It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through July! Are you taking full advantage of the longer days, warm temperatures, and sunshine-filled skies? For many people, these factors lead to improved mood as well as better diet and fitness habits.
Here are four summer wellness tips to see you through the rest of the season.
1. Soak up that vitamin D!
Did you know that vitamin D is an essential nutrient that supports the way your body functions? It plays a role in everything from boosting your immunity and mood to defending your cells against cancer. Although it is available in foods and supplements, vitamin D is best obtained via safe sun exposure.
Unfortunately, given the need to be indoor for work as well as the importance of sunscreen, most people are deficient in vitamin D. Luckily, taking a lunchtime walk or just opening a window on a sunny day is enough to improve your vitamin D (and your attitude!). Another option is sipping your first cup of coffee outside; the morning light isn’t as intense as afternoon sunshine but can still increase your vitamin D levels.
Even better: Proper sun exposure in the summertime can help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the wintry months. The body can store vitamin D for months and months, allowing us to access it in the future.
2. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet to decrease sun sensitivity.
Because sunburn is a type of inflammation, your diet plays a big role in your skin’s reaction to UV rays and its ability to repair itself after sun damage. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Heathy fats rich in Omega-3s, such as fish, eggs, flaxseed, and walnuts
- Good-for-you saturated fats, like coconut oil and avocado oil
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens and tomatoes
- Antioxidant-rich foods, including berries, beans, nuts, and green or black tea
In addition to protecting your skin from the inside out, be sure to monitor your time in the sun and use proper coverage and mineral-block sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide during hours of intense sunlight.
3. Stay hydrated.
Although it’s important to stay hydrated year-round, it’s extra important during the hot summer months. As a general rule of thumb, aim to drink half of your lean body weight in ounces of water per day to prevent dehydration. If it’s difficult for you to drink enough, try adding fruit or herbs to a large pitcher for more enjoyable sips.
If you spend extra time in the sun, boost your water intake accordingly! It’s recommended that you add 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes spent sweating or in the heat.
4. Start a new self-care routine.
Thanks to the longer days, summer is a great time to add self-care practices into your daily routine. Here are some ideas:
- Start your morning with a few deep breaths as you mentally run through your day.
- Make time for one thing that you love. Whether it’s reading a book, painting, or chatting with a friend, it’s important to fill your own bucket.
- When that afternoon slump hits, use the fresh air to energize you! Head out for a short 10-minute walk each day.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, consider adding a warm bath into your nighttime routine.
- End your day by writing in a gratitude journal or doing another mindfulness exercise.