Have you heard about the “heat dome” invading the Pacific Northwest? They are experiencing record-breaking temperatures. For example, the temperature reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit Monday in Portland, Ore., and it has been as high as 117 in Seattle.
That part of the country is cooking. Although we here in Central Texas have not experienced temperatures in this range, I do feel like I am cooking when I go outside in these Texas summers.
In fact, recently I have been saying that I feel like a vampire in the movies when I step out into the sun. My number one priority is to get into a cooled building with AC. I, like many others, were unsettled when we were asked to turn our thermostats up to conserve electricity a few weeks ago.
Yes, the heat can make us feel miserable. The effects of the heat are not just physical though. Heat can trigger frustration, irritability, impatience, and even aggression. Research shows that increases in temperatures coincide with rises in the incidences of aggressive behavior, including road rage and violence. The impacts of this state of mind are far-reaching but can be mitigated.
So what can we do to “beat the heat?” Not to oversimplify things, but there are a few things that can be helpful during these hot summer days.
First and foremost, awareness is key. We need to be aware that we all are prone to feeling more irritable, frustrated, and impatient and that often our responses to others, especially those close to us, may be less than optimal. Being aware of this allows us to give grace to ourselves and others when this presents in our relationships and interpersonal interactions.
Second, recognize the impact and take care of yourself in order to minimize the effects of the heat. You can do this by keeping yourself hydrated, dressing appropriately, getting plenty of rest, wearing protective sunscreen, and eating healthy nutritional foods.
Last, but not the least of importance, have fun! Limit the time you spend in the direct sunlight as it can also drain your energy. Plan to do things when the sun is not at the hottest point of the day but maybe earlier or later in the day. You can cool off by getting an icy treat at Bahama Bucks, Coco’s, or Helados La Azteca or by visiting Hawaiian Falls, Lake Waco, or one of our many local splash pads. You can also have fun inside! Most businesses are fully open now. Enjoy dining out, bowling, skating, shopping, and/or going to the movies.
It is also a neat idea and a kind gesture to leave coolers with water bottles out for mail carriers, delivery services, trash pick-up, or lawn care staff. We need to take care of ourselves and one another to beat this heat.