My family and I are back home from Turkey spending our first summer stateside in years. Right now we’re on a road trip: Knoxville, Tennessee tonight, and Washington, D.C. tomorrow.
July also marks the one year anniversary for Faith Spilling Over, so I’m pulling up one of my first posts from last July to give you a taste of our normal Turkish summers:
For a Texas girl plunked down on the Aegean coast, complaining about 95° weather seems wimpy. After all, where I grew up, temperatures soared above 105° for days on end.
One of the realities of my life in the Middle East is no central 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?
But that was with central air conditioning.
Here are some ways that I cope with the summer heat:
1. Get enough sleep
Middle Easterners 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
You may be dealing with kids who make more messes since they’re home from school all summer. At our house we keep windows open, so the house gets dusty. I try not to go beyond minimum standards for keeping the house liveable. 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.”
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.
In our part of the globe, people eat dinner on their balconies. 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 to stay indoors and work on long dreamed of projects, like organizing your family’s digital photos and having 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.
What are your strategies for coping with summer heat?