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© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button.  World Rights Reserved.


Photo by Kebba Buckley Button

So before you came to the desert Southwest, did they tell you the summers can be a bit warm?  In cities like Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Needles, Laughlin, and Las Vegas, it can be over 105 degrees for weeks running.  In fact, it has been 120 degrees a few times, including in June 2010.  This is the region where people say things like, “It’s only 100 degrees today!”   Our vistas vary from concrete and stone cityscapes to green golf courses with lakes, to natural desert of subtle tones and often-sharp plants.  Your business or personal pursuits will likely take you through all these environments of the desert Southwest.  These tips will help you enjoy yourself and get the most out of life throughout our summer.

In our hot weeks, feeling good, being well, and being productive can be challenging. Back East, you wouldn’t dream of going out in a snowstorm unprepared.  You would of course dress properly and protect yourself from the elements.  Summer is our dangerous weather season, so you’ll want to dress properly and protect yourself.  But you can feel great and enjoy our summer, if you take these tips to heart:

1.  Accept that Summer is our physical stress season.  The heat magnifies normal stresses, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  People may be crabby and tired.  In traffic, drivers may show less attention and courtesy than usual.  Even during the cooling effects of our intense summer storms, people can be short-tempered.  Plan to simply drop your shoulders, exhale quietly, and do your best in hot and tense moments.  

2.  Get out of the heat. Do get 15 minutes of sun on your hands and face each day, for your body to produce enough Vitamin D. But you can get that while driving to an errand. The rest of the time, get out of the sun or wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and sleeves.

Walk in building shadows and park your car in the shade or in a parking garage. If you love to be outside, you can now buy special sun-blocking clothes from travel companies. You can get shirts designed to SPF 50 or higher, plus broad-brimmed hats with mesh-side crowns for through-flow of air. More difficult to find is the safari hat with its own built-in fan. Cooling neck scarves are now widely available. Soak them to activate the gel inside, and store them in the fridge between wearings.  Water bottles, with a battery-operated personal fan attached, are amusing and do actually help you keep cooler.

If you get too much heat, you’ll generally know it. But if people tell you your face is bright red, this is not good.  If your skin is totally dry, or if you feel nauseated or are vomiting, or if you feel totally drained and confused, these are clues you have heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Get to a cool, dim place, put a cool, damp cloth on your forehead, and try to drink water (chlorine removed).

3.  Protect your skin and eyes. If you don’t want to cover your skin, at least wear some sunscreen. There are new generations of sunscreen in clear or opaque forms, or colored to function as makeup foundation. Many moisturizers and makeup products contain SPF 15 or higher for day use. Most powdered mineral-based foundation makeups provide non-chemical SPF 15. If you’re wild to have tan skin, and you weren’t born with it, check out spray tanning or tanning moisturizers. Be aware that these do not provide sun protection, however, and skin cancer is rampant here. And remember to drink water. Support your skin by also eating foods that can help skin stay moist and young-looking.  These include dark greens, avocado, and fruits.  Do wear sunglasses, especially if you are not wearing headgear with a brim.

4.  Use common sense.  Rest if you need to. Plan extra time to get sufficient sleep daily.  Plan fewer activities in your week.  And focus on thriving, throughout the month.  Ask yourself often, “what would work best for my energy?”


● Your comments are welcome!


● Reach the writer at kebba@kebba.com .