Umbrellas? Check. Scarves? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Hats? Check. Coconuts? Check. Watermelon? Check. Does it feel like the sun is drinking every bit of energy you have? Oh yes, then it’s definitely summer. Being in India, summer isn’t something we look forward to especially if we are done with school. (Right, we at least have a summer break in school). If you are in college like me, your mind voice is probably “Arghhhhhh, these dreadful exams and these loooong lectures. The sweat and the heat!! I just want to sleep”. Right, the summer can get the worst out of you but if I were to give you a few reasons on why we need summer and suggest a few ways by which you can cope with the heat, would you consider embracing it?
Why do we need summer?
I believe you are familiar with the concept of summer. It is a term coined to describe the duration in which a place receives direct sunlight. Sunlight is one of the essential components for life on earth.
The sun is a hot surface. Any hot surface emits energy in some form (either as visible light, or infrared rays or ultraviolet rays). The hotter the surface is, the brighter the radiation will be. Why do we need it?
Photosynthesis requires sunlight
- The plants produce food through a process called photosynthesis.
- Oxygen, which is the element we breathe, a life supporting element, is a by-product of this process.
- Also, the plant only lives when the sunlight falls on it. Most of our energy comes from plants. They are the producers and we are the consumers. Without the producers, the consumers would perish.
- As the sunlight falls on the ground, the ground begins to heat up.
- We know that anything that is hot, radiates energy.
- Since the energy emitted by the ground is small, it falls in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Few gases such as water molecules, carbon-dioxide, methane absorb the IR radiations from the ground and don’t let the heat escape into space, thus, forming a blanket.
- This maintains the temperature even at night when there is an absence of sunlight.
Changes in weather
- When the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb the IR radiations, it becomes hot.
- The hot air weighs less and rises and floats and moves around.
- The rising hot air expands and the expansion cools it down. This is the reason for the fluctuation in weather.
Now your question would be, why is the heat so scorching if it’s meant to help us survive and maintain a balance in the atmosphere? You are right. It is supposed to maintain the balance but we, humans, have triggered an imbalance. Go back to point 2 and reflect upon it. We, humans, produce so much carbon-dioxide on an everyday basis and then go on cutting trees which absorb them. The level of generation of the greenhouse gases has exceeded the level of gases that can be absorbed. Ergo, increased level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be seen. More greenhouse gases mean more trapping of heat, hence making winters hotter and summers almost intolerable. Only if we understood that the earth doesn’t need us to survive, we would be treating it better and stop the inhumane treatment.
Now that we have created an imbalance, we must also learn to live with heat until our body starts adapting to this change. Here are a few ways to keep you surviving through summer:
- They are 90% water making them the excellent fruit to take a bite during summer.
- For all those who are aiming to shed a few pounds, this is the right fruit. It’s low in calories.
- It also lowers your blood pressure and keeps you hydrated.
Drink the magic potion
- Water is the magic potion. The obvious and yet we don’t drink enough.
- We tend to sweat a lot during summer and hence dehydration isn’t a surprise guest.
- Forget the 8 glasses of water per day! Drink as much water as your body requires. Look out for the signs of dehydration such as dry lips, body heat, headache etc.
- Thirst isn’t the only cue for you to drink water.
- Drinking enough water will make your skin glow.
Wear light coloured clothes and sunglasses
- Basic physics! Dark colours absorb more light, and hence, more heat. So to feel less heat, opt for lighter shades.
- Exposure to UV rays from the sun is the major cause for cataract. Always protect your eyes with sunglasses.
- Also, apply sunscreen with an appropriate SPF depending on your duration of stay in the sun. It protects your skin and inhibits signs of ageing
Ice on pulse points
- Your pulse points are the places when you can feel the pulse, that is, the blood vessels are close to skin in this region.
- Cooling them down will give your whole body an instant cooling effect.
So these are the pulse points:
- The easiest way to cool your body would be to apply ice on these pulse points.
- A cold shower would cover them all giving you a feeling of rejuvenation.
- In case you have had exposure to the sun for a long time, and you can feel your skin burning, aloe vera can be your saviour.
- It’s a natural aid for sunburn, so all you have to do is apply its gel on your skin.
Use the summer as a way to break your laziness. You can’t give yourself the same old excuse (“It’s raining outside or it’s too cold”) to skip a workout in the morning anymore.
Get off your bed and get moving.
Take the necessary precautions, and embrace this season like you’d embrace every other season. After all, we are the ones to have created this imbalance and made the heat intolerable. Let’s go natural and adopt healthy ways of coping with the heat this summer and reduce the dependency on air conditioners to save ourselves from the harm it causes in a long-term and to save the earth.