Helpful Summer Tips
You don’t need me to tell you summer’s here. Take two steps outside and you’ll be soaking in beautiful sun light and warm weather!…or drowning in a blazing sun and hot, suffocating air — depends on which way you look at it.
Either way, it’s here. And from lots of summer experience (I won’t give away my age), there are always certain habits we have to change to make it out alive and thriving.
A prime example of a change you have to make is with your wallet: Summer usually means more “free” time. I put free in quotes because this “free” time usually results in more travel, impulsive buying, overspending and other expenditures you might look back and shake your head at — totally not free.
Yeah, summer time is typically a great period of relaxation, reduced stress and more fun, but here’s some helpful advice to help you become the master of your summer…and not fall victim to its lustful sunrays that make even the best of us 3-month-long beach bums.
It’s easy to eat poorly during the summer. Whether you’re at a baseball game with a hot dog and a beer, at a concert with a frozen margarita, or at an amusement park with a fresh-squeezed margarita, the unhealthy options are everywhere.
Summer just tends to give us a “Who cares?” attitude. We’ve worked hard throughout the crappy weather months of the year, now we want to enjoy the beautiful ones. So screw our health, right?!
Eh, not so fast. I’m all for enjoying delicious foods during the summer, but everything must be done at moderation.
BBQing: If you’re going to host a barbecue, you can do something simple such as throw some vegetables on the grill. The best part about grilling vegetables is you generally don’t have to worry about overcooking them as you do with meat. Plus, grilled vegetables seem to taste better than cooked either way.
Another great tip I’ve picked up is to take the skin completely off chicken when grilling it. Half of the fat and saturated fat in the chicken breast and thigh is in the skin, so take it off and throw it away!
This last tip should be applied year round, but mostly during the summer (when it seems food is always in abundance): Be sensible about your servings! Instead of that 10- to 16-ounce steak, cut yourself a filet mignon-sized slab. Make kabobs with small pieces of meat and alternate with vegetables. Just be weary of your serving sizes because few things are worse than the dreaded food baby!
Exercise: Yes, I do have a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology…but for this, I will keep it simple: A body in motion stays in motion!
The heat & sunlight of the summer tends to make us want to just lie down for days at a time. Believe me, I love laying in a hammock and watching the clouds float by as much as the next person, but don’t make it a habit!
Now is the ideal time to do outdoors-y things such as go hiking, biking, swimming, running, play beach volleyball, or just take your children to the park and run around with them for a few hours.
Through my years of study in exercise, I’ve learned that your body will adjust to the environment you put it in. So, if you take 3 months off from eating well and exercising regularly, you’re going to leave summer in a much less healthier state than you started.
Don’t do that to yourself. Healthy bodies equal healthy minds! Stay active & use the wonderful weather to your advantage.
For many of us, when we were younger and in school, summer meant one thing: Three. Months. Off.
“Schooooooool’s out for the summer!”
No school and no homework made us happy children. But even this relaxation period at a young age yielded poor results. Learning loss became a legitimate concern during summer.
Q: How much sense does that make?
It’s foolish to think we can semi-ignore responsibilities during the summer, just because they’re not pertinent at the very moment. Instead, you should use this time to work ahead on projects you’re going to undertake in the fall, work on that busted car in your driveway, learn how to use a new software with online tutorials or create monthly expense reports for yourself for the next fiscal year that cater to all areas of your spending. These are all things you need to do anyway, so you might as well use your time wisely and invest it in something that’s already on your radar.
I’ll be the first to admit that some of my summers were wasted away, but this quickly changed when I realized my time was my largest asset.
Yes, summer vacations are sometimes necessary to get the mind refreshed, replenished and rejuvenated, but don’t let them turn into summer-long breaks.
Summer safety is a subject that’s beat over the head time and time again — and rightfully so. Dry climates lead to horrible wild fires in certain areas of the world, child vigilance needs to increase since they’re out and about more, and aqua-related accidents increase due to a higher volume of people soaking in water during these months.
But here are three lesser-discussed safety topics to keep in mind as the season wears on:
Food poisoning: While at a summer picnic, it’s easy to overlook the location of your foods prior to being cooked. Cases of food poisoning are prevalent in the summer. And many times, the culprit is carelessness for the foods you’re eating. So do yourself — and your stomach — a favor and keep the hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Road safety: This topic applies to not only safety behind the wheel, but also when someone else is behind the wheel. First, students being out of school (high school or college) means the volume of drivers on the road will increase. That’s not to say young people are bad drivers, but the sheer uptick in drivers on the road raises your risk of an accident. Second, many families drive to their vacation destinations, meaning there are more fatigued drivers on the road than usual. And lastly, the summer heat tends to be murderous on car engines and tires, so you see a lot more vehicle breakdowns than normal, which can be dangerous to those driving on the highway and those stopping to fix their car.
There’s not much you can do to shield yourself from these added variables, but you can take precautions by:
- Keeping a pair of sunglasses handy to shield you from the sun as you drive and make you more vigilant of traffic and pedestrians.
- Taking short breaks on road trips to combat fatigue.
- Being weary of bicycle riders by pulling out of your driveway slowly and opening car doors with raised awareness.
- Cleaning your car windows. It’s easy to accumulate bug guts on your front windshield during the dry seasons, so make sure your vision out of your car is clear.
- Walking super duper precautiously. Keep in mind that the glare from the sun may be in drivers’ eyes, so it’s more difficult for them to see unexpected things on the road.
Pet Vigilance: It’s cool to take your dog hiking with you. It’s not cool to have them come back with ticks or brushing up against poison ivy. You may think your dog is indestructible, but the last thing you want is to put your pet in harm’s way by being careless. For example, if you have a shaved dog, be sure to cover your pet in sunscreen before taking him to the beach. You should place sunscreen on the nose tips of all dogs when taking them out.
For all pets, you almost want to treat them like children during these next few months: Don’t leave them in your car, hydrate them regularly, shade them from the sun, keep them cool indoors, and don’t overwork them.