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8.11.2011

an apple a day...

We've heard the sayings about how important it is to stay ahead of the game in regards to keeping healthy. In the summertime, we often forget to log 7+ hour nights of sleep, drink even more water than usual, exfoliate and moisturize our skin...daily, keep up the gym routine, keep it under control at happy hour, steer clear of the fatty backyard-BBQ grub, and slather on the sunscreen. There is nothing worse than being sick during the summer when everyone wants you to come play and you wish you had an endless supply of energy- the reality is, you don't. We all get worn down and the key is thinking "prevent" verses thinking "heal" - in other words, take the actions to prevent yourself from getting sick rather than actually getting sick and then having to deal with riding the pine pony for several days. Needless to say, this girl is currently benched in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded. So much on tap for this weekend and I'm now paying the price for not keeping tabs on myself. Thankfully I was able to leave work a couple hours early yesterday, caught some afternoon ZZZ's, laid low all evening, and crushed a solid 8 hour sleep session. I can't say I'm 100% but I am feeling a heck of a lot better than I was yesterday. The unfortunate thing is I will need to probably keep the same lazy routine all weekend if I really want to "get better"- and there are going to be lots of opportunities this weekend to booze, eat junk food, stay up late, wake up early, and roast myself in the sunshine. At the end of the day, you get from yourself what you put in- so making a few sacrifices now will save you a big headache- literally- down the road.
 
1. Hydrate! The summertime means long days on the beach and late nights at the bar. Alcohol and caffeine are known for their dehydrating effects- and of course, Mr. Sunshine does us no favors in that department either. Water is obviously the best beverage, but it can get totally boring after awhile. Spice it up with a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber. Try adding 1 freshly squeezed lemon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup + a couple shakes of cayenne pepper (I got this recipe from a liver cleanses diet I read about a couple years ago, but it's still a tasty treat for regular use). If you really can't stand water, try a decaffeinated tea, watered down lemonade or OJ. Most "premixed" drinks are loaded with sugar and ingredients you can't pronounce- If you must opt for one of these options, drink it out of a glass and mix it with 1-2 cups of water. That will dilute the flavor of course, but it also means you will end up drinking more. I actually can't drink regular orange juice by the glass anymore- I have to add water because it's too sweet and strong for my taste buds. It's all about training yourself to create good habits. Try to avoid iced coffee (read: caffeine, sugar, creamer) when you can, but I'm the first to admit it's my favorite afternoon treat on a hot day. Same with soda and energy drinks- processed, unnatural blah blah is not good for your body! When it come's to booze on the beach; you may want to think again. Being out in the sunshine all day sucks the energy right out of you, not to mention how dehydrating it is to be sweating for several hours straight. If you do opt for an afternoon booze cruise, make sure you drink enough water to offset the alcohol's dehydrating effects.

2. ZZZZ- It's often difficult in the summer to log the same type of sleep that you get during a long winters night. Either the AC is blaring or your bedroom feels like a sauna. Plus the sunshine creeps in your windows much earlier in the morning and keeps you awake later in the evening. Keep in mind the importance of good slumber- 7 to 8 hours a night is a good aim, knowing full well you won't hit those all week long. Summer usually means hot summah nights out on the town which can easily catch up to you during the bluesy workweek. The important thing is just to keep yourself in check- if you were out hard 3 nights in a row it may be time for a couple detox nights. Being smart is the most important part- be in tune with how you feel and what your body is saying.

3. Exercise- Keep.Your.Routine! It's so easy to slip up on your usual AM run because you can't peel yourself out of bed, or pass up your post-work gym session because you want to meet your friends for drinks downtown. It's hard to say no, which is why I have kept myself on track by opting for a morning workout routine, and refusing to skip! Work hard, play hard. I luckily have a couple lady friends who belong to the same gym as me, and the thought of leaving one of them high and dry when I said I'd be there isn't worth the extra hour of shut eye. If I'm really that exhausted then it means I haven't been getting the proper sleep that my body needs!

4. Your Outer Shell- It's the first thing people see when you walk into a room. It's what you wake up to every morning when you look in the mirror. It should be your sanctuary- you should treat it with respect and take care of it. Being lazy now is only going to slow you down down the road. Load on the sunscreen! Slacking on your SPF is the easiest way to be in serious pain later on. Save yourself the hassle of peeling, itchy, and painful skin and prepare yourself in the morning to be ready for whatever the day may bring- how many times does going to the beach for an hour turn into several plus a ride on a friends boat or stroll on the bike path. Things come up so it's better to have all your supplies applied prior to take-off. Keep in mind the sweat and grime that gets into your facial pores when you are out in the sun or at the gym. Make facial appointments every other month if you have it in the budget to do so, and if not, make sure you invest in a good exfoliate to use weekly to wash away the dead skin, dirt, and oil that infests your pores.

Sickness doesn't care what season it is or what your big plans for the weekend are. The only way to truly insure you aren't going to get sick at the most inopportune time is to listen to your body and take the appropriate preventative measures before sickness strikes. Just because your best friend can booze 6 days straight and still look and feel like a rock star or your boyfriend can spend hours in the sun without getting burned doesn't mean you can. Pride yourself on your individuality and learn to know the ins and outs of keeping yourself healthy and happy.

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