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Embracing the Summer Heat: Building Resilience One Degree at a Time

5 Tips to Keep Cool this Summer

This blog is about how the intense summer heat can actually serve as an opportunity for personal growth and building resilience. It discusses the physical adaptation our bodies go through in response to heat, the mental and emotional resilience that can be nurtured, and the self-care practices that help us stay cool and composed. The blog emphasizes the importance of embracing the challenges that come with the summer heat and finding joy in the warmth, ultimately aiming to shift our perspective on this season and encourage a positive mindset.

Holy Cows, It’s HOT! I’m not sure if Holy Cows is a common expression, and I learned it from my grandmother (who was quite a southern lady). This summer reminds me of when I was a kid, and more specifically, the time that I spent with my grandmother in the hot southern summers.

The scorching heat often leaves us feeling drained and exhausted. However, instead of viewing the summer heat as something negative, we can shift our mindset and see it as an opportunity to build our resiliency. My grandmother would ask me to feel the heat and tell her where I sensed it in my body. That was one of the first exercises that helped to build my resiliency.

Resiliency is defined as the ability to bounce back and recover from challenges or setbacks. Just as we strengthen our muscles through exercise, the summer heat can act as a challenge that helps us develop and strengthen our resilience. We are all getting a chance to develop this skill this summer as the heat wave is a global condition touching almost everyone.

When we face extreme heat, our bodies go through a natural process of adaptation. We begin to sweat, allowing our bodies to cool down and regulate our internal temperature. This natural response builds our resiliency as we learn to adapt to the heat and still function effectively. When we allow this process to move through our bodies without fighting it, we can actually allow natural flow, and we find some coolness there.

In addition to the physical adaptation, embracing the summer heat can also help build our mental and emotional resilience. By learning to stay calm and composed in challenging conditions, we cultivate a sense of inner strength and confidence in our ability to handle difficult situations. Think about the last time you got upset and how you felt heat in your body. I remember last week I had a “heated” conversation, and I definitely felt heat flowing up into my face and head. If we remain a bit calmer in those times, then we can lower the heat that can build up inside our bodies.

The summer heat can also provide an opportunity for practicing self-care. It reminds us to slow down, take breaks, and prioritize our well-being. Whether it's finding shade, staying hydrated, or enjoying a refreshing cold treat, these small acts of self-care can help us recharge and boost our resilience. I have found that if I go outside after 5:30 in the evening, then I can catch a breeze and find delight, despite the heat. My glass of lemon water (or the occasion chardonnay) helps keep me hydrated and is most enjoyable.

Moreover, the summer heat encourages us to find creative solutions to stay cool and comfortable. We become resourceful in seeking out shade, carrying a portable fan, or wearing light and breathable clothing. This ability to adapt and find innovative ways to cope with the heat can translate into other areas of our lives, as we learn to find solutions to various challenges. I work in a warehouse and am outside a lot helping my Delivery Associates load their van, make deliveries and stay safe in the heat. Cooling scarves, large thermos bottles, and insulated lunch bags are a few items that help keep us cool.

As we navigate the summer heat, it's important to cultivate a positive mindset. Instead of becoming frustrated or irritable, we can choose to embrace the warmth and find joy in the season. Basking in the sun can elevate our mood, boost our vitamin D levels, and increase our overall sense of well-being. It is hot, and it is going to stay hot for a while still. When we set our minds to embrace the sensation rather than fighting it, we allow for a much better experience.

Furthermore, the summer heat teaches us to appreciate the little things. The feeling of cool water on our skin, the taste of a refreshing popsicle, or the relief we find in a breezy evening can all bring us a sense of gratitude and contentment. By cultivating gratitude, we strengthen our emotional well-being and build resilience in the face of challenges. It is simply amazing the opportunities that we have to find gratitude even in the hottest of moments.

Finally, the summer heat serves as a reminder that challenging times will pass. Just as the heatwave eventually gives way to cooler days, any difficulties we encounter in life are temporary. By remaining patient and calm during the heat, we can practice the same patience and resilience during trying times, trusting that they too shall pass. Connecting with that calm, caring, curious self that lives within all of us serves us so well.

I am grateful for those southern summers spending time with my amazing grandmother. She showed me that we are able to live in peace and harmony with nature. The daily routines and experiences are the same regardless of the weather. It is our mind and attention that determines how we experience each situation allowing the summer heat to be an opportunity for personal growth, resilience, and self-care. By embracing the challenges it presents and finding joy in its warmth, we can build our mental, emotional, and physical resilience. So, the next time you feel the intense heat, remember to stay cool, stay positive, and embrace the summer as a chance to grow stronger.

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