Herbfacts
A road sign saying 'staycation'

10 ways to embrace the summer

Staycations, rather than jetting abroad, may be the new norm this summer but all is not lost.

Editor Jane Garton discovers the benefits to be reaped from long sunny days in the UK.

Get outdoors

A woman hiking outdoors overlooking a sea cliff

Spend as much time as you can outdoors. Fresh air can make all the difference to mood and energy levels. Leave curtains and windows open to let the breeze in and air circulate round the house.

Home pedicure

Close upof a woman's foot giving herself a home pedicure

Brush feet with a loofah to get your circulation going, then rub any rough patches with an exfoliator. Moisturise well, then paint nails in a bright summery colour. Keep feet cool by rubbing with a damp flannel to which you’ve added two drops of tea tree oil.

Cool down

Woman using a face spritz to cool down

Make yourself a cooling spritzer. Mix two drops of peppermint essential oil with three drops of your favourite citrus oil. Pour into a 100ml spray bottle and top up with mineral water. Keep it handy for those heated moments.

Hydrate

A jug of water with fresh fruit in

Drink plenty of water to keep your energy levels up. Being dehydrated by just two per cent of your body’s normal water level can cause fatigue, headaches and reduced concentration. Fed up with plain water?  Pep it up with a slice or lemon or lime or add some frozen berries to keep your drink cold and tasty.

Buy local

A fruit and vge stall at a local farmer's market

Stay in tune with summer and go for locally produced fruit and veg or even grow your own. That way you avoid residues of the chemical fertilisers and pesticides used on conventional crops as well as unhealthy preservatives and food additives. Check out local box schemes online for organic veg supplies.

Go for a swim

Aerial view of a woman swimming

Whether you’re clocking up lengths in the pool or splashing about in the bracing waves, swimming increases stamina, strength and flexibility. It’s also kinder on your body than working out on dry land as water puts minimum pressure on joints.

Take your workout outside

Woman working out outdoors stretching by the sea

It’s easier and more fun to exercise outside, say the experts, so forget the gym and go to the park instead. Try something you have never done before like t’ai chi or get together with some friends and play a game of Frisbee or rounders.

Enjoy the sun

Woman enjoying the sun

Too much time in the sun is not ideal, but a certain amount is very good for you.  It activates vitamin D production in your skin, which is essential for regulating levels of calcium as well as being necessary for strong immunity, blood sugar balance, healthy bones and teeth. 15-20 minutes without sunscreen should do the trick depending on skin colour and sensitivity – then make sure to use sunscreen with at least SPF30 or cover up.

Laughter is the best medicine

Group of female friends laughing and socialising

Make the most of long summer evenings. Get together with friends and family in an outside space (socially distanced of course) and have a good giggle. Laughter is great therapy as it reduces stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.

Keep your immunity up

A range of immune-boosting foods

With covid 19 still a concern, and talk of a second wave, now is a good time to think about taking an immune-boosting supplement. Echinacea and ashwagandha are two herbal options to consider as well as a good quality multivitamin with high levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin D. And try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day as part of a well-balanced diet.

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