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Summer Wellness: Embracing Health and Happiness Under the Sun Guide

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Summer Wellness: Embracing Health and Happiness Under the Sun Guide

Tomorrow, June 21st, is the first day of summer! It’s the perfect time to focus on your health and well-being. Summer gives us the opportunity to embrace the heat while maintaining our health and wellness. The warm weather and longer days provide the perfect atmosphere for enhancing our health, enjoying outdoor activities, and making lasting memories with family and friends.  

In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of summer hydration, fun outdoor activities, healthy eating, ways to protect yourself from the sun, and how you can nurture your mental health in the heat. Get ready to embrace the sunshine and take proactive steps towards a healthier, happier you. 


Stay Hydrated  

As temperatures rise, it is important to stay hydrated. Hydration is always important but especially when it’s hot and humid. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining your body functions as it should. Hydration keeps your skin glowing and boosts your energy levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dehydration is a primary contributor to heat exhaustion. Since our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, once we become dehydrated it becomes a threat to our body. 

Dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses including fatigue, headaches, and other serious health issues. When thinking about hydration, most of your fluid intake should be from water. Water isn’t only found in bottles from the grocery store or from your kitchen sink, but also from fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out below for some fun ideas to keep you and your family hydrated this summer:  

  • Watermelon or Cucumber Refresher: blend watermelon chunks or cucumber slices with water into a blender, use a strainer placed over a bowl to separate the pulp from the juice, add juice to a pitcher and stir in simple syrup or agave, lemon/lime juice, and add lime slices, as well as mint, then serve cold.  
  • DIY Fruit-Infused Water: add slices citrus fruits, berries, or herbs like mint and basil to a jug/pitcher, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to infuse.  
  • Popsicles: blend your choice of fresh fruit, use a strainer placed over a bowl to separate the pulp from the juice, mix juice and fresh fruit slices, pour into a popsicle tray maker, and freeze.  


Enjoy the Outdoors  

In June we not only celebrate Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month, and Juneteenth to name a few, but we also highlight National Great Outdoors Month, which encourages us to celebrate the nation’s national parks, wildlife, and natural beauty by getting outdoors. Spending time outdoors is highly beneficial to your physical and mental health.  

Did you know that sunlight boosts your vitamin D levels, an essential element for bone health and immune function? I bet you also didn’t know that sunlight boosts your mood, reduces stress, and is a great environment for making exercise more enjoyable. Check below for some ideas to enjoy fun in the sun:  

  • Hiking: Enjoy a hiking adventure with family or friends. It’s a great way to exercise and it allows you to be able to enjoy nature. Remember to stay hydrated!  
  • Swimming and Water Sports: Cool off and stay active by swimming in a pool, lake, or the ocean. Try out water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, or snorkeling for added excitement. 
  • Family Outdoor Game Day: Organize a family game day at the park with healthy snacks, outdoor games like kickball, tag, or flag football.  


Stay Safe under the Sun 

We can’t talk about fun in the sun without highlighting the importance of sun safety! As much as we love lounging in the sun, it is important for us to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. When our skin is unprotected, it can lead to skin damage, premature aging, and can increase the risk of skin cancer. Using the sun safety tips below can keep your skin healthy and protected.  

  • Use Sunscreen and After-Sun Care: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Apply It on all exposed skin 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’re going swimming. For after-sun care, apply aloe vera or after-sun lotions to sooth and hydrate your skin after being in the sun.  
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to protect your face, neck, and block UV rays from your eyes. When going outside you should consider wearing clothing that has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) for additional sun protection.  
  • Look for shaded areas: Use umbrellas, canopies, or use shade from trees when outdoors to reduce direct sun exposure.  

Remember to perform regular skin self-examinations of your skin to check for any new or changing moles or spots. Consult with a dermatologist if you identify anything of concern.  


Eat Healthy 

Including fresh and colorful foods into your diet can make mealtime more enjoyable and nutritious. The summer brings us fresh fruits and vegetables that are not only delicious but packed with nutrients.  

During the summer months it is important to understand portion control by enjoying your favorite treats and foods in moderation. Also, keep healthy snacks on hand, such as nuts, fresh fruit, and yogurt.  

Here are some quick recipe ideas to enjoy this summer:  

  • Grilled Veggie Skewers: Chop colorful veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs, add to skewers and grill until tender. 
  • Watermelon Feta Salad: Combine watermelon cubes, crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a sweet and savory treat. 
  • Mango and Pineapple Salsa: Combine diced mango, pineapple, red onion, and cilantro. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled fish. 

Additionally, the summer brings us plenty of BBQ and grilling opportunities. Remember to choose lean proteins like chicken breast or plant-based options, whole grains, and healthy marinades made from olive oil, citrus juices, herbs, and spices.  


Additional Summer Health and Wellness Tips to Remember 

  1. Do not leave kids or anyone else in cars  
  1. Pace yourself when outdoors, know your limit 
  1. Stay informed for extreme heat alerts via your local news channels  
  1. Know the signs for symptoms of heat-related illnesses  

Summer offers a unique opportunity to rejuvenate both body and mind, surrounded by the warmth and beauty of the season. By incorporating these tips and activities into your daily routine, you can enhance your overall wellness and create lasting habits that benefit you long after the summer ends. Remember, wellness is a journey, and every small step you take towards better health matters. Whether you’re trying new recipes, exploring outdoor adventures, practicing mindfulness, or staying safe in the sun, each action contributes to your well-being. 

We encourage you to continue exploring and embracing health and happiness under the sun throughout the summer and beyond. Share your experiences, challenges, and successes with us on social media using #AFSPAHealthySummer. Together, let’s make this summer a season of vibrant health, joyous moments, and unforgettable memories. 

Here’s to a summer filled with wellness, laughter, and sunshine! Thank you for joining us on this journey. 


How Can AFSPA Help This Summer? 

AFSPA offers multiple wellness programs available to Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) members that can help you make healthy choices as you prepare your summer meals. FSBP members have access to the Nutrition and Weight Management Plans below. To learn more visit  

  • Lifestyle and Condition Coaching Program: Our Lifestyle and Condition Coaching (LCC) Program uses a holistic approach to help you and your covered dependents achieve your best health. This program is offered to FSBP members at no extra cost. It can help members eat better, become more active, manage medical conditions and take charge of their health. To enroll in a program, contact a LCC Health Coach at 866-533-1410. LCC Coaches are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET. You may also enroll online at 
  • Cleveland Clinic: Use the Cleveland Clinic for free, trustworthy medical information. While at their site, you can sign up for free e-newsletters, physician-hosted online chats, or look up specific health topics.  
  • Digital Coach Programs: This program offers a personalized plan for successful behavior change in areas including nutrition, physical activity, and more. Sign up on Aetna’s Secure Member Website. Look for the “Health and Wellness” icon then select the “Discover a Healthier You. 
  • If you are concerned about skin cancer and would like to be seen by a dermatologist, FSBP can help you! As a member of FSBP, you can get care from a dermatologist (in-network or out-of-network). If you use our  in-network providers, you will pay less. If you are living abroad, any dermatologist will be covered by the in-network benefit.  FSBP does not require referrals to see a specialist. 


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