How to Survive Summer

The summer months here in the Philippines are technically April and May, though a good argument could be made for most of the year. I have been hearing of the dreaded summer heat since coming to the Philippines and was a little nervous considering most days were already pretty toasty. However, I started to finally notice the imminent season when I began not sleepin well during the night. At first I did not credit my insomnia to the weather, because my body just goes through these phases, but after a friend mentioned he had not been sleeping well due to the heat I realized my fate. I contacted another volunteer just to be sure and she mentioned she had not been using a fan during the “winter” months of January and February to prepare for summer and she was also struggling. Not only did my level of respect increase towards her and her beast-like commitment, but I also felt certain summer was indeed upon us and had begun by taunting me at night.

I am now about half-way through the two hottest months of the year (supposedly) and have gained a few tricks for survival, most of which I have picked up from my dear Filipinos who I should have been paying more attention to earlier. They really are the professionals for enduring the heat and their practices have become dear to my heart.

Summer in the sun with Rose Ann. I went back into the shade after this photo.
Summer in the sun with Rose Ann. I went back into the shade after this photo.

The first trick I took from my fellow volunteer and I will call it The Fan Trick. Up until recently I would keep a fan pointed directly at my person on level 2 almost constantly at home and at work. I have now adjusted this so the fan is on level 1 and rotating around the room. It is helping my body adjust to the heat during the day, but ultimately helping me sleep at night. When I lay down for bed and crank the fan up to level 2 pointing straight at me it now feels amazing instead of just the norm.

The Bathing Trick is next and it is crucial. Before summer I would take a bath in the evenings close to bedtime, but still with plenty of time to read afterwards before falling asleep. This is no longer the case. Bathing is the best way to cool down your entire body; it is the moment during the entire day that you feel refreshed and empowered (I say empowered because it is also the only time when you are wet because you chose to be). Given this, my bath is now approximately 30 seconds before I go to bed. Between my body cooled off and Level 2 on the fan I am sleeping much better.

  • Here I would like to offer a trick within a trick: The Soap Trick. I had no idea that the kind of soap I used would directly correlate with how long I stayed cooled off after the bath. Enter Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap. You know when you eat a York Peppermint Patty and your mouth has that cooling sensation without the candy actually being cool? This is what my body feels like after my bath. You’re welcome.

In relation to this I would also like to suggest The Nap Trick which is only helpful on weekends, because it involves taking a nap during the hottest part of the day between 1 and 3 o’clock in the afternoon. To make the most of the napping experience it is also best paired with a bath beforehand. It really is too hot to do much of anything else anyway.

Another trick directly from Filipinos is The Umbrella Trick. Never ever, for goodness sake, ever leave the house without an umbrella. Not only is it handy to have in case of rain, but it is also a great protector from the sun. I use it every day while walking up my hill to work and it is essential.

My final tip is The Sarong Tip. My sarong is one of my all-time favorite items because it has so many uses, which I will not cover all of at the moment, but one refreshing method is to get it slightly damp and then use it as a light blanket for sleeping or to throw over your shoulders during the day to cool you off (getting a fan involved is even better). Mostly, I will just use the sarong wrapped around myself when I am at home in order to wear something light and flowy and it works great.

These are the main tricks I use to keep cool during the summer, along with drinking my weight in water, but that is more of basic human survival. I hope it was informative and helpful. Peace out (I am going to go take a bath then a nap),

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