When your energy is limited a long hot summer can be extremely challenging. Heat is energy draining and when we have little to start with, it’s no fun to have it drained even further. Add to that the challenges of sleeping when it’s not only too hot but there are barely 6 hours of darkness and well-being can be severely threatened. However, our greatest advantages as humans is how well we can adapt to things, so here are a few ideas, some of which came from the lovely ladies in my weekly support group.
12 tips for getting through the long hot summer with a smile
Since returning to England, my sleep from 4.30am onwards has been plagued by unsettled dreams because of the light, so when I wake up at 6am I’m desperate to get out of bed and put a stop to them. But I’m not getting to sleep until it’s dark either so I’m not quiet getting the hours in that I need. Instead I’m doing what they do in Spain and taking a short nap in the afternoon when it’s too hot to contemplate anything else anyway!
Take advantage of coolest times of the day
The first thing I do when I get up at 6am is open all the windows and doors downstairs to get the cool air flowing through. I figure that it will take the sun longer to heat up the house to uncomfortable levels if it starts off as cool as it could be. First thing in the morning and last thing at night are also the times to take advantage of, for any activity. Plan to get anything active done during those times. In Spain, even the kids follow this pattern and you’ll find them all playing out in the plaza from about 10pm onwards, with the adults catching up with each other over a caña or a tinto de verano.
Make sure you drink enough fluids (not including caffeine, alcohol or sugary drinks). I’m way over the 3-litre mark at the moment but I’ve always needed more than most people. For those of us with low blood volume, the nasty effects of dehydration are never far away. If you find the fluids going straight through you, you may have to up your electrolyte intake too. While I’ve seemingly been sweating 24 hours a day since I’ve been back in this more humid environment (perimenopausal symptoms not helping!) I’ve found it helpful to take rehydration salts a couple of times a week. I’ve also found myself putting a lot more salt on my food (pink Himalayan because of the wider range of minerals). Make sure you consult your doctor before upping your salt intake it’s not recommended if you have high blood pressure.
Use a Fan
Here in the UK we’re not used to needing machinery to keep us cool but the air movement that a fan can provide can make a real difference. If you can’t get out to the shops they can be ordered online.
Close everything on the sunny side
Keep windows, blinds, curtains and doors that are in the direct sunlight shut. Any double glazing can work to keep the heat out as well as it does in the winter to keep the heat in.
There are a wide variety of cooling solutions available online from patches designed to cool for pain, gel packs that can be heated or cooled, towels that you wet and pillows for a cool night’s sleep
A favourite of a couple of my support group ladies is to soak your feet in cool water. I like to wet my head when I’m overheating as it’s where a lot of body heat can be lost. Another way to cool down quickly is to hold your wrists under cold running water.
Keep all lights off, eat a salad, leave the ironing for cooler weather (or just don’t do it at all if you can help it!)
Siesta under a damp cover
When it’s too hot to sleep at siesta time I like to take my sarong which is a very thin light cotton, wet it with cold water, wring it out thoroughly, shake out any last drops of water that lay it over me as I snooze.
Essential oil spritzer
Peppermint and Cyprus oils are great coolers. Put a few drops (3-5 total) in a 10ml glass spray bottle, add a couple of ml of witch-hazel, then fill up with water. Spray over your skin (but keep away from your eyes) whenever the heat is getting too much, make sure you shake it well before each use.
Let yourself be laid-back
It’s no surprise that the most laid-back people live in hot climates. Accept the fact that the heat makes things difficult, it is what it is! Do things slowly in very short bursts and allow yourself not to ‘do’ when it’s too hot. Take advantage of the lesson you can learn from the enforced inactivity and learn to enjoy relaxed effortlessness and simply being. Take advantage of the extra rest your getting valuing it as a chance for your body to send its resources to healing.
Take advantage of the chance to top up your vitamin D
20 minutes a day (max) of your skin soaking up the rays could set you up well for a good part of the winter! This is the best possible way to get the essential vitamin D that will support your immune system and provide a whole wealth of other benefits. I aim for as much of my skin exposed as possible but only 10 minutes on each side. If you’re going to stay in the sun for longer use a very high factor sun protection. Stay safe!
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