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Summer Self Care

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Good morning, this is your Wellness Wake Up Call with Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition and wellness educator with University of Illinois Extension.

Summer is a great time to focus on self-care, as the warm weather and longer days provide more opportunities for relaxation and activities you enjoy. Here are five things you can do for summer self-care:

  1. Enjoy the Outdoors:
    • Take advantage of the nice weather by engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, biking, or simply going for a walk in the park.
    • Outdoor exercise will not only boost your mood it will also provide an opportunity for Vitamin D synthesis, which is hard to get from diet alone. It is optimal to have sun exposure for 5 to 30 minutes a day, most days a week, without sunscreen. According to the National Institutes of Health, several factors influence vitamin D synthesis, including season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, environmental pollution, melanin content, and use of sun protection. Although guidelines suggest spending time in the sun without sunscreen, it is wise to limit this exposure due to the heightened risk of skin cancer. Ideally, one should spend a brief period (no more than 30 minutes) in the sun for vitamin D synthesis, and then follow up with sun protection.
  2. Protect Your Skin:
    • If you plan on being outside for an extended period of time, make sure you apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. If you choose not to wear sunscreen, you can find sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses for all of your outdoor adventures.
    • Remember to moisturize your skin and choose products free from strong fragrances and dyes. If you get a little too much sun, aloe vera is an excellent option. It’s a natural moisturizer and it hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy feel. It also helps reduce inflammation and redness and is often used to treat minor cuts and burns.

3. Incorporate daily brain breaks:

· Giving your brain a mini vacation is a great way to refresh and rejuvenate your mind. You don’t have to plan a week-long vacation to reap the benefits. Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? Sometimes all the stress from planning and travelling can negate the purpose of your getaway in the first place.

    • Instead, consider setting up a cozy outdoor space at home where you can relax and read, journal, or listen to music. These mini mental vacations can help you reflect, unwind, and relax without leaving town.
  1. Maintain a Healthy Diet:
    • Enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are often fresher and more flavorful during the summer. Farmers markets are the perfect place to find in-season produce plus, you can help support the farmers in your community. Many markets are now accepting WIC and SNAP allowing more people to access fresh fruits and vegetables. Check with your local market or health department for details.
    • Remember to eat light, nutritious meals which help you feel more energized and less sluggish in the heat. Some light meal ideas would include smoothies, salads, and sandwiches. These are 3 of the “5 S’s” we talked about last week during Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month.
  2. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially in the heat. You can also incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and berries. We will be taking a deep dive into hydration and all the drink options later this month so tune in for all of the juicy details!

The 5 self-care ideas outlined today can help you make the most of the summer season and enhance your overall well-being.
This week, incorporate one of these ideas whether creating an outdoor oasis to spend time in or enhancing your skin-care routine.

For a skin soothing recipe with aloe vera and a recording of today’s episode, visit wvik.org/wellness. Or you can subscribe to Wellness Wake-up Call today wherever you listen to podcasts and never miss out on these weekly wellness tips.

Thank you for listening! I hope you have a happy and healthy day ahead. This has been Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition and wellness educator with University of Illinois Extension.

Recipe for Frozen Aloe Vera Cubes (With aloe vera gel)

Pour 16 oz of aloe vera gel into an ice cube tray, either filling the sections completely or leaving them half full for smaller cubes. You can also add a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, to each section. Gently tap the bottom of the tray to compact the gel and freeze for at least two hours. Once frozen, store cubes in a freezer bag and use on sun kissed skin for a cooling sensation and hydration.

Resources:

· Srivastava SB. Vitamin D: Do We Need More Than Sunshine? Am J Lifestyle Med. 2021 Apr 3;15(4):397-401. doi: 10.1177/15598276211005689. PMID: 34366736; PMCID: PMC8299926.

· The International Aloe Science Council

Kristin Bogdonas believes that everyone deserves access to fresh, affordable food and is committed to helping people improve their health literacy. In this digital age it can be difficult to decipher what nutrition information is accurate and what is hype. Connecting people with factual information and evidenced-based programs will help people build the skills and attain the knowledge necessary for positive behavior change. Although nutrition is important for a long and healthy life, one should not overlook the other dimensions of health required for overall wellbeing; physical, mental, emotional, vocational, spiritual, environmental and social. Each dimension impacting the next.