I love the sun. I love heat. I am a complete sun worshipper. However, my mental health really seems to take a dive in this heatwave weather. That’s why this post 5 Tips for coping in the heat when you have mental health issues popped into my mind. If I struggle then other people are probably struggling too.
I’m sure that may sound a bit stupid to some people (ungrateful even?) but it honestly makes everything so much harder and it all just feels too much.
I was saying to a friend the other day that if it was this hot on holiday then great! I could lay by the pool, take a dip when needed, go back to the air conditioned room if it all got too much. Nothing was really expected of me and I could relax. However, when it’s a heatwave at home you don’t get that. You still have the school run to contend with. You still have the housework, the cooking, the usual day to day work and plus this country is just not equipped for this kind of weather. We have 3 fans pushing around hot air in our house and it just doesn’t cut it! Plus it makes babies miserable. My 6 month old has struggled quite a bit. Not eating because he’s too hot, then being up all night to top up. Not napping as hes too hot then crying and whinging – even screaming – all day. Enough to make anyone get stressed out!
When it’s this hot it does also make it difficult to do things with the kids outside. H often asks to go to the park or scooter ride etc and that’s great as he loves being outdoors but I have to limit his time as he will just keep on running around until he collapses!
I’m not trying to make this a ‘moaning about the weather’ post I’m just letting you know that it can be difficult, even when you don’t suffer with your mental health it can be difficult. I will give you my top 5 Tips for coping in the heat when you have mental health issues but they may also help you if you don’t!
5 Tips for coping in the heat when you have mental health issues
- Leave the housework! A weird one to start with but an important one for me. I am a perfectionist plus my mental health issues beat down on me that if I don’t have a completely spotless house then I am a failure! I don’t mean that you have to live in complete squalor but don’t panic if you can’t polish, or you’re too hot to iron or hoover. Just think about what’s essential and do those few things earlier or later in the day when it’s cooler. For me, I know the dishwasher needs to filled and emptied, the baby bottles washed and sterilised and I need to do a load of washing each day to make sure we actually have clothes to wear. Along with making breakfast lunch and dinner and looking after both boys that’s all the I can safely fit in some days when the weather is this hot, without making myself ill. And you know what – that is OK!
- Cook easier meals. I like to make most dinners from scratch. It’s just what I’ve always done. Although in this heat it is so hard to even think about doing that, so I have had to change what we are eating the last few weeks to make things a little easier on me. I often do roasted vegetables and couscous for example. My husband and son love it and its so easy. Easier still, salad. Make it exciting by adding lots of different things, rice, couscous, coleslaw, potatoes, the list is endless. Healthy, quick and super easy. When I have had a few particularly tough days we have of course had chips, pizza, beans on toast or even takeaways. You have to judge how you feel. I have had days where I called my husband to say pick something up on the way home for my son as I am struggling to cope and I know having to cook dinner could push me over the edge. This heatwave won’t last forever so a few weeks of different food is ok of it makes you feel less stressed or on edge.
- Stay cool as much as possible. An obvious one I know but in this country we feel we have to be in the sun as much as humanly possible. Because we know it will be winter soon and we will be moaning about the rain and how cold it is. I am included in this. However, I can’t be like that now as I have two children. Before it wouldn’t matter if i stayed in the sun all day and exhausted myself because I could relax and go to bed early etc but I have to be mummy, feeding, rocking, playing, changing etc etc and you just can’t do that when you’re boiling hot and exhausted without feeling like crap and in my case getting very snappy and very moody! Not fair on my boys at all, so I have to stay cool, keeping all the blinds and curtains shut at home, ice ice and more ice! Cold hot water bottles (fill with cold water put in freezer and then leave on the bed so when you and the kids get in it’s so lovely and you get off to sleep much more easily.) Baby wipes in the fridge is another fab tip. Use to freshen yourself up and the kids during the day.
- Stay hydrated. I know it might seem like another obvious one but it seems to be one of the things that I forget most. I always get terrible headaches which leave me feeling really crap and means I am feeling mentally rubbish as well as physically rubbish. I am constantly following my son round with a water bottle telling him to drink. But I am rubbish – I do have to force myself to drink water, squash etc as I do neglect myself – “As long as everyone else is ok, I’ll manage!” when in fact I don’t and it effects the entire family when I neglect myself so staying hydrated is super important. It not only keeps your body functioning properly but your brain too!
- Be realistic! You’re not going to be able to do all of the things you usually do. You can’t and shouldn’t do it all. If you try you will exhaust yourself and run yourself down. Be realistic with yourself about how much you can cope with day to day. Looking after your mental health is not selfish. You will not be doing anyone a disservice by looking after yourself. In fact you will be a better person to your friends and family by resting and taking things slowly when you need too.
It is hard admitting that you find this weather difficult because you’re seen as a grump or miserable. Which simply isn’t true or fair. This weather makes it harder to socialise and makes me hate my body image even more too. It’s honestly a hard time of year for me.
Like I said I love the sunshine but I have to take things easy sometimes and think of how it will effect me if I don’t.
I looks like this sunshine is set to stay so enjoy it but stay safe and do what you need to do to stay well.
Lots of love,