How To Stay Healthy-ish These Summer Holidays
Now that summer is upon us, so too is the season of popping the top button. The next three months will bring about long, warm, boozy nights, plenty of fish and chips on the beach and scorching hot days when just leaving the house is an effort – not to mention the holiday parties filling your diary. Staying healthy during the silly season isn’t easy or particularly enjoyable, so we’ve put together a few tips to make it slightly less horrendous.
#1 Engage in some strategic swapsies
We’re not saying don’t indulge – we’re not monsters. But every now and then, it’s worth looking at swapping some of the ‘guilty’ foods for less guilty alternatives. They’re nom and super good for you. Plus, cooking for yourself is a great money-saver that we don’t utilise enough in summer.
Three clever swaps on seasoned favourites include:
– A cauliflower base for pizza (yes, we’re sane, and no, you can’t taste the cauliflower). It’s been dubbed a ‘superfood’ by lots of important people – and when you get it right, the texture is pretty similar to normal pizza.
– Regular potatoes can be subbed for sweet ones, because they’re paleo-friendly, bursting with Vitamin A and you can top them with all manner of condiments and seasonings (think rosemary and sea salt, smoked paprika, or even sea salt, drizzled coconut oil and a bit of cinnamon).
– For dessert, instead of ploughing through ice-cream like an early ’90s kid’s party at Sizzler, make some one-ingredient ‘nice cream’. Literally freeze a few bananas for 4-6 hours and pop them in a blender until creamy and smooth. It’s almost suspicious how one ingredient can have such perfect texture and deliciousness just through the process of freezing. Add some berries. Add coconut. Add nuts. Go nuts.
#2 Designate alcohol-free days
Summer practically demands long afternoon frosty beer and cider sessions, champagne garden parties and all the extravagant cocktails you can possibly dream of. But excess alcohol, would you believe, isn’t particularly conducive to being the picture of health – and while we’d never suggest sacrificing those beautiful balmy evenings spent under a cider-induced haze, exercising moderation is an easy way to have your body thank you.
Have a few alcohol-free days each week, whether that means making yourself the designated driver to ensure you don’t slip up, or doing some summer activities that aren’t related to alcohol. Make a beeline for the mocktails, too – there are some delicious choices out there these days beyond your standard soft drinks. Think elderflower, mint, lime, pomegranate: what they lack in alcohol content, they make up for in Instagrammable fanciness.
#3 Get moving before it gets hot
The thought of heading to the gym or going for a run on a 36-degree day is disgusting and wrong. But all that wining and dining needs balancing, so make sure you get moving in a way that’ll motivate you. Head to the gym/the running trail/the bike path/the pool early in the morning, before the sun pokes its scalding head up from behind the trees and you give up before you’ve even started. Not only will it stop you from overheating and ensure you have a better workout, but forcing yourself to be a ‘morning person’ while the sun’s rising nice and early will keep you alert all day, and that morning session means you’ll head to the pub come 5pm sans guilt.
#4 Keep yourself accountable – and make exercise fun
It is pretty difficult to keep your fitness promises when you’d much rather be at a fancy rooftop bar, on a road trip or reading a book on a Lilo. So make your exercise something you genuinely enjoy – and find someone to hold you accountable by buddying up with a friend or joining a group activity.
#5 Enjoy not being angry at the world
Holidays are great. Summer during the holidays is even better. There’s not much to be angry about – there’s no peak hour traffic because half of every city has buggered off somewhere else, and when it’s warm people are generally in a good mood. Harness this unique time of unbridled cheer and turn it into a thing. You can have your road rage, existential crises and tantrums over a luke-warm double ristretto soon enough. But actively choosing to be positive and happy is not only contagious, it will give overworked minds a break and help you not to sweat the small stuff – which is important because you’ll be sweating enough as it is.
Matilda is a British-Australian-French freelance writer. She has flat-packed IKEA furniture in London and Melbourne, and no idea what’s coming next. She’s written for The Guardian,FasterLouder, mX and Grazia, and really likes hot chocolate.
Lead image: StockSnap