As temperatures rise over the next couple of days, it’s important to take steps to stay cool and healthy. Heat illnesses can affect anyone, but those with underlying health conditions or the elderly are at a higher risk. High temperatures impact us on multiple levels, including our digestive health, cardiovascular system, and even our emotional health. Here are some tips to help beat the heat and stay cool physically and mentally:
Diet and nutrition
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Choose cooling foods like salads with tomatoes and cucumbers and in-season fruits.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Practice mindful eating by taking one bite at a time and chewing your food slowly. You may find you have less of an appetite.
Daily activities and exercise
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton.
- Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day and avoid strenuous activities.
- Use fans or air conditioning to keep your home cool.
- Take cool showers or baths to bring down your body temperature.
- If you exercise outdoors, go first thing in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are lower.
Mood and mindfulness
- Practice the cooling breath or Sitali for a couple of minutes 2-3 times a day.
- Switch out your cardio or hot yoga for a cooling restorative practice or meditation.
- Notice any irritability and remember everyone is “hot and bothered” right now. You may want to save any tense conversations for next week.
- Practice impermanence. Remind yourself that this will pass. You can even close your eyes and picture a wintry day.
If you feel overheated
- Use a damp cloth to wipe down your skin. This can help you cool down quickly.
- Sit or lie down in an air-conditioned space or shade.
- Sip cool water.
Most importantly, listen to your body and let it guide you. We aren’t often told to take it slow, but now is a good time to take everything down to 75%. If you have any concerns, reach out to a healthcare provider.
Julie Luzarraga (she, her, hers) is the owner/founder of Omaha Integrative Care. Her favorite ways to stay cool include mindful breathing and saying “no” to extra tasks.