ME, Myself and I: Surviving Summer

The title feels a bit dramatic but I think it fits anyway. I did originally start this post a while ago when we had that random week of hot weather in the UK but then it went back to the normal British Spring. Now it’s starting to show signs of warming up I thought I’d post this, I bet it starts pouring with rain now I mention heat though.

I do like the Summer, I just wish my body did as well. I’ve never been the best at dealing with hot weather, though I used to be able to wander around in hot days without feeling like I needed to sit down or I was going to faint which is what often happens since having ME. I think it’s my internal thermostat, whatever the medical term is for it, and it seems like as soon as the thermometer hits around 22 degrees C my body decides it’s had enough. Then there are really weird days where it’s hot and I’m there shivering with a jumper on, which did look rather out of place on a beach in Italy at thirty odd degrees.

There are some tips I’ve picked up over the years and things I’ve been recommended from various ME groups and things, one of them I put off way too long and now wish I’d bought years earlier. So here they are, my tips for surviving summer, which also work well for the rest of the year if you overheat easily like me.

Stay in the shade as much as possible, which probably sounds like an obvious thing to do but it can be hard to remember when you’re out. I have tried walking around with an umbrella at times, which can get some odd looks, probably doesn’t help it’s got wellies on it in the middle of summer, but it does help with heat. It doesn’t help with aching muscles though as it does tend to make my arm ache but if you’re sitting down somewhere on the grass then even a normal umbrella can help if you prop it up and lean back under the shade.

Dresses are great for hot days, especially if they’re loose, long and easy to get on and off. They don’t take up much energy with getting dressed in the morning, the same at night and if you’re really exhausted they’re great to sleep in too if they’re not too fiddly with patterns of material. Primark have some great ones in most years and they’re pretty cheap. Skirts also work well, I have a few with either full elastic waists or with a bit of elastic at the back that are so comfy and a loose vest hides the gathered top. I think most people who read my blog are female but if you’re not then loose shirts and shorts could replace this.

Baggy shorts with elastic waistbands are also really good. Most of the same reasons as the dresses and the elastic makes them a lot easier than having buttons to undo and do up all the time. I have a pair I bought from Asos last year in the sale that I’ve been wearing a lot already this year. Another great way of getting shorts to whatever length you want them is to buy a pair of pyjama bottoms and cut them, I only wear mine around the house (mainly because they have rabbits all over) but they’re better and cheaper than a lot of shorts I’ve seen as I can cut them to whatever length I want.

Ice lollies are amazing for keeping cool. I’m not as much of a fan of ice creams and I can’t have much dairy so I tend to stay away but either way I think a nice fruity ice lolly is great. I often end up way too hot in the late evening and have an ice lolly then instead of a hot drink for bed, which sounds weird but it works for me. If buying lots of ice lollies is expensive then there are good ice lolly making kits that you can use for whatever flavours you want, I’ve seen one in Asda recently for around £5 in the camping and outdoor eating bit with the plastic plates.

Always keep a small bottle of drink in the freezer. I tend to stick with water but anything you like works. I’ve recently started using these small 250ml bottles you get soda water in as they don’t take up much room in the fridge, are quick to freeze and defrost fairly quickly too so you get the drink. I used to take one of these to school with me every day in the summer, last year I had one in my bag most days I went out wrapped in some kitchen roll to absorb any condensation. It also works well for cooling you down if you hold the bottle.

Frozen lemon slices are great for adding to drinks, or other frozen fruit as well. Cut them up, put them in a freezer bag and lay them flat on something spread out in the freezer until they’re frozen, then just pick the bag up and they should all stay separate. These add something different to water and the lemon slices have really helped me to drink more water when it’s hot.

It’s good to have a spray bottle of water close by, not great to keep your makeup in place if you wear it but I tend to stay clear of anything like foundation on hot days anyway so it’s not a problem really. Those little bottles you get in travel sets for planes are good but also recycling things like body spray bottles or sample ones for skin care or hair products can work really well and are a good size for your bag. I have used canned water spray and the one from La Roche Posay is really good but a bit expensive for just water. It’s a finer mist and is easier to press down on the spray than the unpressurised ones. I got one in a beauty box last year and liked it so I might get it again, I’ll see what the weather does.

Pocket fans are really useful. I has one for years that finally broke last year that worked really well and had a nice strong breeze when you turned it on. I didn’t realise how much I’d miss it until it was gone, now I’m trying to find one as good but I haven’t yet. Traditional hand fans look nice and work well but these take a lot less effort as long as you remember to take the batteries out when you’re putting it away after summer, I think that’s what finished mine off. Room fans are good for night but I am yet to find one that doesn’t make quite a bit of noise so I’ve got an old one I’ve had for years that’s still going. I have heard good things about the more recent Dyson hoop things but they’re so expensive I’m not sure how worth it they are at the moment and I don’t know anyone who actually has one, it’s just going off reviews online.

A hot water bottle with ice in works quite well. I found a few years ago that if you break ice up small enough to go into the hole of a hot water bottle and there’s a small amount of cold water in it that helps to take the spiky edges off the broken ice this can work really well in the night to help me get to sleep. It doesn’t stay cool for the whole night though so it’s a short term fix but it keeps me cool enough to be able to drift off rather than being stuck awake for hours because of the heat.

The thing I wish I’d bought years ago is my Chillow, this is a link to their site as I think that shows it and explains better than I could. I held off because it seemed so expensive and in the end I bought it on offer on Wowcher with I think 40% off or something similar and it has helped so much. It’s like the feeling you get when you turn the pillow over to the cold side but ten times better. Once you’ve added the water it just stays cold, the chemical reaction that turns heat into cool keeps going. I got mine out again last week after being away in the cupboard for eight or nine months and it’s as good as it was when I put it away. It is very heavy for its size once it’s filled so isn’t the easiest when taking it to other places but I’ve found it works well in the car inside my pillow case with another pillow and can be nice to just put my arms or legs on to give them a bit of a cool down.

And one thing that works well for those days it’s too hot but also those days where your body can’t decide whether it’s hot or cold. Wear layers, thin layers help a lot as you can take off a layer or two and have a vest top or something underneath and you don’t have to worry about it. The other way if you feel cold add a shirt and thin cardigan before a jacket and you can take them off one by one.

These are probably things people are already doing but I thought I’d do this post anyway as I always like finding new ways of keeping cool or products to try. I do have one of those cool sprays but haven’t really got an opinion on it yet, will try it a bit more and see. I feel like I’ve missed something else I do but can’t think what it is, I might come back and edit this post if I remember. If anyone has their tips that they think I’ve missed I’d like to hear them. 🙂

Hope you’re all ok and enjoy the hot weather, if you have it 🙂

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