Simple Tips to Keep Your Cool this Summer: Part Two

In Part One, we covered what to eat and drink to help you stay cool. As we draw closer to the peak of summer heat, we’ll dive into additional practices to manage this month’s temperatures.

Take a footbath in the evening. After showering to cool off at the end of a hot day, soak your feet in the bathtub or a basin of cool water with a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, peppermint, spearmint, or rose. Soak for 10 to ­15 minutes, and as your feet cool off, so will your entire body.

Put your legs up the wall. Sit on the floor with your hips touching the wall and knees bent. As you lift your legs up the wall, lie down, and swing your back so it’s perpendicular to the wall. Legs can be straight, or knees bent with the soles of your feet touching. This restorative yoga posture is almost magical with its profoundly relaxing effects. Legs up the wall is a perfect pose at the end a hot summer day, or right before bed, to cool off and promote a good night’s sleep.  

Avoid midday sun and exercising in the heat of the late afternoon and evening. If you’re a driven, fiery individual you might be inclined to exercise at the same time you regularly do. I’m always surprised when I see runners in the blazing afternoon sun, sweating buckets. The body cannot effectively cool itself under these stressful conditions, which can lead to major systemic imbalances. Instead, consider a swim, a (non-heated) yoga class if you know the studio has fans, or switching your outdoor exercise to the cooler, early morning hours.    

Loosen up! Heat expands, and tight shoes and clothing begin to feel tighter and constricting later on, generating even more discomfort. Wear looser, lighter colors and breathable fabrics. There’s a practical reason why white clothing is popular in the summer: it reflects the heat instead of absorbing it.   

Slow down. When summer is blazing hot, be less rigid about your schedule and make more space. Leave additional time for what you need to do and getting where you need to be. Being rushed, and getting upset or frustrated ignites more heat; that’s why an angry person is called hot­headed. Simply take a few deep inhales and exhales to keep your cool, and to respond rather than react.

It’s easy to discover your dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution via this online quiz. But it’s also possible to think about what season you prefer, and if you’d rather be snow skiing or swimming at the beach. Do you love to stay at home, or to travel? These are all clues to what elements are predominant in our life, and how we can stay in balance.

Fall Back to Standard Time - A unique opportunity awaits

This weekend, a unique opportunity awaits if you’ve been trying to create a habit of rising earlier. It’s time to “Fall Back” when Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday November 6 at 2am ET.  For many people, this means enjoying that elusive extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. It gets darker earlier starting Sunday evening, as we “gain” the extra hour of light in the morning. Days continue to shorten until the winter Solstice on December 21st.

Returning to standard time can be a huge opportunity if you’re trying to arise earlier in the morning. What will you do with that extra hour? It can be an ideal time for health promoting practices like meditation, yoga, and breathing.

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Instead of using the extra hour to catch up on your sleep, get up at your typical time on Sunday. If you usually awaken at 7:30am, it will actually be 6:30am "new time". Stick with that time and receive the gift of an entire extra hour every single day. What will you do with an extraordinary 7 hours a week, and 30 hours in a month! If we look at it as “found” time, it means you can rush less, take more time to do things that are important to you, and more taking care of yourself.

If you continue to go to sleep at the same time as before "Fall Back", this strategy won’t be effective, because you’ll be trying to get by on an hour less sleep. Instead, start your evening routine on the earlier side as well. This will be easier over the next few days around the time change, because you’ll be tired earlier. The earlier sunset will be a cue to your body that it’s time to start winding down. Stay in tune, and listen to your body’s messages.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and just do your best, Instead of resisting your body’s messages, honor them, and go to sleep at what was your “old” bedtime (before the time change) as best you can. And instead of sleeping the hour away Sunday morning, use the hour for something you really enjoy!

Here are some interesting facts about the time change.