For a Texas girl plunked down on the Aegean coast, complaining about 36 degree weather seems wimpy. After all, where I grew up, temperatures soared above 40degrees for days on end.
But that was with central air conditioning.
One of the realities of life in Turkey is no central air AC. I know I should be thankful for the wall units we turn on for a few hours to fall asleep at night, but lately I’ve had a bad case of the “hot grouchies.” That’s what I call the complaining, irritable spirit that sets in after I’ve melted onto the kitchen floor with no energy to do anything by 9:00 a.m.
How to cope? Every summer I’m faced with the choice: Will I let the hot grouchies take over or will I make up my mind to enjoy a slower pace? I try to take lessons from nationals on how to embrace the summer slow life.
Here are some ways that I cope with the summer heat:
1. Get enough sleep
Turks stay up later in the summer, and so do my kids, which translates to a later bedtime for me. To survive, I allow myself to sleep in a bit every morning. Some afternoons, I take a nap. It helps me make it through the day, and keeps everyone happier. Believe me.
2. Let go of a clean house
We keep windows open, so inevitably the house gets dusty. I can either sweat and fret trying to keep things clean, or I can imitate my neighbor and say magnanimously, “In this house we don’t do cleaning in the summer.” I try not to go beyond minimum standards for keeping the house liveable.
3. Simplify meals
We eat lots of Mediterranean style cold vegetable salads in olive oil and fresh fruits. And isn’t ice cream one of the major groups on the food pyramid?
4. Get outside at night.
Turks eat dinner on their balconies, and even sleep there. The parks are full at 11:00 p.m. Adults drink their evening tea on picnic blankets and watch the kids play. I can learn from that!
5. Let myself just “be”
Instead of striving to stay productive during the afternoon hours, I let go of long “to-do” lists and take time to lay down with a book, write a letter, play a game with my son, or let my daughter fix my hair.
6. Take time for creative pursuits
Now is a great time for me to work on writing and complete my long dreamed of project of going through our digital photos to have some printed.
7. Spend extra time with God
A great thing about time with God is that you don’t have to work up a sweat to do it. You can rest and have your mind renewed at the same time. Nothing changes my attitude like sitting down for 5 minutes to pray or read scripture on a hot afternoon. This is my most important heat beating strategy.
What are your strategies for coping with the heat?