Published on June 30th, 2022 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Connections Boost Well-being
Functional medicine, looks at summertime as an opportunity to better ourselves through calm, relaxation, family fun and good books. It’s time to seek out new recipes that are easy and fresh or head out for long evening walks after a hard day’s work. It’s that time of year midway between all the New Year’s resolutions to take stock of what has been overlooked. Summer is the perfect opportunity to clear the air and make the right changes for the healthier life we have been seeking. Here are a few tips that use the summer months to connect with food, each other and self.
Sync up with summer. An increase in daylight is great for brain health and mood. Lack of daylight causes seasonal affective disorders, and depression is higher in winter months. This summer, set aside the rush to get out the door and build a better habit around that first waking hour of each morning. Focus on hydration, a few minutes of sunlight, cleansing breathwork and mental headspace. Map out a 15-minute morning sequence and repeat it throughout the summer until it becomes routine.
Eat fresh. During summer, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a seasonal delight that is great for the intestinal microbiome. Many fruits and vegetables also contain water, which makes these natural foods an easy choice for hydration and satisfaction. It is important to drink enough water during summer months when it is easy to get dehydrated. When we don’t have enough, our bodies become sluggish and lethargic and we develop headaches and migraines.
Make connections. One of the most important aspects of health is social interaction. Great food, maybe a local baseball game and a fun backyard BBQ with friends or family is a perfect way to reconnect. If these are also occasions for tremendous anxiety–either from the food that causes distress or the social interaction itself, take out a notebook and document exactly what is happening inside. Start building a food diary of meals versus snacks, meal timing and observe any changes to mood or subtle reactionary, intolerant or irritable behaviors. Otherwise, simply avoid excessive amounts of sodium, trans fats or processed and junk food.
Practice better sleep. Because of the longer days, summertime can find us surprisingly short on sleep. Dinner and bedtime get pushed back an hour or so, while daybreak stirs us awake earlier. Sleep deprivation is not only bad for health, it can put us in a funk. Rather than reach for artificial sleep aids, summer is when we should look forward to better sleep. Clear the room of electronics and lights, keep it cool and dark, and take time to wind down with a bit of self-care. Some light stretching or a quick shower should suffice.
The teachings and practices of functional medicine give consideration to the whole person, both the physical body and brain, and which daily habits impact our health the most. Summer is the perfect time to boost well-being by really focusing on the natural gifts and beauty that summer brings: longer days, a feeling of relaxation, the ability to be outdoors and catching up on sleep. Whether it’s heading out for a jog or gathering with friends, make summer a season for connecting with those things that matter most, especially if it means changing things up a bit.
Dr. Doug Pucci, founder of Pucci Wellness, is a functional medicine doctor specializing in immune system health, autoimmunity and hormonal shifts caused by latent virus infections and long-haul COVID. To learn the warning signs of an immune health system run amok, visit GetWell-Now.com/webinar.