You’ve probably heard the term Hot Girl Summer. It’s a song by Megan Thee Stallion, it’s an attitude, it’s a meme. Well I’m a little bit older now, and no longer have the desire or need to be a hot girl. But I can have a Healthy Woman Summer. Here are my 5 tips for a healthy summer no matter what your age, attitude, or gender preference. My list is Mediterranean inspired, as you would expect.
1. Take advantage of seasonal produce
I’m a firm believer that the Earth offers up the fruits and vegetables we need at the right time. Summer is for vitamins and hydration. In the hot weather, we are naturally more active. We’re outdoors more. We sweat. We need to fuel our bodies with healthy foods and to stay hydrated.
It’s easy to follow a Mediterranean diet at this time of year because of the number of fruits and vegetables readily available. If you notice, the fruits and vegetables that are available now are the kinds that perish quickly. As opposed to the winter fruits and veggies that are designed to last longer and get us through the barren cold weather months. The summer fruits and vegetables are meant to be eaten now and often. We are naturally more active in the warmer months. We need to nourish our bodies to keep replenishing the vitamins and water content.
This doesn’t mean we have to eat loads of food. Eat a handful of cherries or a peach as a snack. Drink lots of water. Flavor it with fruit if it makes it more appealing for you. Stay away from sugary cakes and treats and opt instead for fruit.
2. Get outdoors
Go outside in the beautiful warm weather and soak up the sun’s rays and breathe the fresh air. The sun provides vitamin D which is necessary to keep our bodies healthy. Remember to protect your skin with sunscreen and protect your eyes with glamorous sunglasses.
Eat outdoors occasionally. Be more active. Move your body. Do something fun. Swim, play tennis or pickle ball, take hikes, go for walks, ride bikes, roller blade, play catch or basketball. Find what you like. Not everything is right for everyone. Listen to you own body and your own mind. What fuels your body? What exercise makes you feel good?
Feel the wind in your hair. Smell the flowers and the freshly mowed grass. Go to a park and watch the birds and squirrels play.
3. Don’t even think about dieting and exercise
Those words have taken on negative connotations and can actually make us shut down. Think about improving your lifestyle instead. I often tell you that a Mediterranean diet is not a diet in the way we think of a starvation event. It is about following the patterns of eating of the people living in Mediterranean countries. They naturally eat more vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, and fewer processed foods.
The word diet has taken on the meaning of this heavy burden we put on ourselves. We starve ourselves for two weeks before we go on vacation, and then go back to our regular eating habits that have gotten us to this point in the first place. This creates a mindset of lack and scarcity. It produces negative emotions. And it is not good for your body.
Instead think about doing what makes your body feel good. When you eat fruit instead of cake, you feel better afterwards. Your head is clearer, and you’re not eating something that will cause inflammation in your body. No matter how good that cake tastes, it is never going to be good for you.
Think about how you feel after you stretch. Of course, it feels good to nap and lie around the house. And sometimes we need to rest. But every day we should be stretching or taking a walk or doing something that helps improve our physical bodies.
Physical activity makes you feel more positive. It helps with freedom of movement. It can help you lose weight. It can help you feel strong and steady. Find something that you enjoy doing so it doesn’t feel like a burden. If you have access to a pool or the ocean, go swimming. If you have a backyard, do some stretches or yoga out in the fresh air. Do some gardening. Ride a bike. Play tennis or pickle ball. Make it fun and it won’t feel like exercise.
The concepts of dieting and exercise can feel like chores. But when you re-frame them in your mind as having fun and up-leveling your lifestyle, it can take on a more positive place in your life.
You don’t have to jog three miles to lose weight. Play basketball with your kids. Play hopscotch or jump rope, whatever feels like fun.
4. Replenish your mind
Take 30-60 minutes a day just for yourself. Listen to calming music, or turn off your phone and enjoy the silence. Give yourself a face mask, or meditate, or something you find relaxing that is just for you.
I have gotten into the habit of going into my bedroom before dinner for about an hour. I put on calming music and lie still and let my thoughts wander. Sometimes I repeat affirmations in my head while I listen to the music. Sometimes I nod off and take a little nap. After about an hour I am refreshed and I make dinner.
It’s important to me to take this time to be by myself and alone with my thoughts. Sometimes I get creative ideas for my business. Sometimes I dream about the future. Sometimes I deliberately do a guided meditation to get myself out of thoughts that are troubling me.
I look forward to taking this time for myself. Especially in the summer, I get overheated easily. And I find this time helps me cool down and relax. I turn on a small fan in my room, remove any restrictive clothing, and have a few moments of peace.
Make time for yourself every day.
5. Be social
I know I just told you to take some time daily for yourself. But it’s also important to have human interaction.
Even introverts need to interact with people. You may not enjoy being in a crowd but spending time with your trusted inner circle can be replenishing. Or maybe you are an extrovert and you thrive on meeting new people.
While I love my peace and quiet time, I also enjoy spending time with friends. We have a few laughs, maybe a meal or a coffee, talk about old times, and support each other.
Maybe you can do some of the activities above with your friends. You can’t play pickle ball by yourself. Take a walk together, share a watermelon, do some yoga, watch the sun set.
Enjoying time with friends who have common interests can lighten your mood. Social interaction is good for your brain health as well. Spending time alone can help with peace of mind. And spending time with friends can physically help your brain and lower your risk for dementia.
Let me know which of these 5 tips for a healthy summer is your favorite. Have a wonderful healthy summer season.