Your Healthy Summer Guide
Welcome to your guide for a joy-filled and healthy summer! This season of warmth and sunshine is the perfect time to focus on holistic wellness, embracing family activities, having fun in the sun, and staying fit. Here, we’ll explore how to make the most of your summer days, ensuring they are fun and beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.
Embrace Mindfulness and The Art of Gratitude
The festive season and Summer days can often be a hectic time of the year. The practice of mindfulness and the art of gratitude are great tools for managing stress during the busy period. Here are some small and effective tips on practising mindfulness and implementing it throughout your day:
- Start each day with a short mindfulness exercise, such as deep breathing (in for four counts, hold for four counts, out for four counts) or a guided meditation.
- Take time to appreciate the small joys of summer, like the cool breeze or a beautiful sunset.
- Practice gratitude by keeping a journal or sharing what you’re thankful for with your family.
Simple Tips to Manage Stress During the Summer
- You can supercharge your relaxation during the summer and festive season by ensuring you schedule and prioritise balance and downtime. Here are some ways to keep stress down and relaxation levels up: Ensure your schedule balances activities, particularly if you have a lot going on, which could lead to feeling overwhelmed. Block some time out dedicated to ‘not being available’ and time for yourself.
- Take the yoga class you have planned to attend all year, and take advantage of the longer days by going for a sunset (or sunrise) walk in nature!
- Start the new year with good habits by implementing an evening routine. Turn your phone on DND (Do Not Disturb) at a specific time and pick up a book or listen to soothing music to support you in winding down after a hot and busy day.
Stay Active During Summer Days
With longer days and the Summer season usually providing more energy, it is a great time to get active. Keeping active with friends and family also supports motivation to get moving.
- Plan family outings that involve physical activity, such as hiking or beach sports, which can be as simple as bringing a ball to the beach!
- Organise backyard games like frisbee or tag.
- Encourage kids to join summer sports camps or teams.
Prioritising Sleep Amidst Summer Excitement
Sleep is the number 1 priority for good health. Summer’s busier schedules and warmer nights can impact good sleep hygiene, resulting in an unrestful night and a lack of energy the following day. Here are some essential tips to support good sleep hygiene and ensure restful nights throughout the warmer months: Stick to a consistent bedtime, even on longer Summer days.
- Light is the most important element for setting the circadian rhythm. If it is available to you – getting early morning light is a great way to set yourself up for a great night’s sleep that evening.
- Create a cool, dark, and quiet sleep environment. This can be even more challenging during summer. Keep your bedroom closed throughout the day, or use dark, heavy curtains to keep the heat out.
- Avoid heavy meals and stimulating activities close to bedtime.
Nourishing Choices for Summer Days
Hydration in the Heat
Staying hydrated is essential for health, especially in Summer when we move and sweat more. Here are some simple tips to keep you hydrated:
- Drink water in small sips throughout the day instead of large quantities in the evening, which can impact your sleep quality. Carry a water bottle so you always have it available.
- Minerals, particularly salt, support and keep you hydrated and allow the body and its cells to absorb the water. Add a small pinch of salt to your water bottle.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Alcohol causes extreme dehydration in the body.
Nutritional Challenges During the Busy Season
Summer brings its own dietary temptations. Here are some ‘swaps’ to help navigate potential temptations at Summer events and how to be prepared during the busy season:
- Family Barbeques:
- Swap pre-packaged and pre-prepared meats with fresh cuts of meat.
- Swap pre-packaged salads with fresh greens, seasonal vegetables and herbs.
- Swap store-bought salad dressings for lemon and olive oil.
- Swap heavy, sugar-laden desserts for fresh summer fruit.
- Prepare healthy snacks for days out:
- Carrot and celery slices
- Boiled eggs
- Fresh nuts
- Frozen berries
- Easy to prepare and pack salads
The Power of Antioxidants for Summer Skin Protection
During the Summer, we are exposed to the largest amount of sun. Antioxidants found in antioxidant-rich foods play a protective role against the sun’s harmful rays. They also help defend the skin from free radicals. You can support your skin during Summer by implementing these antioxidant-rich foods into your diet:
- Blueberries are one of the richest antioxidant foods available (they are also incredibly cheap during summer). Add them to your smoothies, breakfast, and Summer salad.
- Leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and bok-choy are high in antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals that protect the skin.
- Nuts are a great snack packed with skin-friendly nutrients such as zinc, vitamin E and selenium (an antioxidant).
Maintain Good Oral Health
We couldn’t prepare a Summer Holistic Health plan without mentioning the importance of good oral health hygiene, particularly as Summer indulgences can challenge your oral health too quickly. Remember these tips:
- Brush twice a day and floss daily to maintain dental hygiene.
- Limit sugary drinks and snacks, which can harm the health of your teeth.
- Book your New Year dental and hygiene appointments!
Celebrate Your Health in Summer
Summer can and should be both enjoyable and healthy. We hope these simple and practical steps contribute to a fulfilling and healthy summer. Remember, balance is vital, so enjoy the season’s pleasures while caring for your health!
References and Further Reading
- Mayo Clinic Health System. (n.d.). Expressing gratitude to improve health.
- American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). Three Reasons Why Physical Activity Should Be a Family Routine.
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). How to Stay Hydrated Over the Summer
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d.). Systemic antioxidants and skin health.