Studies have found that July is the most popular month for taking a few days off of work or going on a vacation, with AAA reporting that the most recent July 4th weekend broke historical records in terms of summertime travel. Whether you’re enjoying a sunny Friday off or going on a week-long road trip, these self-care tips for your July days off will help restore your spirit, mind, body, and your immune system!
Self-Care Tips for Your Summer Staycation or Vacation
Self-care is a bit of a buzzword these days. And while it may be bandied about casually, self-care is actually a fundamentally important practice for your wellbeing. “It’s so important to make sure you take good care of your body, mind, and soul every day, not just when you get sick,” explains Psychology Today’s psychologists. “Learning how to eat right, reduce stress, exercise regularly, and take a time-out when you need it are touchstones of self-care and can help you stay healthy, happy, and resilient.”
The following suggestions can help get you started, especially if you’re new to the concept of nurturing, caring, and loving yourself. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach — it’s really about what your body and mind need in order to be your strongest, healthiest, and most grounded self. When we engage in a regular self-care habit, we’re better able to respond to stress, tackle life’s greatest challenges and opportunities, and keep our body in a state of wellness so that all of its systems — from your nervous system to your immune system — function optimally.
“No matter what you choose, the goal is to figure out which self-care strategies work best for you, learn how to use these strategies, and implement them in your regular routine so you can boost your well-being not only today but forever,” concludes Psychology Today. Let’s get started!
1. Wake Up Without That Snooze Button
You might think that hitting the snooze button when your morning alarm goes off actually helps you to ease into your day and feel more rested. However, sleep experts warn that using the snooze button is actually bad for your sleep rhythms and can make you feel more tired during the rest of the day. And it’s well-established that sleep is foundational for your immune function, as well as everything else from your mental health to your metabolism and healthy weight maintenance.
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Calculate how much sleep you need
- Set an alarm accordingly
- Get up when your alarm first goes off
- Fling open the blinds to expose yourself to natural light, which helps reset your sleep rhythm and naturally energizes you and tells your body and brain that it’s time to seize the day!
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2. Wash Your Face and Get Dressed
Even if you have a day off, it’s important to practice good hygiene and dress for the occasion. While it may be tempting to lounge around in your pyjamas or skip your morning hygiene routine, these practices are surprisingly core to self-care. “Good hygiene is important for social, medical, and psychological reasons in that it not only reduces the risk of illness, but it also improves the way others view you and how you view yourself,” explains Mental Health America.
And it’s not just about health and vanity. For instance, studies have found that how we dress and see ourselves in the mirror actually affects our energy levels, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth. You don’t have to put on a cocktail dress or a formal dress shirt on your July days off, but getting washed up and dressed confidently helps you put your best foot forward for whatever your summer vacation has to offer.
3. Recognize Your Personal Symptoms and Signs of Stress
As you move through your day, be mindful and self-aware of how your body responds to stress. When stressed, every system in your body — including your nervous system and immune system — are negatively impacted. By being more proactive, you can take steps to soothe your stress response and return to a state of homeostasis (balance) before stress wrecks havoc on your health and well-being.
Everyone responds to stress differently. For example, some people may find their muscles tensing, their jaw aching, and their skin sweating or feeling clammy. Others may find that stress triggers digestive problems (i.e., a stomach ache, nausea, or loss of appetite) or headaches. Know what stress feels like for you personally, then engage in holistic de-stressing strategies like:
- Deep breathing or meditation
- Going for a walk or spending time in nature
4. Nourish Your Body with Healthy Foods
“The food we eat has the potential to either keep us healthy or contribute to weight gain or diseases such as diabetes, but it can also keep our minds working and alert,” reports Psychology Today. “Eating the right foods can help prevent short-term memory loss and inflammation, both of which can have long-term effects on the brain and, in turn, the rest of the body. Some of the most amazing self-care foods include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and brassicas, like broccoli.”
Specifically for self-care in the summertime, strive to incorporate more local, fresh and organic foods from farms near you. You’ll also want to consider self-care supplements, such as magnesium (often referred to as mother nature’s chill pill) and immune supporters like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and BioPro-Plus 500.