guest article by: Jennifer McGregor
Summer is in full swing, and it’s the time of year when people suddenly begin to pay particular attention to their bodies. From heading to the tanning bed to crash dieting, we tend to get a little overzealous when it comes to our physical appearance come summer. The truth is, it is always in our best interest to stay on top of our health no matter the season. Doing so not only increases your lifespan but also ensures you look your best during the time of year when swimsuits are the outfit of choice.
Go to bed on time
It’s only natural to want to adjust your schedule to follow the sun. But you should still strive to get at least seven hours (minimum!) of sleep each night all year long. Many experts assert that sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is essentially your body’s time to reboot and repair all of the wear and tear you’ve experienced that day.
Don’t give up on vacation
If you don’t have a vacation planned, you should. Spending time with family is great for your mental health, and taking a break from work can actually help you return more prepared to tackle any issues that you’ve been struggling with. But, this is not the time to break the healthy habits you already have in place.
One way to stay on track is to book a private vacation rental. This will give you a chance to cook your own meals and have better access to fitness and recreational opportunities (just be sure to book your stay accordingly).
According to Popular Science, the jury is out on when you should eat breakfast. However, the fact that you should eat a balanced meal to break your overnight fast is not up for debate. Pay close attention to your schedule and make a point to plan your dining habits in a way that best suit your personal needs and preferences. Keep in mind that if you are diabetic or need to manage your weight, breakfast should be your largest meal of the day.
Learn to relax
Summer tends to be all go and no slow, but being constantly on the move isn’t always in your best interest. Let yourself wind down every now and then. Spend a day each week lounging by the pool or, better yet, on the massage table. An hour of therapeutic massage can boost your mood, relieve muscle soreness, and even kick your immune system into high gear. A massage is the perfect gift for yourself.
While you do need to relax, you also need to move with purpose. But, you don’t have to hit the gym for hours each day to make physical activity a habit. Although your body expends energy even when you’re at rest, it’s much more efficient at burning calories when you are not. But even more important than burning calories, physical activity is good for your heart, lungs, and brain. When you move, you strengthen yourself from the inside out, which is important if you plan to live a long and healthy life.
Plan to do something each day that gets your heart rate up. This could be dancing, playing with the kids, or even cleaning your house. If none of those activities pique your interests, NerdFitness.com has 40 more ideas that might. Even less strenuous activities, such as yoga, have many health benefits. As an added bonus, yoga can help you relax and destress, which will have an amazing effect on your overall mental wellness.
Protect Your Mental Health
Believe it or not, your mental health has a significant impact on your physical health. And for overall wellness, your mental health should also be a priority. This is where self-care comes in. While the points listed above all count as self-care methods, there are other ways to ensure you get the care you need inside and out. This can be in the form of meditating, journaling, practicing yoga or working on your spiritual health. From an external perspective, self-care can include removing negative energy from your home, keeping your living space clean and uncluttered, and surrounding yourself with decor and lighting that makes your home a serene environment.
In general, the point is that a knee-jerk reaction to summer is not what you need. If you want to be truly healthy, you have to make yourself a priority the entire year, and recommit to yourself every morning. So get a good night’s sleep, eat well, exercise and practice self-care.