With Memorial Day this weekend, the joys of summer are now official! Yay! I love summer most of all. But the season is not without its risks. Here are my top 10 tips for staying healthy during the most wonderful season of the year.
1. Avoid firecrackers. Seriously, they stink up the air, disrupt a good night’s sleep, burn people’s fingers, and might just poke your eye out.
2. Keep your pool secure and kids safe. Unfortunately, more kids die from drowning than from guns. Don’t let anyone dive in shallow water or play stupid games that put anyone at risk. Keep a fence around any pool, and keep it closed and locked. Also, make sure you wear flip-flops in public showers, and at public pools and swimming holes. Apparently MRSA is rampant these days and starting to infect people’s feet.
3. Get some sun, but not too much. Many sunscreens are toxic for your body and for the environment—especially when worn at the beach (sunscreens pollute and poison coral reefs and marine life). And we all need our vitamin D and our sun therapy. I like to go out in the morning from 9 to 10:30, then again after 3. That way, I don’t usually need sunscreen. When you absolutely must use it, one of the least toxic brands on the market, according to the Environmental Working Group is Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, available at my store. If you are going to be out at all during midday, wear a hat and long sleeves—or, as Japanese women traditionally do, carry a pretty parasol!
4. Limit the number of funnel cakes you eat. Better yet, share freely. I don’t know about you, but for my family, summer is festival time. And it’s hard not to eat all the yummy crap that’s always around. If like me you must take a taste, share it with as many people as possible, so you don’t eat the whole thing and then feel sick and disgusted with yourself afterwards.
5. Check for ticks. Even though spring and fall are the peak tick times, in the summer, the little guys will still get ya. Make certain you and your family check one another daily, all over, to make sure ticks haven’t latched on anywhere. If you find one, drown it in a jar of rubbing alcohol.
6. Don’t spray anything, anywhere, unless it’s with the hose. Avoid all chemical bug sprays, pesticides, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. There are so many things wrong and unhealthy with them that you can’t even imagine. To keep mosquitoes at bay, remove any standing water, and create a habitat for bats. To fertilize lawns and gardens, use compost.
7. Take a vacation. People who take vacations are healthier and live longer than people who don’t. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. In fact, camping can be rather fun and low-cost. Just do it.
8. Go to a farmer’s market and eat what’s fresh. You always read that to be healthy you have to eat your fruits and vegetables. Now you have no excuse. Find your local farmer’s market and buy direct from the farmers: fresh, local, in season, and (hopefully) organic, or at least chemical-free. It will be hard to go back to eating supermarket stuff after you get used to the delicious taste of fresh and local organic fruits and vegetables.
9. Turn off the air-conditioning. This is just a pet peeve of mine. I personally don’t care for air-conditioning (although it comes in handy at work). So many times people just turn it on even though the air is fresh and clean and sweet if you just open the window. Opening up windows keeps fresh air circulating in your house and also saves energy and money.
10. Move it. How many times do we need to be told to exercise? Obviously, many, many times. Summertime is the best time, though, to get our bodies moving. Ride bikes (wear helmets), go for walks, swim, play games outside with your kids. Whatever it takes, get it done. You will feel healthier and happier as a result!