Summer is here and it’s hot . . . everywhere!
While this season has a lot going for it in the wellness department, like longer days (more time to exercise), and farmer’s markets brimming with fresh local veggies (lots of healthy meal prep options), who has the energy and motivation to workout or cook when record temperatures are making the evening news?
I was struggling with this myself, last week, after thermometers in our area soared well over 100º for several days in a row.
My early morning fitness walk had tanked as I adjusted to kid’s summer schedules, I found myself eating unhealthy grab and go foods of the cool and creamy sort, and my overall attitude toward the summer was already sounding like a desperate countdown to the first day of school.
The more I let go of my wellness, the worse I felt.
But as I wandered the house picking up stray socks and underwear for yet another load of laundry, I stumbled on two members of my family, who seemed to be taking the summer heat in stride.
Sprawled together on the cool tiles around the rim of our master bathtub (which is very uncharacteristic of the big guy on the right, who lives a solitary existence in the back of my closet), were my two cats, snoozing through summer like it was no big deal.
It dawned on me that animals don’t ditch their wellness when the temperature rises, like we often do.
Instead, they ride out the hot summer months by instinctively shifting to healthy coping strategies for conserving energy and staying cool.
I decided to observe my furry friends over the next couple of days, to see if I could pick up a few helpful tips for managing the hot summer months ahead in a positive way. Here’s what I learned:
It’s not your imagination the heat does a number on your energy and motivation. Extreme weather conditions put extra stress on our bodies and cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms ranging from fatigue, low energy, and headaches, to mood disruptions like anxiety and depression.
Let’s face it, the less you do, the less you WANT to do. Skipping your daily workout will only leave you feeling more sluggish and less productive. On the flip side, maintaining a regular schedule of light to MODERATE exercise is a PROVEN strategy for elevating mood and motivation.
I get it. No one feels like spending time in a hot kitchen during the summer. But making an effort to maintain a light, healthy diet is the best way to fend off feelings of low motivation and lethargy. Colorful fruits and vegetables with crunch are higher in nutrients, fiber, and water—-all good things for maintaining elevated energy levels and a healthy body weight.
Feeling exhausted or down for the count with a headache? Dehydration could easily be to blame. Staying well hydrated when the temperature rises boosts energy and productivity, and allows your body to continue functioning at a high level.
We love to create drama around soaring summer temperatures. We post pictures of the temperature reading in our car, and funny memes about the heat on social media. We even talk about it endlessly over hot coffee at Starbucks. (Guilty 🙂 !) But drawing attention to the discomfort often means we suffer more.
All reports indicate we’re in for a sweltering summer.
But don’t let the heat drag you down. There’s so much to love about summer, and endless opportunities for engaging in wellness if you’re willing to make the effort.
After watching Paulie and Moses treat the heat like it’s no biggie, I plan to stop complaining, get moving (albeit slowly), and take their lead with a cool cat approach to a healthy, happy summer!
Feel good. Be well. Meg
Wellness Prompt: Notice if you’re falling into a wellness slump as the temperature rises. Which of the “cool cats” tips could help you the most? Do you have any other good “beat the heat” tips to share with the rest of us? We’d love to hear in the comments below!