Calling all remainers (holiday remainers that is), we’ve got 10 ways to make your summer staycation the best it’s ever been – without the hassle or cost of having to get on a plane
1. Make this summer eco-friendly
Warmer days means you won’t be needing the tumble dryer or heating. Hanging your clothes out on the washing line and keeping the heating turned off will all help to reduce your energy footprint. If a heatwave is imminent, opt for a fan rather than air conditioning, not only do fans use less energy, but you can direct them on yourself for a quick cool down.
2. Head to the coast
In Britain, we’re lucky enough to have some cracking coastal areas, so if you’re planning on heading to the beach this summer, then take a deep breath, and inhale. The negative ions in sea air accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen and balance your serotonin levels (a body chemical linked with mood and stress). A study conducted at the University of Exeter found that people who visited the coast not only felt calmer after the working week, but more relaxed than if they’d visited a city park or the countryside. Do you need any more of a reason to book a coastal cottage retreat?
3. Dig deep
Chelsea Flower Show enthusiast or not, gardening is beneficial for both your mind and your body. Just 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn up to 300 calories (Centers for Disease Control), and while you might miss out on the rewards of a summer crop, you can sow the seeds for spring and winter time during August. Winter vegetables, such as sprouting broccoli, kale and cabbage, can all be sown during the summer months, just make sure to think about what you want before you plant. Consider how much space (and time) you can give to growing fruit and veg in your garden, then create a plan that will lay out what you can grow and when.
4. Take a dip
Known for its naturalistic and holistic benefits, wild swimming is excellent for those looking to try out something new this summer, and a sure-fire way to boost your vitality. “Open water swimming is about efficiency,” says Peigh Asante, part of the Swim Dem Crew who recently hosted an open water masterclass with Nike Swim (nikeswim.com). “It’s not about going as fast as you can in the water, it’s about swimming effectively, so you can travel the maximum distance with minimal effort. This means incorporating an effective glide in the water after each arm pull, and kicking legs for body balance first, rather than propulsion.” Fancy giving it a go? Visit wildswimming.co.uk to find out where you can go to in the UK and abroad.
5. Dine al-fresco
Summer picnics in the park might be on your agenda already, but simply eating your breakfast out on the patio in the morning can give you your daily dose of vitamin D – proven to help keep your bones strong and protect your mental health. Just being outside can also boost your concentration levels and help you eat more mindfully. If you’re looking for the ultimate summer dining experience, remember to leave your phone and other bits of technology inside the house – you’ll reap more benefits by immersing yourself in nature, rather than spending your time scrolling.
6. Tot up those steps
Set a new target for your step count this summer to make the most of the weather – if you aimed for 5,000 during the winter, then over the next few months, try and aim for 10,000 a day. Walking for 30 minutes a day not only helps to lower your blood pressure, but also improves your mood – particularly if you make your walk a social occasion; studies show that interaction with a partner, neighbour, or friend can help to boost your happiness. Wondering how you can get your step count up? Ditching the car for the pavement can help get your steps up, and save on both emissions and petrol costs. You can also try going for a stroll with your family after dinner, or make a regular date once a week for you and a friend to go on a walk and have a chat. This month the H&W team will be upping our steps for our new campaign to get everyone out walking for their mental health #walktowellbeing.
7. Take your workout outside
Less rain and sunnier days mean that there’s nothing stopping you from heading outside to do yoga in your local park at lunchtime, or squeezing in some morning meditation before you head off to work. No garden? Many places around the UK run their exercise classes outside during the summer months, particularly in major cities such as Manchester and London, where green spaces are more limited.
8. Eat seasonally
Another great thing you can do for the environment is to buy seasonally. The summer months are an opportunity to get the cream of the crop in terms of local produce. For pescatarians, summer is a chance to indulge in seafood, such as crab, haddock, salmon, sardines and mackerel. Swing by your local farmers market and look for fruit and veggies such as strawberries, cucumber, beetroot, raspberries, courgettes, rocket and watercress. Worried that your punnets of fresh fruit might go out of date? Don’t be afraid to freeze it down, or blitz into a smoothie and pour into ice-lolly moulds for a summer’s day treat.
9. Look to the stars
If you love stargazing, then summer is perfect for clearer nights. Studies done by Coventry University showed that it can help promote relaxation and enhance your wellbeing. If you live in the city, then you’ll have to venture somewhere with less light pollution to see the constellations. Use websites such as Dark Sky (darksky.org) and the Night Sky app, free, available on the app store, to find when, and where, is the best time to catch a glimpse of the night’s sky.
10. Tweak your time
Our bodies have to work extrahard during the summer to regulate our temperature, so it’s only natural that you might feel more lethargic, when the only time you feel energised is when the air conditioning is on full blast. To help adjust to the heat, shift your activities and commitments around. Many offices offer summer working hours, so it’s always worth asking (particularly if you have young children) if you can work flexible hours for a short period. Think about when you’re scheduling your meet-ups and exercise commitments as well – move your lunchtime run to the morning, before the day has had a chance to heat up yet, and you’ll feel an instant difference in both your stamina and speed.