This year has been setting a lot of heat records. Wave after wave of heat. Humidity is elevated as well… where this writer lives. It’s just not a comfortable summer.
Adjusting to this heat is not easy either. One’s ability to adjust is sorta linked to where one lives, does for a living, and ability to move. Some folks, thanks to being economically tied to a location, can’t pick up and go some place cooler.
Riding a heat wave
Being that we don’t all have the luxury of living in ideally cool places, taking a little time to point out the obvious. Take care of yourself. Yes, there are some selfish motives here… like how can I have readers enjoy this blog if they’re too busy recovering from heat related stress.
So, what can one do?
Staying cool is an art and science that involves drinking plenty of clean cool water, staying in the shade, finding air conditioning, and changing a bit of one’s lifestyle.
If I’m a runner, which I’m not, I may have to shift my hours of running to the very early morning, so not to over do my body. If my living place does not have air conditioning, spending time at the local heat shelter may be necessary in the evening. By heat shelters, we’re talking places like libraries, local swimming facilities, some shelters, and other air conditioned public places.
The key is staying cool. More people will succumb to heat than they will cold or other natural disasters. The body just doesn’t do very well with high heat. When our bodies can’t keep cool, it’s internal structures start to degrade… namely proteins. Once those go bad, a lot of things in the body start to shut down.
The people most at risk are those who can’t handle heat as well… babies and the elderly. Please, check in on your neighbors and extended family members. Let’s not forget our pets either. They need hydration and cooling.
What else can we do?
Most people who can afford the architectural changes to keep their places cool are doing so. The rest of us just have to live wherever we happen to be able to live. This means we’re all hoping the power supply doesn’t get disrupted so we can run our A/C. Others hope to be able to keep the window fan running around the clock.
While doing some shopping to replace a torn window screen, discovered that there are screens designed to lower the sun’s impact by blocking some of the light… like sunglasses… and that helps keep internal temperatures a little cooler. This may not help those in cramped apartment complexes that are massive bake-oven erector-sets from a bygone era.
Some of the structural changes required to ready a city for more heat waves may involve pressing politicians to act, but that is outside the scope of today’s post.
If one starts to feel different in this heat, don’t assume it’s just fatigue. Check it out. Verify that you’re not heat exhausted, which is very different from being tired. What we don’t want is for the heat exhaustion to escalate to heat stroke. Uncontrolled overheating is fatal.
To keep cool, one has to watch one’s activities and slow down. Get out of the direct sunlight. Have plenty of water on hand. Sunblock too.
Just thinking about the days of standing on a super hot platform waiting for a delayed train with no cool place to go… yeah… some folks have it really hard. Like construction workers who have to work outside. The commuters who have to walk distances to get to their bus/train stops. The list goes on.
Every little bit you can do to keep cool is crucial for your wellness. Don’t be above using an umbrella to create your own shade as you walk about town. Sometimes, a little window shopping along the way to get cool air may be required.
Change is coming
The last four years have been very hot years. There is reason to believe this is not the end of hot years. Life in the wild will figure how to adapt to the heat. So should we.
A friend who is an architect explained to me the differences between constructions in the east of the US versus the west. How buildings are planned impacts how they keep cool in summer. The good folks of Arizona are better equipped to face the heat compared to a smaller city in the north east of the US. But, with everyone facing record heat, everyone is having to adjust to keep cool.
Elevated level of mindfulness to stay hydrated and cool is a must. I’m now carrying around more water than I’ve ever done in insulated bottles so I have cold water to drink throughout the day. I plan my outdoor time more carefully to avoid being out too long in the middle of the day. While this is enough for this year, plans for potentially hotter coming years have to start now so I’m not caught unprepared.
Change comes from two major places. From within and from outside ourselves. The weather is not in our control but how we anticipate it and adjust for it is.
This is a bit of a metaphor for life. Things heat and cool around us but how we react makes all the difference. The pace of life is not showing signs of slowing at all. The conflicts between groups of people doesn’t seem to abate.
Yet, we have to manage to stay cool and composed if we’re to move ahead with our plans. While some changes will blindside anyone, most changes leaves clues for us to prepare.
Before your week experiences a heatwave, both literally or metaphorically, do pause a moment to run a checklist of what you’ll need to be prepared. What checklist? Depending on what you’re preparing for, our trusty search engine pals at Google may have an answer to get us started.
Don’t let life just happen to you. Adjust. Even get ahead whenever possible. Whatever you do, don’t let the heatwave swallow you and spit you out overcooked. Stay cool. Stay hydrated. And have a great week.
this post was crafted during a heat wave… although not posted during one… it is being edited while a massive hurricane prepares to make landfall
thoughts and prayers to all in the path of the big storm… by the time this post goes live… best recovery wishes to all affected