Embrace Summer: Simple Self-Care Tips for a Healthier, Happier Season

May 1, 2024

As the warmer weather appears and hopefully a few more sunny days, couple with Bank Holidays and long weekends, May is often the time we start to think about how we feel heading into the summer. It’s not all about the media stereotypes of ‘beach ready’ bodies and perfect tans, it can be more about you and how you feel and care for yourself.

Lighter mornings and longer evenings can be a great time to give your body and mind a little TLC. If you get the opportunity to get up half an our earlier, use that time to create a moment of calm. Maybe a hot drink in your favourite cup, get outside if you can, maybe walk on the wet grass, take a few moments to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. A great way to set you up for the day.

If the weather permits, how about developing the habit of an evening walk, even half an hour two or three times a week can help your circulation, give you some fresh air and a chance to relax. If you can find a green space to be in, even better as it is now well recognised that being in nature or a green space such as a park, can calm us down and is good for our mental wellbeing.

As the summer arrives, it is a good time to think about how you can make the most of extra daylight with a early morning or evening walk.

At this time of year, we also start to see plenty of local produce appear in the shops, perhaps you have also made a choice to start growing your own. Even a small area on a windowsill can give you a supply of salad leaves, hanging baskets can be used to grow tomatoes, strawberries, chillies and more. Investigate vertical gardening if you are short of space but have big ideas about growing your own fresh produce. Just think, you could have a summer full of freshly picked and harvested salads, fruit and vegetables with a bit of planning.

Hydration is also important, especially if the weather warms up, we are moving about more and possibly losing more moisture through sweating. If you are not a fan of plain water, flavour it with a few slices of cucumber or fresh mint, a wedge of orange or lemon, anything flavoursome will add a subtle extra taste to your water. Herbal teas, hot or cold are also great for summer drinks. Let a fruity herbal tea cool, pop it in the fridge, then add some ice and a sprig of mint for a cool and refreshing summer drink.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables even in small places, can give you a supply of fresh and nutritious foods that you know exactly where they came from.

When it comes to your supplements it is always a good idea to review and update as the seasons change. Winter supplements make way for those looking after your skin, digestive health if you are travelling and eye health to help if you have trouble adjusting to the brighter sun light.

A good foundation is always a multivitamin and mineral, a daily top up of a wide spectrum of nutrients. If you burn easily in the sun, consider taking a Beta carotene supplement in the early summer to help protect your skin. Vitamin E and essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and 6 are also important, especially if your skin tends to be dry.

Antioxidants help protect your eyes, consider lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are important for the health of the eye. If you are heading off to places with very bright sunlight, it is a good idea to take for a month before you travel.

Talking of travel, how many holidays are ruined by a change in diet or poor food quality giving you an upset stomach. Simple tips such as avoiding ice in drinks if you are not sure of the source of the water and watching what you eat, can make a big difference. You can help prepare your digestive system by using a friendly bacteria supplement, these good bacteria help keep the gut ‘clean’ and also aid digestion. If you do suffer from an upset stomach, they can help replace the good bacteria you have lost, too. Look for shelf stable formulations that will survive the travelling. Saccharomyces boulardii is particularly useful if you are prone to stomach upsets caused by poor quality food.

Does planning your holiday make you stressed and anxious? Many people admit to getting more stressed about going on holiday than going to work and end up ruining their holiday as they can’t relax. B vitamins and magnesium are useful in helping the body with tiredness and fatigue and creating a normal psychological balance. Great for the times you are feeling tense and can’t relax your muscles.

Going on holiday can be very stressful, especially if you are the one who has to sort it all. Prepare and plan to help reduce the stresses and strains.

If you are travelling by plane and always find you come back with a cold from the recirculated air, think about supplements that contribute to a healthy immune system. Vitamin C, Zinc and vitamin D all play a role in your immune system function. Check your multivitamin to see if they are present in meaningful doses, if not consider taking them separately.

However you start planning your summer, remember to keep it simple and do what works for you. An hour reading a good book on a park bench in summer sunshine can sometimes be just as restorative as heading to a far away place for tropical weather.

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