7 Simple Shifts for Your Healthiest, Most Balanced Summer

Written by Annie Daly

Image by Getty Images

What's not to love about summer's gorgeous beach days, delicious seasonal fruits and veggies, and spending long weekends relaxing? It's the perfect time to chill out and reset our body. 

But the sunny season's also notorious for thwarting some of our best intentions to stay health-minded—especially with all those rosé-all-day invites landing in our inbox. The trick to making it work? Lean into the little tweaks. These simple shifts don't take a ton of effort, but they'll definitely keep you feeling healthy and balanced all season long: 

1. Plan at least one outdoor activity each weekend. 

There's an emerging body of research that suggests that hitting the beach or going for a hike on a beautiful summer weekend isn't just fun—it's also unbelievably good for your health. Spending just two hours per week soaking up nature could be enough to increase your health and well-being, both mentally and physically, according to one of the latest studies, published in the journal Scientific Reports. Doing anything outside this summer, whether it's hitting the beach, going camping in the woods, or even just heading for a walk in the park, is ace for your body and soul. It gets you out of your fast-paced digital life and into the relaxing beauty of the great wide-open—and that's truly all you need.  

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2. Drink cleaner, better-tasting water (and more of it!). 

Dehydration—which is of particular concern in the heat—negatively affects cognitive function (think struggles with short-term memory and mood) as well as physiological function, like decreased motivation and endurance, according to a paper published in Nutrition Reviews. And we can reach that point pretty quickly: The human body is made up of 60% water, and research from the University of Connecticut, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that when you lose even 1.5% of that supply—thanks to higher temperatures, exercise, and more—you could start to reach a point of mild dehydration.

To be sure you're drinking the best water possible throughout the season, install a PUR Faucet Filtration System on your kitchen sink (no tools required). Certified to reduce more than 70 contaminants from your tap water, a PUR system will keep cleaner water flowing for you this summer. Plus, its crisp, refreshing taste will inspire you to sip more of it, which, in turn, will help you feel even better. A wonderful little cycle!

Image by PUR

3. Perfect the art of the berry dessert. 

Technically, you can and should be eating berries all year round; they have loads of health benefits, and you can get them frozen in most grocery stores. But berries are in season during the summer, which means they have more antioxidants, and they're more delicious, too. Your *berry* important advice: Take advantage of the seasonal bounty and go huge! We're talking berry smoothies for breakfast, berry snacks, and even—no, especially—berry desserts. Just be sure to rinse fresh berries under filtered water before you eat them. May we suggest this delicious chia blueberry almond tiramisu to get you started? 

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4. Soak up some sun in the morning. 

Because the sun rises earlier in the summer than it does throughout the rest of the year, you can get a jump on getting your daily dose of vitamin D. In fact, multiple studies like this one, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, have shown that morning sun in particular can help reset your circadian rhythms, so you feel more energetic during the day and sleep better at night. If you're a morning workout person, you may already be out there hitting the pavement at 7 a.m. But if you're not, consider switching up your fitness routine to incorporate an a.m. sweat session—or at least going out for a peaceful, sunny morning stroll before the busyness of the day begins.

Image by Getty Images

5. But stay sun safe when you leave the house. 

Sun protection is always crucial, but it's especially so during long, summer days, when the sun is at its strongest. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen before you leave the house; SPF 30 or higher is best. If you can't seem to remember to put it on, try getting a moisturizer with sunscreen built in so that you don't even have to think about it. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are a must, too, which shouldn't be a problem, as there are tons of cute options out there these days.  

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6. Don't get "sun guilty." 

After being cooped up all winter, it's tempting to want to get outside and take advantage of every possible moment in the sun. But while that's certainly a noble cause, you may want to reconsider if it's an especially hot day. Heat stress—which occurs when your body absorbs too much heat—can actually slow down your brain, making you feel a bit slothy, like it's harder to do your everyday tasks, finds research from Harvard University, published in the journal PLOS Medicine. Put your "sun guilt" aside and stay inside on especially brutal days. If you can't avoid the heat, be sure to drink tons and tons of water (see: your PUR Faucet Filtration System), and seek shade wherever possible.

7. Get out into the world. 

Traveling throughout the year is always a good idea, but there's a relaxed office vibe during the summer months that makes it even more enjoyable—especially if your company offers Summer Fridays. Travel in general is great for your mental well-being: Multiple studies have documented its myriad mental health benefits, from increased creativity to feeling more open and humble. And a new body of research out of the U.K. has even found that being near water makes us happier. So book that summer getaway ASAP—your body, mind, and soul will thank you. 

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