Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

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?


Choate Family said...

Your list is great! Good for you for being flexible and coming up for grace filled air.

Cindy in PA said...

You had me confused for a minute because I was thinking Fahrenheit and I'm guessing you're talking about Celsius! How I cope with summer heat is central air conditioning or a swimming pool! Thanks for the great coping suggestions for the summer. Blessings!

Alida said... is hot there!

I love your list. We cope with the heat in similar ways...I don't always cook hot meals when it is hot here. And we don't have air conditioning either so I have to have a fan on at all times to make it bearable.

TJ said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I understand fighting being grouchy when it is hot. I have taken up crochet this summer since it is a more stationary activity. I also always enjoy the extra time to read since during the school year I am teaching. One fun thing we are doing this summer is seeing what kinds of ice teas we can make with the tea found where we live and sometimes adding different fruit juices.

OliveTree said...

I'm definitely talking about Celsius, Cindy! Sorry about the confusion.

Iagree Alida, a fan helps. I use mine all the time, and TJ, that is a GREAT IDEA about making different iced teas. Do you have any recipe?

Kris Thede said...

Fan, extra prayer as you noted..and truthfully we do school. Keeps us focused on something else but on really hot days we drop a few things and read under the fan. Lots of national visitors this month which helps break up the routine. WISH we had ice cream...but will enjoy that in the fall while in the USA. Thankful for our solar power, refrigeration, and in-door running water-none of which our neighbors have! Glad to catch up on your life again...and glad you have the wedding duties not me! Fauche.