Summer is upon us — are you ready? To get prepared, consider making a summer to-do list. Write down what you want to accomplish and what you need to accomplish. For example, have you been pushing off a few chores this spring due to your busy schedule? What about scheduling a doctor’s appointment, taking a family vacation or reading a book?
No matter what you are planning for this summer, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Here are six personal care tasks to add to your summer to-do list:
1. Check on Your Health
Your home and work life may slow down a bit during the summer. This is the perfect time to check on your health. Schedule your annual physical, make a dental appointment, and get tested for HIV and other STIs.
While many people don’t mind routine tasks like having their teeth cleaned, getting tested for STIs may be embarrassing. But the truth is, it shouldn’t be. Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes are incredibly common. According to the CDC, one in five Americans has a sexually transmitted disease. Almost 90% of adults are exposed to the herpes virus by the time they’re 50 years old.
If you’re uncomfortable getting tested for STIs in person, there are at-home STI testing options available. These take-home tests are sent directly to you so you can test yourself from the comfort of your own home. Once you’re done, you simply mail the test back and wait for your results.
Regardless of how sexually active you are, it’s important to regularly get tested for sexually transmitted infections. The sooner you’re tested, the sooner you’ll have peace of mind and the safer you’ll be.
2. Treat Yourself
Treat yourself to something nice this summer. While your budget might not allow a month-long holiday, you can probably afford a spa day or trip to the salon. It doesn’t matter what you do, just as long as it’s something you enjoy.
Are your children home for the summer? If so, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’ll find time to treat yourself. From camps to summer school, sign your kids up for something fun so you can enjoy some peace. And remember, you don’t need to do anything too extravagant. Something simple can be enough of a treat!
3. Unplug From Electronics
Chances are, you probably know the dangers of too much screen time. Research suggests it can lead to obesity, sleep problems, anxiety, and more. And what’s worse, Americans reportedly spend even more time looking at their screens while on vacation.
Summer is a great time to break your addiction to tech. Consider taking steps to help you unplug from your electronics this summer to create boundaries between you and your phone. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” so you can focus on what you’re doing in real time. You should also consider deleting your most-used social media apps, turning notifications off, or putting your phone in another room.
4. Drink Water Every Day
There’s a great deal of debate surrounding how much water an individual should actually drink on a given day. According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, women should drink 2.7 liters of fluid a day and men should drink 3.7 liters.
Keep in mind, everyone has a different body type. You might feel better drinking more water, while someone else might feel better with less. Make sure you’re doing what’s best for your body by drinking enough water to maintain the balance of body fluids. This is especially true during these summer months when temperatures are high, and only getting higher.
5. Take Care of Your Body
Exercise is incredibly important for both your mental and physical well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average person should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
While you might be busy this summer, make time to move your body. Go on a walk with a few friends, take a yoga class in the park, or try a new workout. Whatever you do this summer, make sure you’re taking care of your entire body.
6. Take Time to Relax
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping a busy schedule, it’s important to take time to relax. If you don’t, you may experience high levels of stress.
Stress has become such a normalized feeling, you probably don’t know how much it impacts your body—but it does. Stress can lead to anxiety, irritability, depression, sleep problems, digestive issues, and more. To keep yourself healthy, you need to find time to relax.
Summer is a great time to practice relaxation. With some extra free time, you can find techniques that work for you. For example, you could try meditating, reading a book, or taking a walk. The more relaxation activities you experiment with, the more likely you are to find an option that works.
Summer doesn’t just bring high temperatures, it also brings less chaotic schedules (well, at least it should). Besides making sure you’re as productive as possible, it’s important to make time to relax and get the most out of your summer. The tips above will help prepare you for summer, as well as make sure you have an eventful and safe few months.