The Natural Path

by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND, Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre – 

Ahhh Summer – sunshine, barbecues, events galore, vacation mode. Self-care is a balancing act no matter what time of year, but it can feel especially hard to keep up in the hustle and bustle and break from routine that comes with this season.

If you know me, you know I am a big believer in setting a good foundation for health and in the summertime, it is no different.

Support Your Foundation
• Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids, especially on hot days. A helpful tip is to add a little salt to your water or juice for added electrolytes. Remember to limit sodas and alcoholic beverages as they actually dehydrate rather than hydrate.
• Move Your Body. It may be tempting to lay by the pool all day, but a little walk goes a long way. You may want to adjust your fitness routine to the heat by exercising in the morning or evenings, or taking to the water for a swim.
• Eat Nourishing Foods. Although it is tempting to live on ice cream, barbecue and potato chips in the hot summer months, it is important to keep a balanced diet to fuel our bodies and our adventures. Summer is plentiful with fresh fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of the abundance while also making sure to get plenty of whole grains, protein and healthy fats.

Be Mindful of Sun Exposure
While we want to be sun smart, let’s not forget that sunlight exposure is also an essential part of our physical, mental and emotional health with its support in Vitamin D production.
• Plan Your Time in the Sun Wisely. UV rays are much stronger between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so try to enjoy the sun in the early mornings or late afternoons to receive the benefits with less risk.
• Choose Natural Sunscreen. Look for natural sunscreens as sunscreens with toxic ingredients can disrupt your endocrine system. Many natural sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient as well as other oils that provide moderate SPF levels. Keep in mind that they are not invincible and to take part in other sun protection measures.
• Seek Shade and Cover Up. If you have a full day planned out in the sun, bringing along a beach umbrella and wearing a few lightweight layers supports the flexibility of being able to shield your skin from the sun’s rays whenever you desire.

Tend to Your Nervous System
If you tend to spend your summers full of social gatherings, get togethers and outings, don’t forget to tend to your nervous system and mental and emotional health.
• Create Moments of Calm. A short meditation or breathwork practice can activate the parasympathetic nervous system assisting with our body’s relaxation after a big day of stimulation and energy exertion.
• Walk Barefoot. Being shoeless is an almost effortless way to regulate your nervous system, and especially easy in the summer months when we can walk the sandy beach and we find ourselves out and about more often enjoying the sunshine.

Happy Summer!

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