The sun is shining, the beach is packed, and summer is in full swing. You might not be basking in summer break like you used to in childhood, but there’s something to be said about long lazy days in the summer sunshine on the weekends. Before you set up your beach towel on the sand, make sure you keep these health tips in mind to keep yourself safe and healthy all summer long. Beyond the usual advice about sunscreen (wear it), and the common summer travel tips, these four habits will help you make it through the summer healthy and happy.
Avoiding Junk Food
Chips and candy are enticing, as is fast food, but eating this can do more than pack on the pounds. Excess of these types of food can heavily impact your body’s organs, including your liver. This important gland and organ is responsible for one of the body’s most important processes—removing toxic contents from our bodies. Writing about the effects of diet on health, author Lee Davy explains why proper liver function is paramount to holistic wellness. “Many…nasty chemicals that enter our blood stream can only pass through once converted from fat-soluble chemicals to water-soluble chemicals. It’s the liver’s job to do this…If you overwork your liver, because you have an excess mass of these toxins, there can be a build-up leading to a whole host of nasty ailments such as inflammatory disease, chronic fatigue and auto-immune deficiencies.” Not so appealing, right? Taking care of your liver means avoiding refined sugars and processed chemicals found in many junk foods, which can be a tough task when at a summer party or lounging by the pool. You can still snack, but it’s important to make healthier choices. An abundance of fresh produce at local farmers markets and grocery stores in the summer months means you have plenty of alternatives to that unhealthy candy bar or addictive bag of chips.
Summer means spending long hours in the sun, and inevitably, a great deal of sweating (especially if you keep up with that new exercise routine). Don’t let this deplete your water stores and leave you dehydrated. If you find it hard to make yourself drink the recommended amount of H2O every day, try some fun and creative ways to make the taste of water a bit more appealing. An infuser water bottle provides a little pocket in which you can place your favorite fruits, veggies, or herbs. How about some strawberry mint water? A glass of chilled cucumber water can really hit the spot on a warm summer’s day. Get creative and use produce to your advantage. This helps you avoid the excess sugars and manufactured sweeteners found in most bottled drinks, and staying hydrated will keep you feeling and looking your best.
Easy on the Alcohol
Summer is filled with barbecues and beachside shindigs, and that means you’ll likely be facing plenty of opportunities to drink alcoholic beverages. Instead of reaching for the hard liquor, stick to lighter options that are refreshing but less harsh on your liver. A light chilled white wine can be the perfect addition to your plate of potato salad, or a fruity sangria can make sure you get your berry antioxidants in a delicious drink. Be sure not to drink in excess; it heightens the chances of dehydration and can cause bloating—no one wants that in this swimsuit weather.
Get in Touch with Yourself
The summer months are when many workers take their vacation time, but did you know Americans are terrible at using up their paid time off? To stay healthy, use vacation time to your advantage. Citing a survey from Glassdoor, Quentin Fottrell highlights just how much our paid time off goes to waste. “Employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off, according to another recent survey of 2,300 workers who receive paid vacation…What’s more, 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation, despite complaints from family members; one-in-four report being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, while one-in-five have been contacted by their boss.” With this constant connection to work, it’s hard to let our minds have a break. Take care of your mental health this summer and utilize vacation time. Meditate, head to your favorite relaxing location, or take a mental health day and stay at home in bed catching up on Netflix. Your mental wellbeing should be taken just as seriously as your physical health, so make sure you manage your stress and give your mind the care it needs.