I don’t know about you but I’m from Jamaica where it is always ALMIGHTY HOT! You’d think I’d be ok with handling these high temperatures. But no…well, yes. Well, the fact is, I knew what it was like to go about doing everything I had to do even in the sweltering heat. In fact, the way I remember it, everyone in Jamaica was always sweating and either leaving the sweat to dry back on their skin or drying the sweat drops with a handy hanky or flannel.
I guess you could say that living in England for the last 13 or so year, I have become acclimatized to it being cold all (or most) of the time. If you ask me which one I prefer, I definitely prefer it being hot, rather than cold. But I’m here still thinking we need tips that are inexpensive ways to deal with the hot weather.
So this week we were warned that the weekend and subsequent days would be extremely hot! Hotter than I had ever felt in this country before means that we have to put some plan and strategies in place to deal with the results of where the mercury was pointing. Here are some of my best tips for you. Oh, I did get a little help from my friends.
According to the NHS (National Health Service) website, some people are more at risk when there is a heatwave. As you can appreciate, this includes the elderly, children, and people with chronic illnesses. You can find some general tips and recommendations here.
Getting outdoors is a good idea but try to avoid the times when it is hottest (between 11 am and 3 pm) if you are easily affected by the effects of the heat. Make sure that if you do go out, that you wear light-colored, loose clothing. You do want to have a little skin exposed so that you are able to produce vitamin D. Darker colors tend to attract the heat. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and some water.
This is a great way to get out and enjoy the sunshine but not too much of it. To avoid the direct rays of the sun (as it has severe consequences for your skin and health), plan your picnic for when it isn’t too hot or when you can get a cool shady spot either under trees or under a gazebo if your park has one.
Don’t worry if you don’t live near the beach. I have been known to create my own built up Jamaican beach in my back garden. In this post, you can see a picture of what it looked like. The neighbors’ kids had a blast too and were quite disappointed when we dismantled the ‘Jamaican beach’ at the end of the summer. I bought all the items from Amazon. These include:
This will need some planning to make sure you are not too hot and bothered. Don’t give yourself too much work to do either, as that would defeat the purpose of having a relaxing day while you enjoy the sun. My favorite kind of barbecue is the drum one like the ones they use in authentic Jamaican jerk cuisine. Try my jerk marinade to prepare your chicken or even vegetables from the night before. Add a few sausages and burgers and create memories for yourself and your loved ones.
It’s natural for most to feel more thirsty when the time is really hot. Make use of the opportunity to top up on your fluid intake but not your sugar levels. My favorite these days are these water bottles that allow you to infuse your favorite herbs and fruits or vegetables. Lemon and mint are my favorite infusions. You can make your own concoctions and tell us how you like them. By the way, do remember to wash them properly in between each use.
To cool your skin down, you can even splash yourself with cool water every now and again. The kids would also love a little paddling pool that will keep them cool while they have fun with their friends.
Prepare cooling salads and platters with fruits in season such as watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, oranges. Ever heard the saying ‘as cool as a cucumber’? Make a salad and include cucumber, tomatoes, and mint for a refreshing meal. In fact, if it gets too hot, what I do first thing in the morning before the heat is on, is to boil some pasta for about 10 to 12 minutes until al dente. When the drained pasta is cooled, I refrigerate it and use it to make salads. That means I do not have to be in the kitchen facing the heat for the rest of the day. All I need are some vegetables, cheese, or cooked meat, and a variety of salad dressings.
Use light colored and light curtains at this time of the year. Pull blinds down if the window is in the direct glare of the sun. If there are awnings and shade coverings on the outside of the windows, make use of them to protect the room from absorbing too much heat.
What if you have to stay indoors (elderly/disabled)
Don’t forget to check up on friends who might not be mobile enough to deal with the weather. Look out for signs of dizziness, excess thirst, and weakness. If you cannot help, then you need to ring the emergency number to get help fast. Be a good neighbor and check up on those who may not be able to help themselves.
Check friends for top tips
I’ve asked my friends, all of whom are mothers, for their top tips for dealing with the heat and here are some of my favorites:
Julie of Filling the Jars, Michigan, USA – sit in front of a bucket of ice with the fan on. Also, close the blinds, depending on the time of day and where the sun is. She also suggests that you use an outdoor grill and set up an outdoor kitchen for the crockpot and roaster oven.
My friend Michele of Michele’s Finding Happiness, Virginia, USA suggests that you use a window exhaust fan to pull in the cool evening air. She further suggests that you find a state or national parks and take a dip in a lake or river if it is allowed. Don’t forget to stay safe though, so look out for signs regarding what is allowed and what isn’t, and water depths etc.
My friend Heather loves to stay indoors all day with the air conditioning on until the sun goes down. This did surprise me as I thought that would be way too expensive but she assures me that it is the standard in some parts of the USA, even in government subsidized housing. “Of course”, she says, “it gets really hot here”!
Keli, the author behind Keligooch.com, in Tennessee agrees with Heather and says “Down here in TN for us too- definitely the norm and we have programs for those who can’t afford AC”. Keli also adds that she would suggest that you take the kids to the library where it’s cool, sip a cool icy or popsicle, a slip and slide for the kids while you sit under a shade tree or a good ole sprinkler on the lawn. I personally love the sprinkler on the lawn idea, don’t you?
Another good idea is suggested by my friend Bethany “I keep a $1 spray bottle with me full of water. When I’m not using it, I pop it in the fridge for next time I have to leave the house”. I’m loving this idea as it is really inexpensive and also a no brainer.
Dahlia in Connecticut suggests that if you do have to go out on the street, that you take breaks by going into public buildings that are air conditioned. Schedule these breaks, have a look around, and then resume your business. Some malls, according to Dahlia, are air conditioned, so you can get out of your hot house and have a wander around the mall.
My list of tips for managing the hot weather is not at all exhaustive. I’d sure like to hear from you about some of the things you do to cope. Share them in the comments below, and don’t forget to look out for others.