The dog days of summer are here and you know what that means: vacation time! Whether you’re headed for the beaches of Florida or the Colorado Rockies, here are the best tips and tricks for staying healthy while on vacation.
1. Set your work email to “Out of Office”
First things first: get your mindset to “vacation mode.” Before leaving work, set up an out of office reply so you don’t get bogged down with emails while on vacation. Nothing spoils a beautiful day quite like getting a call from your boss! Your coworkers will understand you need time away from your desk, so don’t feel guilty about not answering the phone or replying to an email. Your mental health will be in a much better state if you leave work at work. The same goes for social media!
2. Do your activities in the morning
If you’re planning any outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking or bike riding, consider doing them in the morning. You’ll not only have more energy, but the sun won’t be as strong. The sun's rays are strongest in the afternoon, which means you will be more susceptible to sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. You could also plan activities from 5 pm onwards, like a nighttime hike or sunset boat ride. If you must be outdoors in the heat of the day, wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and find as much shade as possible.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Your body depends on water to survive, especially during a hot summer day. When you're sweating, you lose water that your body needs to function properly. And if you're doing physical exercise, you sweat even more. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty either – it’s better to drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. While sport drinks can be good after an intense workout, they can also contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Try to stick to plain old water and drink soda, juice, coffee and tea in moderation. Jazz up water by adding lemon, lime, mint or cucumber.
4. Lather up the sunblock
Stock up on sunscreen before your trip to prevent sunburn and protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Look for sunscreen that says “broad spectrum “– which protects against both UVA and UVB rays - and choose SPF 30 or higher. If you’re planning on doing a lot of swimming, look for a water-resistant sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapplying every two hours. Don’t forget a lip balm with SPF and a pair of sunglasses too!
5. Beware of bug bites
If your summer vacation entails somewhere hot and humid, chances are you’ll encounter mosquitoes. Mosquito bites can be uncomfortable and itchy, but there is also a more serious threat: mosquitos carry diseases and viruses. To protect yourself, look for an EPA-approved insect repellent with one of the following ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. The CDC recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and making sure screen doors are closed. If you are going camping, purchase a mosquito bed net.
6. Stick to your regular diet
Just because you’re on vacation, don’t throw your regular diet out the window! It’s easy to skip meals while on vacation because you’re hopping from one activity to the next, but skipping meals can lead to overeating. If you’re going out for the day or taking a road trip, make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks like fresh fruit, trail mix and low-fat string cheese. If you’re staying in a vacation rental, plan on cooking a few nights a week. This will not only save you money, but it will also allow you to make healthy and delicious meals. Go ahead and treat yourself to a slice of cake or a cocktail, but remember the golden rule: everything in moderation.
7.Bring a travel health kit
Even if you’re just going away for a quick weekend trip, don’t forget to pack your prescription medication and a first-aid kit. You can either buy a premade kit or stock up on essentials like vitamins, pain relievers, hand sanitizer, bandages, aloe gel and antiseptic wound cleaner.
8. Get enough sleep
Feeling tired and groggy on vacation? Get some sleep! While it’s tempting to veer off your regular nightly routine and stay up until the wee hours, you are not doing your body any favors. Getting enough sleep is essential for our overall health, including our mental health. If you get a good night’s rest, you’ll wake up feeling rested, refreshed and ready to take on another beautiful summer day.
What are your summer vacation plans? Let us know!
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