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© Kebba Buckley Button 2010.  World rights reserved.

Last time, I covered the basics of thriving in the desert heat.  Your body needs to get out of the heat, your skin needs extra protection, and you need to get enough sleep and general rest.  This time, I share strategies for staying upbeat and energized, thriving rather than just surviving when the weather is searing.  Mall shopping is obvious, but what if you don’t want to shop?

1.  Use the cool hours to leverage your energy for the day. Run errands before noon and after dark.  Play tennis at 10 pm.  Phoenix City parks are open until 11 pm.  Try moonlight hikes, such as the Sierra Club’s monthly full moon hikes.  Schedule runs, picnics and day hikes at breakfast time, as close to daybreak as you can. The air will be 30 degrees cooler than later in the day, and you can be active and even enjoy it.  Also, do your yard work or gardening at sunrise, while it’s cool.  Plan other outdoor activities according to when your yard, or the activity area, will be in shadow.  Sun-sensitive walkers can use the hallways at malls as early as 7 am.  Arrange your activities like this, and you may be surprised at how much better you feel all day.

2.  Try a change of location. Go to a town or campsite at a higher elevation, to a lake or to a coast, and take a cool climate break for a day or three or longer.  This will give your metabolism, your brain, and your emotions a time-out.  You’ll get a fresh start on your return.

3.  Keep your attitude and activities fresh. The most damaging aspect of the desert heat, for some, is the tendency for the brain cells to bake until they don’t work well.  With heat stress, you can lose your concentration quickly, then your attitude, and then your enthusiasm for anything at all.  Filled with heat-blahs, you can make mistakes with people and actually damage relationships.  So resolve that you’ll stay as positive and perky as you possibly can.  Please, don’t get sucked into conversations about how hot it is!  This will increase your sensation of being hot.  Ignore the comments or say something cheery like, “Yes, it’s almost like Phoenix in the summertime!”  Then talk about fun things you have been doing.

Novelty will help you stay alert and enthusiastic about life.  Do things differently.  Have you been to all your local art museums and galleries?  Round up a group to go to the local ice skating rink.  Take a summer foods cooking class (see #4).  Try swimming lessons. Go to any desert resort for day use (usually under $20) of the pools, cabanas, drink and snack service.  Go to summer concerts and plays in locales like Sedona and Laguna Beach.  Go to any ski town, ride the ski lift, and take photos. Visit Santa Fe on Labor Day weekend for the Arts Festival; you’ll need your down vest after sunset.

4.  Eat cooling foods. This is not necessarily the same as cold or icy foods.  In fact, many foods we think of as cold and therefore refreshing are actually dehydrating and/or weakening.  Sugar is dehydrating, so limit your sweetened teas, sugary “vitamin drinks”, milkshakes, coffee drinks with syrups, and frozen desserts.  Skip the diet drinks, also, because most artificial sweeteners cause ill effects.  Instead, drink lots of water and some fruit juices. Energizing yet cooling foods that are easily stocked in your frig include:  broiled chicken or salmon, hard-boiled eggs, corn on the cob, green peas (thaw, don’t cook), pre-washed greens, canned organic garbanzo beans (“chick peas”), avocados, celery sticks, jicama sticks, carrots, and fresh fruits.  Learn to make smoothies out of fresh fruit, juice, and favorite dairy or nut milks; the newer blenders are easy to use and clean.  Make your own salad dressings in the blender, using a half cucumber or a tomato as the base for an herbed vinaigrette.  For dessert, would you like to experience something novel?  Try making something like Raw Coconut Soup (such as this recipe:  http://2raw.wordpress.com/raw-creamy-thai-coconut-soup/).  Raw foods give you far more energy than cooked or previously frozen foods.

So this summer, when others are melting and moaning, you can feel wonderful and have all the energy you want.  Use these techniques to rise to any occasion as the temperatures soar.  Feel cool yet vibrant, and this will be your best desert summer ever—so far!

Reach the writer at: Kebba@DiscoverTheSecretEnergizedYou.com .