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My first book was Staying Healthy with the Seasons in which I first presented my ideas on the importance of attuning our lifestyle to the seasonal cycles as a key to getting and staying healthy. In the 40 years since I wrote the book I have become even more convinced of the value of this approach, which integrates Natural, Eastern and Western Medicines for optimal health.
Here are my 10 TIPS for Staying Healthy in Summer
1. Stay Cool and Hydrated
Drink plenty of water, at least two to four cups (16– 32 ounces) upon rising, and similar amounts if you are going out for activities and exercise. Carry water with you in a hard plastic container (with stainless steel lining or a stable polycarbonate rather than polyethylene that can leach more plastic chemicals into the water). You may also use a traveling water filter. Check your local water stores or the Internet. Most people need two to three quarts of liquid per day, especially in hot weather or with sweating and exercise. (16 oz = 1 pint / 32 oz. = 1 quart).
2. Enjoy the Sun and Outdoors
Remember to protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and using natural sunscreens without excessive chemicals. Carry Aloe Vera gel for overexposure and have an aloe plant growing in your home for any kind of burn. The cooling and healing gel inside the leaves will soothe any sunburn. It works great.
3. Keep Up or Begin An Exercise Program.
Aerobic activity is important for keeping the heart strong and healthy. If you only work out in a health club, take some time to do outdoor refreshing activities—hiking, biking, swimming, or tennis. Reconnecting with these activities can help keep your body and mind aligned.
4. Enjoy Nature’s Bounty
Enjoy as the many fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables at their organic best. Consuming foods that are cooling and light— fresh fruits, vegetable juices, raw vital salads, and lots of water—will nourish your body for summertime activities. Include some protein with one or two meals. There are a number of light, nourishing proteins that don’t require cooking. Most of these complement fruits and vegetables nicely and include nuts, seeds,sprouted beans, soy products, yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese. Fish and poultry can also be eaten.
5. Engage in some Special Summertime Activities.
with your family, kids, and friends who share the enjoyment of outdoors. Plan a fun trip if you’re able and motivated for a day or longer—hiking in the wild, camping, playing at the river, or a few days resting at the ocean. Rekindling your Earth connection has benefits that last beyond this season, continuing to enrich the whole of your life.
6. Relax and Breathe.
You’ve been working hard, so take some space to enjoy yourself and appreciate nature. This is the season to slow the pace a bit and absorb the light that stimulates your hormonal message center. Leave your cell phone at home or take a week off from TV. In many European countries, most of the population has a month off during the summer.
7. Sun Teas are Wonderfully Refreshing.
Use flowers and leaves (or tea bags) in a clear half- or one-gallon glass jar filled with spring water. Hibiscus or red clover flowers, peppermint, chamomile, or lemon grass are all good choices, or use your local herbs and flowers that you learn are safe, flavorful, and even medicinal. Leave in the sun for two hours or up to a whole day. Moon teas can also be made to enhance your lunar, dreamy side by letting your herbs steep in the cooling, mystical moonlight. Add a little orange or lemon peel, or a sprig of rosemary and a few jasmine flowers.
8. Nutritional Supplements and Herbs
These can support you with a greater amount of physical energy, enhancing your summer activities. The B-complex vitamins are calming to the nervous system and helpful for cellular energy production, while vitamin C and the other antioxidants protect your body from stress, chemical pollutants, and the biochemical by-products of exercise. Helpful summer herbs are Siberian ginseng as an energy tonic and stress protector, dong quai as a tonic for women, hawthorn berry is good for the heart, and licorice root will help energy balance and digestion.
9. Use The Summer Months To Deepen Spiritual Awakening.
Begin by checking your local bookstore or the web for ideas that interest you. Plan a vacation that incorporates these new interests and provides you time to read, relax, contemplate, and breathe. Try a yoga class or mindfulness or meditation training, or re-engage with quieting activities that you have learned in the past.
10. Above all, give yourself the Time to Truly Experience Nature.
This can happen, even in a city park, if you relax and let in your surroundings. When traveling, take activities for the family and your first aid kit for bites, bee stings, and injuries. Check for ticks after your hikes. Watch for overexposure, take time in the shade, and drink your water.
Stay Healthy – Dr. Elson
Integrative Family Medicine Physician, Author and Educator