The summer can cause all sorts of problems with dehydration and sunburn, but the body isn’t the only thing that’s affected by the heat. The hot weather can take its toll on your mind, fostering feelings of laziness and lethargy that can in turn influence your metabolism and frame of mind. These tips can help make life a little more pleasant in the heat.
Better the body
• Drink plenty of clear fluids – at least three litres per day, or more if you’re active. Green tea, water flavoured with lemon and cucumber, fresh fruit juice and lemonade might be just what you need to help stay hydrated if plain water isn’t easy for you to get down. Remember to avoid carbonated and sweetened drinks since they’ll only dehydrate you even more.
• Sunscreen is vital. Don’t buy into the myth that Indian complexions and darker skin are less prone to sunburn and skin cancer. The truth is that we’re just as susceptible as the Irish, and given the heat intensity across much of India, it’s advisable to use a protective agent whenever you step outside.
• Shower frequently. The heat can make you sweat profusely, and those with liver and kidney conditions are more susceptible to heavy perspiration. That said, everyone sweats in places that are prone to bacterial and fungal infection: the underarms, crotch and anywhere else with folds of skin. Two cool showers a day can do so much to prevent problems.
• Change your linens. Bed sheets, pillowcases and towels shouldn’t be used for more than a few days in peak summer. Unless you keep your air conditioner on all night, chances are your sweat gets onto your sheets on a nightly basis, and the towels you use to dry off can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Make sure you wash them all in hot water.
• Eat light. If you aren’t active, there’s no reason to be eating as much in summer as you do in the winter. We aren’t suggesting that you cut out half your daily food consumption, but that extra slice of pizza or a second helping of pudding are best avoided. Eating light also means including a healthy amount of water-based fruits and vegetables to help with hydration and internal cooling.
Master the mind
• For students, summer is the only time you don’t have anything to worry about: no exams, no classes, no homework. You can wake up as late as you want and enjoy life with no rush. But soon enough, you’ll realise that life needs to get more productive. A summer class can keep your mind engaged and give you something to do, adding meaning to days that can otherwise seem futile.
• Playing for a sports team or learning a game on your own is the perfect opportunity to devote your time to becoming healthy, giving both your body and your mind a good workout in one fell swoop. Athletic activity is beneficial for the body for obvious reasons, but it also fosters improvement of reflexes and decision-making abilities.
• Learn a new recipe or two, and prepare a meal to surprise your family. Learning how to cook is always a bonus, but it’s even more beneficial for students who’ll be moving away (or back) to university. There are many dishes you can try that will make the summer enjoyable. Blend some fruits together to make a smoothie, or find a way to cook some lean meat without turning the whole apartment into an oven.
• Creativity in general exercises the right side of your brain. Photography lessons, dance classes, or just picking up a brush and painting are great ways to stimulate your creative edge. Soothing music and do-it-yourself projects are other good ways to promote creative thinking skills.
• Reading might sound dull and boring, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s especially good if you have a lot of time to kill but don’t know what to do. If you have a few favourite authors, try something of theirs you haven’t read yet. Toss on some sunscreen, enjoy the nice weather, and have a cool drink while you escape reality for a while.
• Last but not least, spending time with your family is a great way to avoid getting bored. You could plan a road trip to the hills to escape the heat of the city. Or if you live near a beach, you can beat the sun with a dip in the cool ocean. A family day at a resort, relaxing in the pool and enjoying some food is another great idea.
..... Ashwin & Imaan