The summer is a terrific time to focus on your personal wellness. Vacations, walks on the beach, hikes in the woods, and time spent outside playing tennis or sharing barbecues with friends and family are all great ways to lower your stress and bolster your physical and mental wellbeing. June is Great Outdoors Month and July is Parks & Recreation Month – why not enjoy outdoor activities in our nation’s parks? Whatever your favorite activity – biking, boating, bird-watching, climbing, hiking, kayaking, fishing, swimming and more – there is a park where you can “do your thing.” Find the right park for you by activity or location.
In the summer, there’s an abundance of healthy food with the availability of delicious, fresh vegetables and fruits. Shopping at local farmers markets can offer a healthy nutritional boost to your diet while also supporting your local community. Plus, they are fun – and farmers can offer great tips for produce preparation and storage. To combine exercise and nutrition, look for “pick your own” farms. July is National Blueberry Month, so load up. At about 80 calories a cup, these little berries pack a nutritional wallop.
Members of ESI EAP have access to many employee wellness benefits. Log in to explore the online Wellness Center or by calling to engage a Wellness Coach for one-to-one help meeting specific nutrition or fitness goals.
Stay safe. Be aware of seasonal hazards
However you choose to pursue summer wellness and enjoy the great outdoors, safety should be paramount. Here are seasonal tips and resources to help you stay safe.
- Keep your eye on the weather and watch out for severe storms. See the National Weather Service on Lightning Safety and Outdoor Sports Activities.
- Check the UV Index in your area. Limiting sun exposure to protect your eyes and your skin is important during daylight hours of summer when UV rays are at their strongest. Learn how to protect yourself from UV rays.
- Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and the importance of staying hydrated in hot weather. Here are tips for staying safe during a heat wave.
- Practice water safety. Healthy Swimming and Recreational Water from the Centers for Disease Control offers great resources on everything water-related, from swimming, boating and pool safety to water-related illnesses and skin cancer prevention. For more, see PoolSafely.gov, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, and the Boating Safety Resource Center from the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Prevent food poisoning by practicing food safety. See the FDA for great tips on Handling Food Safely While Eating Outdoors and our prior post on Tips to store fruits and vegetables for best freshness, flavor & safety.
- Protect against stinging, biting things. Ticks and mosquitoes can transmit serious illnesses. Learn about the insects you should be concerned about and those that are just going about their business: Pest Alert – The Biting and Stinging Insects of Summer.
- Practice biking safety – Kids and Bicycle Safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety and Bicycle Safety: How to Not Get Hit by Cars are both good resources. Helmets are an important way to prevent injuries. See the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.
- For solo adventures, tell someone where you are going. Even experienced hikers and boaters can get lost or run into trouble. Keep a fully charged phone and tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll return. See Hiking Alone: Why it’s so Great and How to Be Safe.