Yes, I did say “hibernation.” And I know that really refers to winter (cue polar bears curled up in their dens). However, the only way to cope with this already agonisingly hot summer is a similar strategy: slow down, keep cool, tune out physically – if not mentally. I advise going into sleep mode.
So here goes. My personal check list:
- Get up slowly in the morning and as late as possible (I have the luxury of doing this sometimes). Try to smile (Mr. Thich Nhat Hanh tells me I should smile as soon as I wake up. I have never managed this successfully yet – I feel rather silly doing it). It’s even harder now, with the sun beating mercilessly through the window at 8 a.m.
- That reminds me: Get light curtains for windows. This may or may not help.
- Get ceiling fans. Yes, we have acquired one and it really is nice. I also like the purring sound, which sends me off to sleep in the middle of the day.
- While writing at the computer, sit perilously close to a standing fan (full blast of course) and simultaneously under ceiling fan. Brain might work.
- Drink gallons of water. Hydrating a lot prevents you from feeling weak and falling on the floor – but doesn’t really cool you down. Honestly…
- Take six showers a day. Heavy on the water bill, and the problem is that our solar water heater only produces scalding hot or warm water these days.
- As you may have gathered, we don’t have air conditioning at home. Therefore, the plan is to eagerly accept any invitations to attend events in air-conditioned hotels. Regretfully decline those that you know will be outside, under a stifling tent or worse still, in sunlight.
- If staying home, don’t venture outside until after 4 p.m., when it cools down very slightly. One look at the dogs, floored by the heat, will give you an indicator of the temperature out there. If they are looking a little more lively, it’s probably safe to go outside.
- Just simply avoid the sun. Totally. It’s toxic. The moon is OK.
- Wear light clothing (of course) when going out – but try to keep it decent.
- Wear even lighter clothing (in fact, very little) when home alone. You can only shock yourself if you pass by the mirror, but no worries. Comfort is key.
- If taking a cab with no air conditioning on, drop heavy hints to the driver until he winds up the window and puts it on. If he really has none, jump out of the cab at the earliest opportunity.
- Stay away from crowds. Other humans’ bodies make you hot.
- When exercising, do it at minimum speed, while hydrating. Don’t kill yourself.
- When watching TV, choose documentaries about the Arctic (before it started melting). It has a psychological effect. Avoid documentaries about Africa.
- In the evenings, throw all the windows open and stay up as late as you can. It’s fairly cool around 4:00 a.m.
- Don’t get into arguments. It brings you out in a sweat.
- Laugh a little bit and have fun. Not too much, though. Too much fun can bring you out in a sweat, too.
- Don’t get too upset about Trump, Brexit, the latest terrorist attack, the children in Syria. It raises your blood pressure. Avoid the international news.
- Get dressed to go out while two inches from a fan. Put on makeup one inch from a fan. If you’re further away you will leave the house looking like a clown on meltdown.
- I am told, also (being serious now!) that we should all be wearing proper sunglasses (including children) because the sun is damaging our eyes. Note to self: Buy sunglasses and lose them two days later.
- AND we should wear sunscreen – the “whiter” the better. No, I’m not talking about bleaching cream.
So there you have it. My short term summer plans – or maybe long term. After all, it’s still early June! You may find some of this useful.
Somehow, we’ve got to survive.