© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button, M.S., O.M. World Rights Reserved.
Desert Botanical Garden
Chihuly Glass Yucca Sculptures
(c) 2014 Kebba Buckley Button
Last time, I covered the defensive basics of protecting yourself from the hottest days of Summer:
- – Your body needs to get out of the heat
- – Your skin needs extra protection
- – You need to get enough sleep and general rest.
In Phoenix, our highs will be 105 degrees and up, for most of the next 8 weeks. In Delaware, Denver, and Desert Hot Springs, it may only rise into the 90’s, but the humidity can be 30%. It’s sticky. You’re slimy. You can’t think or get motivated. So how on Earth can you keep your energy and attitude up?
Here are easy strategies for staying upbeat and energized, thriving rather than just surviving, when the weather is searing. You can do this! Mall shopping is obvious, but what if you don’t want to shop?
1. Use the cool hours to stoke your energy for the day. It’s coolest around 4 am, depending on how urban your area is. The sun rises a bit after 5 in midsummer, so take advantage! Run errands before 10 am and after dark. Use 24-hour grocery stores. Play tennis at 5 am or 10 pm. In Phoenix, visit the Desert Botanical Garden, open at 7 am, but for members, now open at 6 am Wednesday and Sunday. The DBG is also now open until 8 at night, and the property is much cooler than the surrounding city. Phoenix City parks are open until 11 pm. Try moonlight hikes, such as the Sierra Club’s monthly full moon hikes.
Schedule runs, workouts, picnics and hikes as close to daybreak as you can. Even your dog would rather go out early. 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. Then plan other outdoor chores according to when your yard, or the activity area, will be in shadow; this may be after 4 pm. Sun-sensitive walkers can use the hallways at malls as early as 7 am, and then stay for coffee. And yes, you can use MeetUp to find a walking group, or form your own. Stack your day like this, and you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel all summer.
2. Missed the early morning coolness? Go to the air-conditioned comfort of entertainment. Shopping malls, movie theaters, and indoor ice skating rinks are waiting for you. Many malls now have indoor playgrounds for your kids, and you can sit with your iPad while your kids play safely.
If you like water fun, remember the City parks systems have swimming pools. Also, many resorts have “day use” for their pools complexes, with water slides and cabanas—a new generation of high-end water park, with towels provided. There is even poolside food and beverage service. Just remember your sunscreen and re-apply often!
If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?
3. Try a change of location. Feeling the need for a re-set? 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.
4. 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, do not 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 friends to go try a new restaurant, or the dining room of a cooking school. 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. Got other ideas? I would love to hear them.
Keep it cool and keep it fresh, and you’ll have your best summer ever, so far!
Next time: how to eat to stay cool.
● Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition (http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc). She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister.
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