With longer days of sunshine and plentiful outdoor activities, summer can be an invigorating time of year, especially in Austin. We all want to take advantage of these few months of fun, yet it’s easy to get overheated, sunburned, bug-bitten and just plain worn out. Here’s some simple tips and product favorites to help you breeze through the heat and conquer summer like a pro!
While it may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to stay hydrated and make sure you replace the minerals you’re losing. One of the most common reasons for feeling particularly run-down under the sun can be the loss of electrolytes that happens due to increased sweating. An easy way to replenish electrolytes is to drink coconut water which is packed with essential minerals. Alternately, you can take Trace Minerals by Trace Mineral Research. Trace Minerals can be taken every day in a tablet form or by mixing a flavorful packet into some water.
Sunshine has many benefits, but heat from the sun’s rays can contribute to overheating. Wearing a hat and spending time in the shade when it’s hot can help. Folks in Texas also want to guard against UV rays for skin health. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and consider a good natural sunscreen for places that aren’t covered. Look for the special Environmental Working Group Top Rated Sunscreen tags we’ve added to the extra-clean picks in all of our Peoples locations. A particular favorite is the All Terrain KidSport Lotion.
Chinese Medicine says that overheating can be due to an invasion of “Summer Heat,” recognized as a pathogen that causes damage and needs to be treated, just like catching a cold in the winter. Summer Heat can be prevented by consuming cooling foods and drinks, such as watermelon, Peppermint Tea by Traditional Medicinals, celery juice, eggplant, cucumber, grapefruit and strawberries. You can also build your body’s resistance with acupuncture at one of our two Peoples Wellness Centers.
Many traditional medicines say that summer is the time of fire. It’s easy to feel hot and irritable during this time, even when we don’t know why. One ancient strategy is to use a cooling body oil on a daily basis. A Peoples favorite is the Pitta Ayurvedic Herbal Body & Massage Oil by Sarada. (Pitta is the fiery dosha in Indian Medicine!)
Other tips for staying comfortable in the heat include using a good bug repellant. Lotion-based natural ones, like All Terrain Herbal Armor, soak in a lot better and need to be reapplied much less frequently. Keeping an herbal salve on hand for mosquito bites is also a good idea. Check out EZ Herbs’ Scratch No More Salve by local herbalist Ellen Zimmerman, which uses chickweed to stop the itch and lavender to soothe.
Finally, remember that in modern-day Texas we have a special concern that wasn’t a problem for our ancestors: air conditioning! While this modern convenience is a pleasure when temperatures climb, sitting directly next to or under fans and air conditioning can cause shoulders and necks to tighten. The shock from the cold wind may even cause our immune systems to temporarily drop. Protect yourself by carrying a sweater or scarf with you when you know you will be exposed to these “wind devices.” Don’t sit with your back and neck or face directly by them and cover your neck with a sheet if lying in bed under a ceiling fan.
We hope you enjoy your summer in this very special piece of the world where we are fortunate to have plenty of access to nature. Let Peoples help support you and your family so everyone can have fun, even in the heat. The Hill Country awaits!
by Leila Plummer, Wellness Specialist