With summer comes lots of daylight, a little more time to enjoy the outdoors, and hopefully, some vacation time. Whether you’re spending two weeks away from work or trying to cobble together two days off in a row this summer, use this fleeting season to take care of you.

1.Enjoy the Harvest

Summer’s plentiful fruits and vegetables make eating healthier a breeze. Do your best to get a colorful array of produce into your diet, but don’t obsess over how much you’re getting. Look at your total intake over a week, not a couple of days. All those salads, bowls of watermelon, and stir fry dinners really add up. Even fresh strawberry shortcake holds promise!

2. Take in the Sun (Carefully)

Leaving winter’s darkness behind is a relief and all that extra daylight is a bonus for anyone who likes to be outside. But with more time in the sunshine comes a real need to be careful about getting too much sun. Even if you aren’t spending days at the beach, being out in the stronger sun while you’re running errands, driving on long road trips (or even to work), and just barbeque hopping can all add hours of unexpected exposure.

You might not even realize how much skin-damaging sun you’re getting. To be safe, put on a coat of sunscreen every morning. Don’t worry about smelling like a tropical island or being sticky with lotion—there are lots of regular body lotions with a built in sunscreen that won’t make you smell like coconuts.

3. Get Some Rest

The lazy days of summer can be a myth. There are lots of places to go, parties to attend, and friends and family stopping by. With all that activity, it might seem like you get less and less sleep during the summer months. Even if you’re staying up late for fun or getting up early to exercise with the sunrise, keep track of how your body feels. Nurses work hard and you need to get adequate rest to be your best at work and to feel good on your own time, too.

Eight hours of sleep might not be possible—no one will dispute that. So if you can’t get enough sleep every night, take advantage of down time to rest when you can. A 15-minute break to read, listen to music, or just close your eyes can do wonders for your health and your mood.

4. Get Out There

Summer brings more people into your life. You might meet new neighbors at a block party or new coworkers at a work event. Standing in an endless line for a rollercoaster gives you lots of time to chat with someone nearby, and so does a crowded beach.

Take the time to notice the people around you. Everyone has a story and learning about others is a great way to gain a new perspective on your life. You never know how one interesting encounter can lead to a new career opportunity, a new hobby, or a new turn in your path.

5. Move More

You don’t have to run your first marathon, but moving more in the summer just feels good. A new and ambitious exercise plan is ideal, but not many people can or are willing to stick with that. Just get out and stroll your downtown. Walk the dog in a new place. Stretch in the morning and at night. Lift a few weights while catching up on all those movies you’ve missed. Rollerblade or roller skate with the kids. Shoot some hoops in the driveway or at the local park. Swim. Just move a little more than you normally do.

6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s much easier to live with what feels comfortable to you, but summer is a great time to try something new. Go to a concert that’s nothing like your regular playlist. Read a new genre or try reading different blogs. Learn enough of a new language to get by if you travel. Sign up for a class to get a new certification and connect with other nurses. Go to a seminar about one of your hobbies and talk to new people. Paint a room in your house a new color.

Part of making great summer memories is the things you do that give you unexpected joy.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

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