Comox Lake, by Calliope Gazetas

Self-care in the summer

The Backyard Creative team takes advantage of every second of summertime. While each of us enjoys the summer pleasures in our unique backyards, we also make time for self care. 

Refreshing our minds, bodies and spirits helps us fully engage in our lives and work. We hope our self-care activities inspire you to take care of your whole self in the remaining lazy days of summer! 


One of my favourite swimming spots is at Comox Lake (pictured above), where I head when it’s too hot to think about anything else. The water is deep and cool, and while I’m relaxing, I can look up at the glacier and the surrounding mountains. My intent is to keep swimming through the summer and fall and accustom myself to colder water so I can swim in the ocean in the winter.


Some of my favourite summertime activities include doing outdoor yoga, kayaking, and heading to the beach at low tide with our dog. I always feel refreshed when I’m near the water! I also love summer evenings when the weather is cooler and the neighbourhood is quieter, where we can unwind with dinners in the backyard or head for a relaxing stroll or bike ride and catch the sunset. 


There’s nothing like some light feminist reading to make yourself feel better. When I get the chance to unwind, my favorite act of self-care is to find a shady spot outside and eat my lunch while reading a great book. I highly recommend “How to be a heroine” by Samantha Ellis and “Toksvig’s Almanac” by Sandi Toksvig for some insightful and empowering reads!


One of my favourite things this summer is the daybed that we set up on our covered North-facing deck. It started as a comfy spot for me and my son to DARE (Drop Everything and Read) together during the day, and has evolved into the spot where I tuck myself in, under the stars, almost every night! 

I love gazing at the night sky before falling asleep, being the first one awake with the sunrise, making my coffee very quietly, before slipping away to the garden to visit my veggies, or pick a fresh bouquet. By the time the rest of the family is up and at ‘em, I’ve already had some time to fill my cup, and I’m ready to join in the flow of family life in the summertime.  


Every summer I head to Sointula with a group of friends and their families to camp at Bere Point. We sit on the whale rubbing beach and hope to see orcas. Last year they came right up to us, about 10 feet away! It was amazing. This year, my sister and her partner will be joining us from Bella Bella and we’re going to take the inside passage ferry to visit them there.

I also love riding my bike to the beaches here in Vancouver, eating picnic dinners in parks and taking logging roads to remote mountains and going for alpine hikes. Summer on the coast is magical. I can’t believe we live here!


Summer in my household means time in the garden harvesting, tending to and connecting with our friends and neighbours. Now that restrictions are lifting, we’re hosting backyard barbeques, home-made ice cream dates and garden tours. It feels so good to be able to do these things again! Especially this year, this feels like self-care!

In the winter months, my partner and I often bake together at night after the kids go to bed, but in summer, we spend time coming up with yummy ice cream flavours or sitting out on the patio in the late-day sun with a drink or two.


Summer self-care means evening swims in the Nanaimo River. Bonus if we bring a watermelon to enjoy after a refreshing dip. We’re currently teaching our one year-old son how to swim and he loves it. 


Summertime self-care is all about sleeping and slowing down. Life is busy during the school year and I often don’t get a lot of sleep. In the summer, I love sleeping in and getting my eight hours, no matter what time I go to bed, and lingering in bed with a good book. Enjoying a slower pace, taking my time getting the days started and fitting in some park time and summer fun into my work days is the best! 

And while we totally enjoy the prairie summers in Edmonton, our annual family visit to the West Coast always fills my soul. Being near the ocean at least once a year is a must!


Summer feels extra busy where I live as the economy is heavily based around tourism. With the influx of visitors and to-dos at work, taking time to reconnect to myself and re-energise is crucial. Unplugging from technology and heading out for a surf, canoe or hike helps every time to get some much needed physical movement and to reset the nervous system.

Oh, did I mention I just got a kitten! Spending undivided playtime with the kitty on the deck is pretty awesome too 🙂 These might be small breaks in the day rather than the typical thought of a large getaway in the summer, but they really recharge my spirits, and it’s back to the hussle with a smile. 


Summertime for me is about embracing and exploring the treasures in my coastal backyard. Our little community overflows with visitors coming to explore paradise; amidst the bustle, I remind myself to slow down and enjoy these lively warm days. As an avid sea kayaker, I love to paddle around our picturesque island and inlets, always keeping my eyes open for a whale spouting in the distance.

I appreciate seeking out quiet new trails to run and hike and love the refreshing lake and ocean swims that follow. Incorporating the sweet summer moments into my daily routine – fresh garden veggies, ocean dips after work, evenings on the deck – fills my soul with gratitude and contentment.