May 29, 2017
With the summer season officially kicked off this Memorial Day weekend, many of us are already enjoying the first of many jam-packed party weekends – followed by busy workweeks, and then more weekend parties..
The cycle is bound to continue for the next three months, so it is important to know what you can do to avoid burnout. So here's five commandments to preserve your mental and physical health this summer. Remember, self-preservation is key to lifelong happiness and longevity and if you don’t do it for yourself, no one else will.
From weekend barbecues to birthday parties, summer social calendars can fill up quickly. It is important to be mindful of what events you agree to attend to avoid overcommitting.
How many times have you agreed to do something, and when push comes to shove, you wonder why you ever said you would go in the first place?
The lesson here is to stop instinctively saying you will go to everything. Keep a tight calendar. Plan to have enough free time to be with the people you want to be with and do the things you want to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Learn to politely decline, and send a gift if you feel it is appropriate.
It can be so easy to give into temptation when it comes to eating at other people’s houses or events. It is important not to let all of the party goodies derail the hard work that you have put in to achieving a summer body.
You can still treat yourself, just be sure not to go overboard. For example, maybe you are really craving a burger and also spot your favorite cake from across the room. Ditch the bun on the burger and have a small slice of cake. As a rule of thumb, I steer clear of potato or any other mayonnaise-based salads at parties, not only for obvious health reasons, but also for the fact that they have most likely been sitting out unrefrigerated for an extended period of time.
Your best bet, eat a little bit of something healthy at home so you don’t show up to the event ravenous and end up feeling guilty for what you have eaten. Once you are there, remind yourself that balance is key and it will be easier to treat yourself in moderation.
It is no secret that alcohol and summer parties go hand in hand. If you are someone who enjoys a summer cocktail, you can have your drink, and drink it, too. Just be sure to watch what you are drinking. Very sugary drinks not only add empty calories to your daily consumption, they can also cause headaches that intensify hangovers.
Similarly, drinking too much beer can leave you feeling swollen and bloated. Find a happy medium with a drink that will leave you feeling less guilty. Instead of a vodka and cranberry or orange, try a vodka club or a vodka club with a splash of your preferred juice. For instance, I love a splash of pineapple in my summer drinks, but I don’t need a lot to get the flavor I am looking for. Or buy a better quality wine and drink it slowly, savoring the taste instead of slugging it.
Whatever you drink, don’t forget that you must stay hydrated. Water is the great equalizer so try to keep drinking water before, after and even while you are consuming alcohol.
It is widely believed that people who eat the same things regularly have more consistent and healthier body weights and with all of the unpredictability on the summer weekends, it is nice to have a weekly routine that you can count on. Plan your meals and stick to them.
For breakfast, make egg whites and vegetables. If you are pressed for time, grab a Greek yogurt or make a few overnight oat cups on Sunday and store all week long. For a mid-morning snack, have a piece of fruit like grapefruit. For lunch, I love a salad packed with veggies and usually pick up a few early in the week from Snap Kitchen or Trader Joe’s to save myself time and make packing lunch a breeze.
A good afternoon, pre-dinner snack could be cut veggies with hummus or a handful of nuts. Dinner could be a lean cut of meat or fish and vegetables.
Think about eating for fuel and don’t let yourself get so hungry that you eat mindlessly.
The most important thing you can do for your mental and physical health is to get moving and stay active. Walk everywhere you can, ride your bike, go for a swim to make sure that you are keeping your energy and metabolism up over the weekend, even if you don’t feel like going to the gym.
Stick to your regular workout schedule during the week to keep yourself on track. If you are having difficulty or are in a rut, try something new. If all else fails, lace up your sneakers and go for a walk for 30 minutes a day to get your heart rate up. You will not only feel better throughout the day, you will sleep better at night. A better night’s rest can be just the thing you need to keep yourself feeling balanced through all of the noise and distractions that life can throw your way.
I hope you find these tips to achieving better balance in your summer as helpful as I have. You must keep in mind that no one is perfect and we will all slip up from time to time. How you come back from slipping up is what defines many of us so feel confident knowing that you have a plan when life throws a curveball.
• • •
Please feel free to share your stories here. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.