Summer is the season for lounging, drinking, and socializing. This time of year is also busy and chaotic as its filled with showers, birthdays, and weddings to no end. We tend to have commitments almost every weekend leaving us with less time available to maintain our ideal lifestyles. It is very easy to forget about our health and wellness priorities during the sunshine season but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get through it. Here are my top 5 tips to living a healthier summer.
Its summer and yes I know sangria is calling your name with every sunrise. I hear pitchers of the delicious brew taunting me and calling my name too. Red sangria, white sangria, and hell-I’d even be into blue sangria if someone offered it to me. As much as we daydream of finishing off a long day with a few bevy’s, let’s aim to reserve those indulgences for special occasions. If we go from fuelling ourselves with coffee from the moment we wake up to the moment we leave work and then dive into that sangria…oh boy are our bodies going to suffer. Hydration is essential. Our bodies need water for every cell, tissue, and organ to function properly and optimally. We lose water almost effortlessly by sweating, going to the bathroom, and especially when the weather is nice and toasty. Dehydration is no party. Symptoms include headaches, extreme hunger and/or thirst, dizziness, lightheaded sensation, fevers, a significant decrease in urination and bowel movements (which leads to bloating and nobody ever wants that), and dry mouth. Summer is the season to really focus on our water intake. I personally keep a water bottle in my car, at work, and within reach when I’m at home (I actually leave a trail of cups filled with water in every room…it drives my husband insane). As silly as it sounds I’m more prone to sipping when I don’t have to hunt for it. Call me lazy, but I know I’m not alone! If you don’t fancy the plain Jane H20, add fun and vibrant food to your water. I adore combinations created with lemon, lime, orange, berries, ginger, cinnamon, and mint. Nutritious and flavourful additives change the game like you wouldn’t believe. I also love to prepare a big pitcher of herbal tea at night. I brew my chosen tea (always decaffeinated) and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. I also add a variation of those favourite foods I mentioned above and sometimes an all-natural sweetener if I so desire. Pure maple syrup, raw honey, stevia, or coconut palm sugar are my go to’s when sweetening a homemade iced tea.
2. GET SOME SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE.
Mr. Golden Sun provides us with that beautiful glowing skin and one of the most important vitamins of all-Vitamin D. A lack of such vitamin can cause a slew of many health issues including bone softening and weakness leading to aches and pains, depression, digestive issues, weak immune systems, increased risk of cancers and that’s just the beginning. Sensible sun exposure is the best way to get your intake of Vitamin D. Sun protection lotions and sprays actually block the production of Vitamin D (not to mention the toxic, harmful, chemical cocktails in which they are fabricated) so some bare time is essential. Professionals recommend that we spend 15-20 minutes a day soaking up the rays. Get outside and avoid those scorching mid-day peak hours, especially if you have sensitive or fair skin. The best time to enjoy the healing power of the sun is in the mornings or in the evenings. Should your day happen to call for long hours outside, wear a hat, seek shade, and dress appropriately? Make sure to use sun protection made only of all natural ingredients. Zinc oxide is also an option for those with very sensitive or fair skin. Sunshine makes us instantly happy and gives us that irresistible glow. Vitamin D is proven to be a very important factor in our overall health so be smart but sensible and enjoy your summer!
*Those who don't have regular accessibility to the sunshine can also take supplements. Both Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 are recommended to take together for optimal results.
3. STAY ACTIVE.
This one has been tough for me in the past. As soon as summer rolls around I forget that my gym membership exists and I spend every beautiful waking moment outside enjoying the weather. I live in Canada so our winters are long and our summers sadly pass us by way too quickly. The good news is that there are many ways to enjoy nature and also maintain a lifestyle dedicated to active living. Every move counts. Get outside at lunch or after dinner and take a walk (bonus-this also helps you digest your meals). My favourite summer activity is biking. Nothing beats trekking through my quiet neighbourhood listening to the sounds of children playing, birds singing, and that gentle breeze caressing my face. Summer is the season for outdoor recreational sports. Be brave, try something new. Ask your friends if they play any team sports and if they need any players. You’d be surprised at how fun some of those seasonal leagues can be! If you aren’t a team player then seek out other activities such as hiking or kayaking. As long as you keep active in some way over the summer season your body will be grateful.
4. DON’T QUIT THE KITCHEN.
It’s a sweaty time of year. You get all hot and bothered in the kitchen preparing dinner with the oven turned on and the elements roaring-I get it. The good news is, not everything needs to be cooked with your stove. Believe it or not, the kitchen is the last place I want to be in summer (which must mean that normal people truly despise it). I will avoid using my oven as much as possible and make use of my rice cooker, my slow cooker, and my barbeque to prepare hot dishes. If I do want some baked, steamed or sautéed goodness I have that planned out for in the later evening after I eat my dinner and after the sun has somewhat gone down. Like I said above, I’d rather enjoy all of my spare time enjoying the beautiful and limited summer weather so this season brings a lot of batch preparing so I can do just that. There are so many fabulous barbeque friendly ideas and cold summer salad recipes that can get you through the season without living off of take out. Remember that we are what we eat and that doesn’t change with the seasons. One of my summer favourites is my Carnival Bowl with Chipotle Mayo recipe. For dessert, I recommend following up with my No Bake Strawberry Coconut Cheesecake. Click on the pictures for the recipe links.
5. SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
Summer turns us into the busiest of bees. As soon as June rolls around the birthday parties, showers, weddings, and family gatherings don’t seem to end until fall. It seems that every weekend is already pre-determined and that makes for one chaotic week…rinse and repeat. Our minds are going a mile a minute trying to remember to chop up those veggies for tomorrow’s dinner while contemplating what gift to buy your friend for her baby shower this upcoming weekend all while trying not to forget to pick your kids up from school. I mean let’s be real, we tend to be like this all year round but I find summer to be especially disorderly. Of course, these social events are fun and exciting but we also need that precious “me time”. Schedule yourself some downtime when and wherever you can. Do what you love. Do what leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated whether it be a yoga class, a manicure, or a quiet café date. A healthy lifestyle includes the state of both our physical and mental health. Spending time alone doing things we thoroughly enjoy leaves us feeling happy, stable, and ready to flutter around like social butterflies at all of those upcoming summer events.
Balance and moderation is key. Of course we are going to enjoy our sangria, ice cream dates, and our parties but let’s not forget about our wellness for the entire summer season. We can enjoy the gorgeous weather and maintain that healthy and fit lifestyle by staying hydrated, getting our sunshine on, moving our bodies, preparing oven free meals, and prioritizing that time alone. Enjoy your summer lovelies!
How do you stay on track over the summer months? What keeps you focused and balanced?