I love the summer! Maybe because I was born in Singapore and lived there until I was 4, or maybe because I spent almost 20 years living in Asia as a young adult, I revel in the heat and sunshine. I love the brightness and long sunny evenings of summer in the UK, where I live now. I’ve learned through trial and error a few things which help me to enjoy the summer and hot weather, which I’d like to share with you here.
Here are some of my top tips for thriving in the summer months!
1. Drink lots of water. Once it gets to the temperature where I’m sweating sitting in my house, I know I need an extra litre of water a day. If I’m out and about in that weather, I’ll probably make that 2 extra litres. Don’t forget to have water by your bed at night too. And if you are drinking alcohol, bear in mind that you may need even more water.
2. Pace yourself. It’s easy, especially in the UK where summers can be short and the weather unpredictable, to get overexcited, do too much and get too much sun. I know how much sun I can tolerate without burning or getting overheated. I make time in the sun short and early in the day or late in the evening. In the middle of the day I wear a hat, a shirt with a collar and long sleeves, and stay in the shade as much as possible. I use an umbrella as a sunshade. I cross the road to the shady side of the street. I walk slowly and leave extra time to get to places and do things so I can stay relaxed and cool. I build in days when my daughter and I stay at home indoors and in the shade of the garden to balance the hotter and more action-filled days which of course are also really fun!
3. Sleep. It can be harder to sleep at night when it’s hot and lighter in the evenings and morning. At the same time, it’s tempting to stay up late enjoying the sunny and cool evenings. Could you build a nap into the day? I used to always have a nap for just 20 minutes when I was living in Asia. It really cools you off and leaves you feeling refreshed, and also allows you to stay up a bit later in the evening if you want to. If that doesn’t work for you, make sure you know how much sleep you need and get to bed early 5 out of 7 nights of the week.
4. Food. Summer fruits and vegetables are in season for a reason! They are ideal to keep us healthy over the summer. I have found that especially cooling foods are yogurt, cucumbers, mint or peppermint tea (hot or cold), tea and coffee (hot or cold), rice, and herbs like fennel or aniseed. Avoid heavy, rich and warming foods such as chocolate, red meat, deep fried food, hot soups and stodgy meals. In my experience, iced drinks and ice cream can also make me feel ill due to the contrast with the outside temperature and my body temperature. Try not to overeat or drink too much alcohol – the effects are much harder on your body in the hot weather. All that energy used for digestion is needed to keep you cool.
5. Exercise. We all know the benefits of regular exercise, but it can be really demotivating to exercise or even go for a walk outside when it’s hot. Plan what you could do – even just 20 minutes a few times a week will help. Could you go for a walk at dusk or very early in the morning?
6. Holiday routine. Holidays away from home are stimulating and fun, but can be unsettling, especially for children. If you can manage to stick to a regular routine of waking up, going to bed and having meals at the same time 5 days out of 7, you and your children are bound to feel better. Also make sure to have some winding down time each day and sprinkle in a few relaxed days when you all do nothing much at all. I really notice the benefits when I do this – my daughter is better behaved and better rested, and we enjoy the days we have outings and activities much more for being fresher. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and refreshing, after all!
7. Daily self-care. Whether it’s meditation, journaling, EFT tapping, daily yoga or qigong, having a few minutes to yourself each day are always really important, and no less so during the summer and during holidays. Choose your type of self-care, choose the time you will do it, and let others know that it is your essential time to recharge your batteries.
I hope you benefit from my tips and have a really enjoyable summer filled with fun and relaxation!
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