Being mindful in the heat
How can we be more mindful in warmer weather? You may be noticing tempers flaring as temperatures rise this week, due to a high pressure system which is pushing across the UK and Europe, bringing with it much warmer weather than we are used to.
When we aren’t typically used to this type of weather, we often try to keep moving along in our usual routine without making some necessary changes to look after our wellbeing. If we don’t adapt to the change in weather, we may find that life becomes more challenging!
Here are some ways to be more mindful in the heat:
- Be present and breathe fully
- Allow your experience to be as it is
- Slow down: take some mindful action
Be present and breathe fully
Pause and tune in to your experience in this moment. Notice that you might be feeling more tired, or frustrated and irritable, or perhaps your mind is very busy. These are all very normal things to experience in the heat. When our lungs are working harder to keep our bodies cool, we use more energy and we tend to feel more tired as a result. Allow yourself to breathe as fully as you can. Take a long slow inhale and a long slow exhale, without judging your breathing for being too short or too shallow.
If your mind is racing between past and future, being present for a few moments can help to slow things down a little, without trying to get rid of your thoughts. You might try closing your eyes, if it feels comfortable, and simply listen to the sounds around you for a few moments. Or take off your shoes and stand outdoors, noticing any sensations you can feel in the soles of your feet.
Allow your experience to be as it is
It can feel uncomfortable to have a very busy mind, or to feel too warm, or to feel frustrated and irritable. However, when we allow these experiences to be present, without struggling, we actually conserve some energy. You might imagine allowing your mind to drop the struggle and to rest; a little like lying back and floating on a lilo, instead of swimming lengths. By opening up to your experience and letting it be, you can start to think about some tiny action steps you might take to support yourself and others around you right now.
Slow down: take some mindful action
Throughout the day, we engage in a series of nourishing and depleting activities. Some of the actions we take will boost our energy whilst other behaviours will leave us feeling depleted. When the weather becomes warmer, we may need to revisit our routine activities, rest more and plan to do things differently. For example, going for a walk outdoors or cycling may usually be a nourishing part of your day but doing this in the heat could be very exhausting. For those on school holidays, taking your kids outdoors for the day can seem like a healthy option but by the end of a long, hot day everyone can feel very drained and fed-up!
Staying closer to home (or even staying indoors), taking public transport (at quieter times of the day), or driving with air-con on (especially for younger children) can be more helpful than trying to walk long distances in the heat. If you need to go out, perhaps you could plan a shorter trip rather than an all-day event which might push everyone to their limits!
If you’re working, it may be more productive to work from home. Trying to negotiate busy public transport, or driving in the heat, can cause your energy levels to plummet. Keep hydrated and if you’re out and about with young children, bring cold drinks to keep everyone cool. Keeping an ice box in the boot with cold drinks and snacks is a good idea if you’re driving.
In the heat, we can become more reactive to other people. Tantrums and arguments aren’t just confined to the younger members of the family! Arguing and holding on to frustration, anger and grudges will also drain your energy. Take deep breaths and step away from challenging situations to have some alone time if you can. Understand that others are struggling with the heat too, so perhaps aren’t acting at their best right now.
Slow down, notice what you can let go of, and don’t feel that you have to do it all!