Today at 5:14 am, it finally arrived….SUMMER! Here in the NEK summers just hit differently after long cold and dark winters and what seems like more than our fair share of rain.  Summer is such a special and temporary time, which makes it all that much more important that we get to enjoy it as healthfully as possible. Here are some tips on how to make the next 90 days the healthiest ever.

When you think of healthy, you probably think about certain foods and it’s likely to cause an instant reaction. You may be in the “yes, yum,” category or the “no, please,” category. First things first, there are so many ways to eat “healthy,” so even if you don’t consider yourself a health-food nut, don’t consider yourself out of the healthy eater’s game. For some people, the healthiest way to eat this season is to focus on eating all the seasonal produce they can, for others, healthy to them might mean being more mindful of serving sizes or cooking in different ways. If you are newer to trying to eat in a more healthful way, start with one thing! It might mean eating one burger instead of two or it might mean eating salad with each meal. Start from where you are and choose one thing to help you get where you want to be.

A healthy summer can really make or break with your hydration. If you aren’t staying hydrated a fun day at the amusement park or beach can turn south quickly. Each and every day you have a responsibility to hydrate your body. If you like to spend extra time in the sun or enjoy summer sports, you may need more water than you are used to. Make it the healthiest summer yet by making hydration a priority. Keep water handy and bring it along no matter where you go this summer. If you aren’t getting in those daily sips and gulps, keep an eye out for signs of dehydration then act quickly. Seek shade, eat foods with lots of water like fruit and maybe even drink a sports drink to get back to your healthy summer.

Practicing safe sun habits is healthy all year, but we think of it the most in the summer. While we crave the warm rays on our skin, it’s important to protect it from the harmful rays too. Wear your sunscreen whenever you will be outside and keep more on hand for reapplying. Wear a hat when you can to reduce sun exposure on your face and in your eyes and make a fashion and health statement with some high-quality sunglasses. Another way to have a healthy summer in the sun is to remember to seek shade, you can still enjoy the outdoors under an umbrella or tree. Keep an extra lightweight layer around for times when you may want to cover your arms or legs. The famous summer slogan for safe sun is slip, slop, slap, and wrap. Slip in a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on your sunglasses for a healthy summer.

Make plans! Yes, making plans this summer can make you a healthier person. We all need things to look forward to and having something planned can boost your mental health. Even if a summer vacation out of town isn’t an option this summer, plan to go walking with friends, take yourself on a beach date, plan to attend some of the many local outdoor concerts. Make some plans and then do them. You might even make some new friends and make some even better memories. Make this summer extra healthy by getting out there!

Summers are meant to be savored. Take some time to enjoy the season. Listen to the birds and peepers, taste the summer foods of fresh local berries, and produce, smell the flowers, see the glow of the bonfires and feel the warm sand or grass below your feet. Just being present in your senses this summer can make it a more fulfilling and therefore the healthiest summer ever.


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center