Resilience is our ability to bounce back from life’s challenges and unforeseen difficulties, providing mental protection from emotional and mental disorders. – Michael Rutter
As much as most of us love the Summer heat, it isn’t always as pleasant if you have to work through it. sitting in the park in the sunlight at the weekend in your shorts and t-shirt with a few friends a cold box full of cold drinks is one thing… but sitting behind a laptop trying to think straight or going about a very physical day of work is quite another when the heat is turned p to 11.
Resilience is key to a healthy work-life, and relentless days of heat can make that resilience harder to find. So, if you are struggling in the summer heat whilst at work, you may find that one or two of these reminders and tips might help you to hold some resilience together!
1. Dress For Low Stress
It might be that your workplace has a strict dress code. However, if there is more flexibility in what you can wear, make sure you wear clothing that is not only comfortable but also professional. I know that, early in the pandemic, I worked in pyjamas, essentially. This was all very well, but I was much more productive when I dressed properly. So, even if you do head in shorts and a t-shirt, make sure that you dress with purpose and productivity in mind.
It sounds obvious, but I know from personal experience that it is really easy to forget to drink water. So, if you don’t already, get yourself a decent water bottle, and keep in close proximity at all times. If you need encouragement to drink more water, why not stick a little fruit inside it. My personal favourite is watermelon and mint.
The heat drains much more energy from us than we might realise, so it is important to keep energy up if your resilience is to last the day. Fruit is ideal as it is cool, often crunchy and vibrant, and gives your body a natural sugar kick that should boost you into your next task.
4. Take A Moment
You may need more breaks when it is hot. Be aware of this and don’t be proud about ‘powering through’. If anything, breaks make you more resilient and more productive. There is no use trying to set your brain to a task if is blocking you. Take a moment, find a cool and quiet space away from your activity, hydrate, and give your brain a chance to settle and reset. I guarantee that whatever it is that you are working on at the time will click along at a much easier rate than it did before when you return.
5. Manage Your Personal Expectations
Working when it is hot can be really hard. You might be able to work at the rate that you always do, so be aware and comfortable with the fact that you might not manage this on a really hot day. Pushing yourself too far will essentially do more bad than good, so pace yourself and try not to hold yourself to your usual standard if you are having a tough day. It’s ok to have a tough day.
6. Avoid Midday Work
If at all possible, and this goes doubly for anybody who works outside, avoid working during the hottest part of the day. This, generally speaking, is midday, when the sun is highest in the sky. There is a good reason why some countries traditionally take a nap during the middle of the day! So, if you are lucky enough to be able to select your own working hours, you may find that you get more done when you work earlier in the morning and/or later in the evening.
7. Ways To Cool a Room Down
Maybe you already do these things, maybe you don’t. But, here are a few sure-fire ways to get the temperature of your workspace down a bit!
Close the blinds.
As much as it is lovely and uplifting to have the sunlight blaring through your window, or to have a lovely Summery scene to cast your eye over during moments of thought, sunlight and windows can a very warm room make. So, as much as possible, close those blinds and draw those curtains in order to minimise the glare from the glorious sun.
Buy a fan.
Fans are not pricey and really are an absolute joy when you are overheating. I feel like I don’t need to overstate this one too much… indeed, this is what fans are built for! All I’m saying is, if you don’t have one, I’m pretty sure you won’t regret going out and buying one.
Switch off surplus technology.
We often forget how much technology is running in our homes and workplaces. Computers, printers, photocopiers… anything like this, all produce heat. Mix that with body heat and the heat from the actual weather, then you end up with a very sweaty room. So, if you can, ensure that any tech that is not currently being used is switched off. P.S… this is also ecologically responsible, so… double-positive there!
By Chris Thomson
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