Finals are coming to a close, allergies are in full force and you're building finally switched to air conditioning.
It's official: Summer is on its way.
Summertime is good for more than just sunshine and days at the pool; it's also a great time of year to adopt some healthy habits.
If you're trying to look your best this bathing suit season, one of the easiest ways to achieve that goal is to work on feeling your best. When we feel good on the inside, we look good on the outside; it's science.
Here are six tips to be your healthiest self this summer:
1. Drink more water.
Water is so important for our bodies. Most of your body is composed of water; around 60 percent of your overall weight is due to H20.
That's why even mild dehydration can leave you feeling tired, drained and lethargic. The Institute of Medicine suggests men should drink around 13 cups of water each day and women should consume around nine. In the summer, when we're exercising and sweating, that number goes up.
In short, do yourself a favor and drink more water. It will keep your skin clean, flush out toxins and leave you feeling energized.
2. Wear sunscreen (all the time).
Sunscreen isn't just for the beach or when you're laying out to tan. Whenever you're outdoors, the sun is potentially damaging your skin. Guess what else? Research has found that up to 90 percent of visible aging is due to sun exposure, not age.
Before heading outside, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends lathering on SPF 30. Luckily, many makeup and skincare products already include SPF; just be sure to check the label to see how much protection your products offer. And, don't forget to reapply! Wolverine agrees.
3. Try new fruits and vegetables; so many are in season!
Your mom was right. Fruits and vegetables are important aspects of a healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.
Summer is the perfect time of year to start branching out and trying new produce (hint: produce also tends to be high in water content! It's a win-win.)
Apricots, avocados, berries, chard, green beans, mangos and tons of other fruits and vegetables hit their peak season sometime in the summer, depending on where you live.
Check out your local farmer's market and pick up whatever looks good. You might be surprised by what you find.
4. Spend at least 20 minutes a day outside.
There is something about sunshine and nature that can make our moods instantly improve. Forget that cup of afternoon coffee; going outside might have the ability to wake you up even more. Recent studies have found spending time in nature is linked with increased energy, a stronger sense of wellbeing and general happiness.
To increase your outdoor time time, try eating lunch outside rather than at your desk. Walk or bike to work. You can even spend an afternoon sitting on the patio, just taking in the scenery.
5. Smile at strangers.
Smiling has a positive effect on your mood, lowers stress, decreases anxiety and even releases endorphins. When you smile at others, you make their days a little brighter, too.
Whenever you're out and about, try to spread a little positivity with your smile. It's a simple gesture that can radically transform your day.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and everything is in bloom. There really isn't a reason for you not to smile. Try it for a day, and see how it feels.
6. Check your phone less.
Let's be honest: we all excessively check our phones. If there's no text to respond to, you probably move on to see what's new on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram (the worst). Why don't we stop fawning over the lives of others and enjoy our own for a change?
I challenge you to limit checking these social media sites to just once or twice a day. When I cut back my time spent online, the change in my life was almost instant.
I was less jealous of what others were doing and more appreciative of what was going on around me. I even noticed a huge increase in my free time!
Phones are awesome and the Internet is fantastic. Social media keeps me connected to all my friends, near and far. However, it's important to find your own balance and determine when enough is enough.
If you're walking down the street and texting, can you really even fully enjoy the sunshine?