“Summer Summer Summer time’. If you’re anything like me, summer vacations are a highlight of your year. There is something about having fun in the sun, relaxing outside, and exploring that just hits different. But it also comes with heatwaves, crowds, less productivity, expensive travel options, a terrible diet and just a general lack of self-care with so much going on.
So here are some easy self care ideas to help you enjoy the summer months while taking good care of yourself.
Use All Of Your Vacation Days
Also maximise what vacation days you have available by using weekends and statutory holidays to give yourself longer periods of time. For example, if you’re a 9-5’er, taking a Friday and Monday off gives you 4 days off while using only 2 vacation days. Or Friday to Tuesday would give you 5 days off for 2 days vacation if the Friday or Monday is a bank holiday.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and muscle cramps. If you feel thirsty, drink more water than usual.
- Drink up to around 2 – 2.5 litres of water a day
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere.
- Other Signs of dehydration to watch out for; dry mouth, peeing less than 3 or 4 times a day, darker, strong smell pee), visible fluid retention (swollen legs, feet etc) feeling lightheaded.
Always Bring Sunscreen
If you’re going somewhere sunny, make sure you pack sunscreen. It’s easy to forget about sun protection when you’re packing for a trip, so make sure you have enough SPF 30+ lotion to last through the day.
Reapply the sunscreen often and if you have a fair complexion like me use a higher factor sunscreen.
Wear A Hat
Avoid getting nasty headaches in the hot weather by wearing a hat when you are off exploring outside.
Fluid Retention In The Heat
If you retain fluid in the heat like I sometimes do and find yourself with swollen legs, ankles (cankles) or feet, or experience any puffiness or bloating, these are the best remedies in my experience:
1. Elevate your feet above your heart as much as poss. Sleep with your feet raised.
2. Take diuretics
3. Eat potassium and magnesium-rich foods like tomatoes and leafy veg
4. Reduce your salt intake
5. Eat more protein
6. Walk a lot. It might be uncomfortable or painful but it does help.
And obviously seek medical attention if the symptoms get worse not better no matter what remedies you try, or if you still have fluid retention after a few days.
Protect Yourself From Heat Rashes
Sometimes our skin has an allergic reaction to the sun, especially if we go to a new place we’ve never been to before.
If that happens to you, and you find you have an ugly rash in the heat, cover your skin as much as possible. Also get cream or ointment for it as soon as possible, and try to stay indoors more.
If you stay out in the heat, especially uncovered, it could get progressively worse very very quickly, if you don’t treat it (from personal experience)
Be An Early Riser
Wake up early to do all of the outdoor activities on your list. Temperatures are generally highest in the afternoon, around 3 pm is brutal on a super hot day, so you’ll avoid the hottest times of day if you get up and out early in the morning.
Plus by going to attractions, and scenic places early you can beat some of the summer crowds.
Do Indoor Activities
Whether you’re on vacation, or just enjoying a staycation at home, make the most of indoor activities when it’s really hot outside.
And if you’re visiting somewhere with high temperatures that has lots of outdoor sights, simply break up those activities with galleries, museums, shops and underground tours.
Eat Healthy Foods
In the summer, especially if you travel, diets can get annihilated very quickly with all the delicious foods on offer (ice cream anyone!?). All the eating out, treats, and drinking can all make us sick though.
So just balance out all the ice cream and fast food with some fruit and vegetables. There is fresh produce everywhere in the summertime making it pretty easy to eat healthy.
- Go to local farmers markets if you’re at home
- Order a side serving of salad or fruit with your meal
- Switch out fries for salad occasionally
- Enjoy a fruit smoothie
- Take multi-vitamins
Unplug From Technology
Just like our phones and computers need to be turned off and updated every once in a while, so do we. So take breaks from all of your devices on a regular basis.
It’s one of the easiest and most impactful ways to practice self care for your mental and emotional health. Just try it for an hour or two every week to begin with and see how it feels.
Also try unplugging at least 30-60 minutes before your heading to bed. If you have to just put your phone in another room or far away from the bed so you’re not tempted to look at it.
Take Regular Breaks
Give yourself permission to have afternoon siesta’s, or at least take breaks regularly, when it’s hot outside.
You will be far more productive, and have more energy if you listen to your body when it tells you its tired.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
With so much going on during the summer, it’s easy to have too many late nights and not enough sleep.
Energy levels, health and mood are all really impacted by how much beauty sleep we get, so try to keep a vaguely decent sleep schedule while you’re having fun. Or mix up your late nights with some early ones or the odd lay in.
Don’t Drink & Drive
If you plan to drink alcohol while driving, make sure you designate a sober driver who will take over when you arrive at your destination. Also, never drink and drive. It’s illegal, dangerous, and irresponsible.
Create A Summer Playlist
Read A Book
Put your phone away, and immerse yourself in some great summer reads.
Don’t Drink Too Much
Water intoxication can be just as dangerous as dehydration, and it’s actually easier than you think to drink too much when it’s crazy hot outside and you’re constantly thirsty.
Apparently the maximum we should drink as ladies is 0.8 to 1 litres of water per hour max.
Don’t make the mistake of drinking almost double what you are supposed to as it will make you sick.
Pamper Yourself More
- Paint your nails and/or your toe nails
- Put on a sheet face mask
- Take a long relaxing bath
- Use a hydrating hair mask
- Use a body scrub
Do Something Creative
- Paint or color by numbers for adults
- Learn to draw
- Write a book (or blog posts)
- Upcycle a piece of furniture
- Make something for your home
- Learn to draw (or paint)
Have Relaxed Days With Nothing Planned
If you have a tendency to plan every day and every single thing that you do, try enjoying the odd day with absolutely no plans at all.
Try going to bed sometimes without an alarm set for the morning, or enjoy exploring somewhere with no itinerary set for the day. Your mind and body just needs a rest sometimes so having no plans will help you to relax.
Plan & Schedule Your Self-Care Time
Finally, if self care is something you just REALLY find tough, try scheduling some self care activities into your summer plans.
For example you could try just setting aside a few minutes every day to do something that will make you feel good. Or you could book some specific activities like going for a massage or getting your nails done.
No matter what you do during the summertime, the most important thing is just that you take care of yourself and make yourself a priority.
So whether you are staying home or travelling this summer, I hope these 20 ideas will help you to enjoy the sunshine and practise some self care.
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Gemma Lawrence is the creator of This Brits Life. Born and raised in England, she has been living in British Columbia, Canada as a permanent resident since 2016. A solo traveler for the past 9 years, she hopes to inspire and help others to enjoy solo adventures too. As someone who has always struggled with her self-confidence and mental health, she also shares tips and inspirational stories relating to self-love, self-care, and mental health.