking forward to it. And I’m looking forward to adding more biking in this year. Uh, during the pandemic, Elle got much better at bike riding, cuz that was the only thing that was the only thing we had to do many days. And uh, we, we live in a really hilly area, so she got much better at bike riding and riding in hills. So she’s, she’s pretty strong now on bike. And so I look forward to adding biking into our 100 mile summer, which I think will get us to 100 miles a little bit more effective than just the walking and hiking alone. So that is, but to focus on for May when it comes to movement.

Robyn Conley Downs: (17:17)

And last up is mind. And I think we could do another episode on this is kind of a fun list to do. And sometimes I like doing episodes just on lists. So maybe we’ll do that, but I would say our mind make a fun list of what do you like to do for fun and what would you like to do that sounds fun this summer? And we’re not trying to like optimize every second of every day in the summer by any means. But I think especially after the last two-plus years fun, isn’t maybe at the top of this list of things that we are focused on for a variety of reasons, but it’s probably time to bring fun back. And if you’re like me, it might actually be tricky to think about, you know, what, what did I like to do for fun? What did I used to like to do for fun? What sounds fun? And I tend to be a person that can be like, I’m not actually that serious, but I take my work very seriously if that, if that makes sense, not a serious person, but very serious about the work that I do. And I think that that seriousness can get in the way sometimes of just a playful spirit and a fun approach and just doing the things that are just fun. So that’s my invitation for mind this month is to come up with a fun list and that can be activities to do, but it can also be, you know, what’s fun in your daily life and maybe focusing more on that.

Robyn Conley Downs: (18:51)

And if you come up with some things that you think are fun, I’d love to hear about it. You can connect with me on Instagram @realfoodwholelife. And also if you do the marinades or you do the 100 mile summer, I’d love to hear about that as well as always. I wanna thank you so much for listening and being part of this conversation and this Feel Good movement. Until next time, here’s to feeling good.

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