Summer has always been my least favorite season. I know, I’m weird. Most people tend to love the heat and sun but I’ve never been able to handle the heat very well. It drains what little energy I have and I burn to a bright pink in record breaking time.
So why did I use exclamation points when I announced it was summer? I’ve learned a few things over the years that have made summer more enjoyable and I’d love to share them with you.
11 Summer Self-Care Tips for the Chronically Ill
- Stay hydrated. By the time you feel thirsty you’re already starting to dehydrate. Infuse water with fruit for a tastier version or eat foods containing lots of water like watermelon or cucumbers.
- Use your air conditioner and fans. Don’t worry if the neighbors haven’t started using there’s yet – there is no award for toughing it out in a sweltering house. Be sure you’re comfortable. if you don’t have an air conditioner and it’s getting too toasty at home you can go sit at a coffee shop with a good book and enjoy their air for a bit.
- Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes. This is one of the keys for avoiding heat stroke in the summer according to the Mayo Clinic. Dark colored clothes will absorb the heat and increase your risk of heat stroke.
- Create a summer bucket list. Make a list of a few things you’d like to see or do this summer. That way, if you wake up feeling like you could handle a short outing you have a list ready to go and you don’t spend precious energy on searching and deciding what you’ll do that day. All that days energy can go right into your bucket list item. Taking time to play is so essential for your over-all well-being. Find out where your community posts the local events – you might find nights where they have music in the park or other similar things you might enjoy.
- Take technology breaks. When you’re chronically ill you tend to spend quite a bit of time on your computer, tablet or smart phone. Be sure to turn off the screens and allow yourself to get outside and breathe some fresh air and soak in some sunlight! If you’re unable to get out of bed, ask a family member or friend to place a hanging basket, hummingbird feeder or flower pot outside your window so you can enjoy the colors and the birds that come to visit.
- Go sit by a lake or some body of water for a while – even if it’s a swimming pool in your backyard. Watching the ripples across the top of the water and the movement of the waves will bring a calming effect to your mind, body and your soul. While you’re there, take a few moments to thank God for the amazing creativity He used when He created our world!
- Eat seasonal foods. It’s great for your body when you eat local seasonal foods. Enjoy fresh fruits as your dessert and benefit from the nutritional values they bring. Nothing says summer like a big bowl of fruit or veggie salad for lunch!
- Read a great book. If you normally spend quite a bit of time reading non-fiction or medically based articles try grabbing a great fiction book and get lost in a story. Take it with you to the water’s edge or your backyard and double up on the relaxation!
- Find a new summer recipe to enjoy. This turkey burger from Joy Bauer’s website is phenomenal. I’m sure I’ve shared it before. When I’m having a good day I’ll make a triple batch of these babies. They freeze really well and can be heated back up in the microwave in 35 seconds!
- Pack your car. Throw a few things in your car so you’re ready for anything. A few things to include: A jacket or throw blanket – yes, for summer. If you go to visit a friend or relative that keeps their air at the Igloo setting you’ll be prepared! A folding camping chair – if you’re out for a drive and your family decided to stop somewhere you’ll be able to sit and conserve your energy. A few snacks – toss a bottle of water and a protein/granola bar in an insulated bag. You can grab ice at a gas station while you’re out to keep the beverages cool. A hat and sunglasses – I never remember to grab these items until I’m out and having to shade my eyes with my hand. Grab a cheap pair and toss them in your car. Sunblock – I know, that one goes without saying.
- Maintain a self-care attitude. Give yourself a break, don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Listening to your body and doing the things that are best for your symptoms will give you the best possible summer!
Your turn to share! What’s your favorite self-care tip for summer?