I’m sure you guys have (at some point) heard someone say they were getting their ‘summer bod’ ready. Well, as a physician, it’s my job to make sure you are staying healthy year round. That being said, being healthy doesn’t just mean you are exercising from time to time, or eating right – it also has to do with how you treat yourself mentally and emotionally. I put this post together to give you all a few of my best tips for making sure you are not only staying healthy, but also staying happy this summer.
1. Set Goals for Yourself
The best advice I can give when it comes to staying on track is to set goals for yourself. These can be anything from how often you’d like to go for a run, how many times a week you want to cook at home, or how much weight you want to be able to lift at the gym.
Setting goals will help keep you accountable, and will make you feel so much better about it when you achieve them. Give yourself a time frame of when you’d like to reach your goals by. BUT don’t set too many goals at once, it will only make you feel discouraged if you don’t attain them.
2. Make Good Food Choices
I always encourage patients to cook for themselves at home because it’s much easier to eat healthy when you know what you are putting in your food. It’s obviously not as easy to eat “healthy” when eating out. And lets face it, between summer vacations, BBQs, and just plain life, we need to make a conscious effort to watch what we eat.
Some advice that I often tell people is to try to be more mindful when eating out. Pat attention to what you are ordering and the foods you are choosing; I usually try to go for foods that are higher in fiber (salads with clear dressings), and I avoid fried items, or things that are high in sodium (salt) or fat content (like cream sauces).
3. Do Things You Enjoy
We are all so busy working year round, that we sometimes forget to set time aside for us to have fun. I fully believe in the importance of work-life balance, especially to avoid burnout.
For me, this means being around water (going on a boat, or going to the beach), or some form of activities (my new favorite bar is full of arcade games, but I also love bowling, bike riding, etc). Whatever it is that you enjoy – just make sure you are fitting fun into your schedule as well.
Aside from doing things that you enjoy, I also believe it’s important to find time to relax your body and your mind. I will usually take a nice hot bath to unwind at the end of a long day. Some people use yoga to relax, but there are apps like “Calm” and “Headspace,” which are good ways of meditating and clearing your mind too.
Find something that makes you feel relaxed, and try to do it once a day if possible.
5. Stay Hydrated
I don’t know about where you live, but summers in Florida are hottt. There are plenty of negative effects of dehydration that we can easily avoid by making sure we are drinking enough water throughout the day. I usually recommend 4-5 full (17 oz) water bottles, but this is something that should be discussed with your PCP if you have any other known medical conditions. (more on this to come!)
I hope these tips are helpful to you guys, and if you have any specific questions for me, my doors are always wide open. Stay healthy, and stay safe this summer (and always).