6 Tips for a Foolproof Summer
Author: Samantha Kirton
With summer well and truly underway and pool parties and catch ups left, right and centre, here are some of my favourite summer wellness tips to keep you cool, hydrated and most of all, healthy.
1. Make Your Own Insect Repellent
Source images: https://unsplash.com/search/photos/essential-oils
Nothing spells summer more than a pesky mosquito that won’t leave you alone. With so many natural alternatives available, there really is no reason to reach for the can of chemical-ridden bug spray.
One of my favourite recipes that I’ve only just started using, but mimics a personal concoction that I have used for years is by Dr Axe.
Here’s Dr Axe’s recipe, adapted to how I make it:
Natural Insect Repellent (That Works!)
½ cup witch hazel (available from most health food stores, supermarkets or online)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
30 drops geranium essential oil
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
(or a combination of any of the above essential oils, along with lemongrass, tea tree, lemon or rosemary essential oils, adjusted to preference or availability)
1 x 250ml spray bottle
Mix together witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and essential oils in a small jug.
Pour into spray bottle and label. Keep out of reach of children and use as needed, avoiding contact with eyes and palms of hands (so as not to inadvertently rub your eyes).
If you’re not the DIY-type, you can always head to your nearest health food store to pick up a skin-friendly option.
2. Natural Sun Protection
Though I’m going to keep this brief, sun protection obviously has an important part to play in the harsh Aussie climate. Aside from considering Vitamin D levels, nothing beats sun protection more than staying out of the sun. If you are going to venture outdoors, especially in the middle of summer, it’s imperative for the safety of your skin to preferably head out before the UV index reaches its peak between 10am and 4pm, though from personal experience, in summer, I can feel a burn between 8am and 5pm a lot of the time.
A nifty tool to check out is http://www.myuv.com.au/ . You simply input your location and it spits out the UV reading for the day. Basically, anything over a “3” warrants sun protection. This page gives you the time of day to use sun protection and can show you when the UV is at its peak.
If you do choose to venture outdoors, there’s a plethora of natural sunscreens on the market and not all of them are greasy, so switch it up and start exploring some of the chemical-free options.
Otherwise the usual recommendations apply - covering up when you are in the sun, popping your sunnies on and wearing a hat.
Concerned about your vitamin D levels? Chances are, if you are reading this from Australia, you should be. Or at least in winter, you should be. In summer, the average person only needs a few minutes of sunlight per day, in every state, including our Tasmanian friends. Winter is a different story, though the majority of Australians aren’t actually vitamin D deficient (77%), despite common belief that deficiency is rife. For cities in line with Sydney and Perth and below, you’ll need to aim for 2-3 hours of sunlight per day, preferably in the middle of the day during winter, in order to reach your recommended vitamin D intake, though for more northern cities, you still only need a few minutes a day. Check out Australia’s most recent guidelines on vitamin D and sun protection here.
3. Hydration & Natural Pick-me-ups To Beat The Sluggish Heat
With summer comes heat, humidity, parties, functions and all sorts different foods we wouldn’t normally eat. Not to mention alcohol. The result? A greater chance of dehydration. Though there are a host of benefits to staying hydrated, there are some real consequences to dehydration.
Some of the effects of not drinking enough water include:
Fatigue, tiredness and a feeling of exhaustion
Dull or dry skin
Puffiness or swelling
Joint pain or stiffness
Impaired elimination of toxins via the skin (with time, this can lead to premature wrinkling, dermatitis and psoriasis)
Elevated blood pressure
Digestive disorders (including ulcers, gastritis and reflux)
You can probably remember at least one summer where you’ve experienced any number of these signs or symptoms. An easy way to combat dehydration is to keep a glass or bottle of water handy. Do whatever suits your style - sip on it throughout the day or aim for a glass an hour - whichever you’re more inclined to remember if you’re not already in the habit of drinking water.
Spike up your water and give one of these taste-tempters a whirl
- Sparkling water blended with 1 sachet Sambazon acai
- Raspberry, strawberry and basil with sparkling water (ideal for parties and get-togethers)
- Peppermint iced tea with fresh mint leaves
- Lemon, ginger and raw honey tea made with hot water and left to cool
- Hibiscus iced tea (or in fact, any of your favourite teas, iced)
- Sparkling water with blueberries (or any of your favourite berries)
- Flavoured water (try any combo of kombucha, sparkling or still water, fresh or frozen berries - including Sambazon acai, citrus slices (tangelo / orange / lime / lemon / grapefruit), fresh herbs or any other fruit that takes your fancy.
4. Boost Your Cooling Foods & Pack A Nutritional Punch!
Lower your body’s core temperature in summertime by eating “cooling” foods, which have the bonus function of supplying you with an additional source of fluid
Opt for the below goodies to cool you off this summer:
Cucumbers: Great in salads, as dippers with hommos or in your water or fresh juice
Watermelon: Straight out of the fridge or in salads, fruit salads or juices
Citrus fruits (lemons, grapefruits and oranges): Freeze for a healthy iceblock alternative, slice and eat fresh, add to salads or juice
Lettuce and leafy greens: Best eaten as a refreshing salad, smoothie or juice on a hot day!
Strawberries, avocado, dates, figs, grapes, melons, pears and raspberries: Eat as a snack, or in smoothies, salads or main meals
An alternative to sugar-laden ice-creams and ice blocks are Sambazon frozen acai packs eaten straight from the pack! Our acai packs can always be made into delicious acai bowls or smoothies. What better way to embrace summer than with a massive nutrient hit?
5. Refresh & Renew
Christmas time is synonymous with parties, get togethers and functions, but that needn’t play a toll on your body. With some well thought out moves, you can head back into work and the new year with a spring in your step, rather than a drunken stumble.
Here are my suggestions for thriving (not surviving) the never-ending onslaught of activities at Christmas:
You can’t do everything so practice mindfulness and be selective. Need some help with turning “opportunities” down? Do yourself a favour and read Essentialism by Greg McKeon
Adding on to point 1 (above), only choose to attend activities you’d really love to be a part of.
Life’s too short to be dragged across town to every invite you get. Choose only the best or those you really feel you have to attend. As a polite, G-rated version of my most favourite quote ever says Derek Sivers, TEDx speaker, “It’s either hell yeah, or no.” Read this one again and cement it into your memory, expletives added or not.
Decide ahead of time where you want to spend your time off - in bed recovering or out in the fresh air, making the most of the hot summery days. Once you’ve decided what’s worth nursing a hangover for, the rest of your choices should be easy.
Do your own mini detox or day spa day. Or why not make it a week? Unplug, disconnect and get into the vibe of healthy living.
Practice visualisation. Though it’s perfectly wonderful to have a break from it all and recharge the batteries, research shows that the effects of a holiday rarely last, yet the brain actually shows long-term change when you have programmed it with visualisations (in this case, of health and relaxation perhaps). This has its origins in neuroplasticity and is something that needs to be practiced, often. Give it a go, even if it’s just 5 minutes each day on waking. What better way to get into a habit than to start this this summer? Just make sure you set yourself up for success once work goes back by opting for an accountability buddy or perhaps a post-it note reminder if you’ve thrown your phone away for good! (Ha!)
If you were to just choose one of the above, I’m sure your experience of the new year would be one filled with ease and grace. Go on and give it a go!
6. Set An Intention For The Year
Every year, I set a new theme, intention, or phrase for the year ahead. I believe I first came across this concept from speaker and blogger Michael Hyatt though I could be wrong…. Apologies to the original creator of the concept if I am.
Basically, I choose something that I want to align myself with for the coming year - single words work well for me, though phrases might work better for you, in which case, go for it!
Choose anything from one to say five words from the list below (or create your own words if they don’t appear on the list and they resonate more with you). (List courtesy of https://mindcore.cz/short-list-of-values/).
Abundance Fairness Order
Acceptance Faith Passion
Achievement Family Peace
Authenticity Fitness Perseverance
Balance Freedom Quality
Bravery Friendship Respect for others
Care for others Fun Responsibility
Commitment Generosity Security
Competence Gratitude Self Respect
Contention Harmony Self-Control
Cooperation Honesty Serenity
Courage Humor Service to others
Creativity Independence Simplicity
Dependability Innovation Spirituality
Discipline Joy Stability
Diversity Kindness Success
Effectiveness Knowledge Teamwork
Empathy Love Well-being
Equality Loyalty Winning
Excellence Openness Wisdom
The idea then is to use these words on a daily basis - pop them wherever you are inclined to see them and then live by them to create the year that you have set out to achieve.
So there you have it - some of my favourite summer wellness tips. Hopefully they help you set the scene for a fantastic summer ahead!
Author: Samantha Kirton