When we get to these super hot days of summer, I often hear a quote in my head, “le soleil, toujours le soleil” (“the sun, always the sun”).
It’s a quote from one of my favorite books, The Stranger by Albert Camus. In undergrad I wrote an entire paper analyzing this line so it’s always stuck with me. It comes to mind when I walk outside and the sun is beating down so hot if feels like you’re burning up from the inside. Summers are getting longer and hotter every year it seems, so what’s a person to do to stay cool?
In The Stranger the main character blames the sun for a random act of murder. Now I know you aren’t fixing to kill someone, but you might feel yourself becoming increasingly cranky and not feeling too well, especially after several 90+ degree days in a row. If you don’t have the luxury of staying in an air-conditioned bubble for the next month or two, here are some suggestions that may help.
- Hydration: Yes I know, every article you read tells you to stay hydrated in hot weather. Drink throughout the day, even if you don’t feel super thirsty. Water is best of course, but you might also think about perking up your water and adding some vitamins by adding some fruit or herbs to your water. It’ll taste better and help encourage you to drink more. Things to try:
- Citrus: slice or squeeze some fresh lemon, lime or orange into your water
- Fruit: add fresh berries, watermelon or strawberries
- Cucumber slices will add electrolytes to fight dehydration
- Mint or thinly sliced ginger will help with the nausea that sometimes happens when we get too hot
- Tempted to try a wine slushie or icy cold beer instead? I hear you, those are the bomb. But also drink water. Extra water, because alcohol dehydrates you.
- Clothing: Stick with loose, light and natural fabrics. And if you’re one of those people who thinks you are too fat, too old or too whatever to wear comfortable summer clothing, get over yourself. Seriously. If someone doesn’t like the sight of your saggy arms in a tank top or your dimply thighs in shorts, they don’t have to look. Do you really want to be hot and uncomfortable because some random stranger might judge you? And if someone does, send them some love because that person is clearly more insecure and full of self-hatred than you are if they need to criticize others to make themselves feel better.
- Yoga: I know, the idea of actually having to move might sound terrible. But there are several yoga poses that will help cool you down and also provide some relief if you are one of those people whose hands and feet swell in the heat. Here are some poses that are good for the heat and don’t take a lot of effort. If you aren’t familiar with these poses Google is your friend, there are lots of good pictures and YouTube videos to help you better than I can describe. Things to try:
- Legs up the wall pose
- Reclined cobbler
- Supported bridge pose
- Child’s pose
- Forward fold
- Dead bug pose
- Reduce the Heat in Your Environment: Do what you can to be comfortable at home including:
- Keep your drapes closed when the sun is out
- Fans, fans, fans….we have like 8 going at my house
- Freeze a bandanna and put it on your head or neck to cool you down
- Take cool showers – a cool shower before bedtime will help you sleep
- Power down your heat-producing appliances like tv, dishwasher, computer, dryer etc. If absolutely necessary, only use them at night.
- When it cools down at night, open the doors and windows to suck in cooler air before you go to bed
- Utilize Public Spaces: Go to the movies. Visit the mall. Check on your local city or county web pages, they might have cooling centers set up that you can visit.
- Don’t Forget About Your Furry Friends: Don’t leave your pets in the car, even for 5 minutes. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water. If your pets are outside, be sure they have shade. Watch for pavement burns on their paws if you take a walk.
Good luck with the heat friends. And remember your sunscreen.