When I think summer, I think patios, lakes, swimming, relaxation, hot weather and long days. (Ok, sure…throw in some mosquitoes and a little too much sun…I am in Manitoba after all!) But the reality is that most of us still work during summer. And the routine of life, instead of becoming more serene and summer-magical…can become more chaotic!
Now, summer is my favourite season. But I’m learning to be a little more realistic about what can all be packed in over these amazing months. Having said that, I do want to maximize my ‘living’ with so many daylight hours to enjoy!
So, here are a few of my prairie-summer thoughts , and how to stay and become more ‘well’…
– Eat Nature’s Food! There are so many fresh veggies and fruit available this time of year. Strawberries in early summer, cucumbers throughout, herbs growing from the get-go…. From farmers markets to local shops carrying organic produce, the options abound.
– Enjoy these Foods in New Ways. It keeps them and the ideas fresh. Cukes blended in with some greens and fresh melon for a refreshing smoothie; strawberries sliced onto your favourite salad or blended to make an amazing dressing; chopped basil thrown into cut up watermelon (or blend it all for a flavour-burst drink!) or fresh dill (and loads of it!) chopped into a grain salad. So delicious.
– Take in the Green Space Around You. We all have it, even a small patch of green outside the office. Taking a short stroll or quick lunch in that space can do wonders for your energy and mood. (Check out this article…http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/green-space-improves-mental-health-well-being-1.2672323)
– Soak Up a little Sun! The term sun-kissed is the perfect mental image of healthy glowing skin. And research is starting to tell us what our intuition (and hopes!) have been saying for years…a little sun is also good for our body’s health. The vitamin D produced from sun exposure (sans sunscreen) helps our skin, bones, mood and even decreases risks of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases! Obviously, no burning – but I think most of us try to avoid this anyway. So, walk outside while the sun is a-shinin’ , even 10-15 minutes, and you’ll feel it’s amazing effects. (More on sun exposures and cancer rates…http://www.realfarmacy.com/scientists-blow-the-lid-on-cancer-sunscreen-myth/.)
– Patios and Drinks!? Ok, so I know most won’t ditch all alcoholic bevvies the summer throws their way…but why not mix it up? Instead of downing 4+ brews or frozen sugary drinks before eating a morsel of food, consider a slightly healthier approach. Why not alternate 1 for 1 (regular for virgin), to decrease our body’s detox stress? Or add interest to your drink that isn’t sugar or artificial colours: a slice of cucumber or a few fresh raspberries with club soda or coconut water. Keeps you more hydrated and again, frees the body’s detox abilities to focus on just one thing (ahem, the booze;).
– Regular Movement (exercise)! With every season, there are excuses to not exercise. Summer is often the time of year most people are ‘waiting for’ to add more exercise (“I’ll start biking once it’s nice outside…”). But then it gets here…and the lounger and patio beckons louder than our running shoes! So, incorporate movement in small batches and into daily routines. Bike to pick up that last camping supply before the weekend; do a few monkey bar chin-ups or step ups while your kids are at the playground; swim a length or two at the pool between jumps off the diving board or dock (you or your kids;), join a yoga session in the park on your lunch break… There are so many options, just choose a couple and dive in!
– Deep Breaths – take in that fresh summer air and feel your stress melt away. Look up at the white billowy clouds, smell the freshly cut grass, take a slow deep breath and repeat as you have time for. So simple but such profound effects.
– Relax & Unwind – Bookend Your Day. Growing up on a farm, every last ounce of sunshine was considered time to work. However, we still need that daily down time (which comes with sunset most of the year)! If you find yourself running around and fitting more and more into your already daylight-filled day…‘schedule in’ some relaxation while the sun is still up in the evening. Unwind with a book in your screened porch, walk around your yard and enjoy the garden you’ve slaved over all day, climb into the hammock you strung up (but never use!) and sway with the evening breeze. Stress hormones will fall & sleep hormones will rise…and you’ll be feeling the summer love all over again.
However you enjoy your summer, find little ways to add some healthy habits into the mix. And if you find that those nagging or new health concerns keep you from enjoying these long summer days, I’d love to chat and come up with solutions for optimizing your wellness.
Book an appointment at Wolseley Wellness Centre with ND’s Dr. Janzen or Dr. Jasper today. 204-774-5521