Erin Capina, 127 YinD
It is hot and it is only going to get hotter as Thailand is currently in the midst of its longest heatwave in 65 years. Most Volunteers are not lucky enough to have air conditioning in their homes so how do they survive the hot season without turning into farang puddles? Read on to learn some tips to surviving hot season if you are not fortunate enough to have air conditioning in your home.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It goes without saying that as the mercury increases you should increase your liquid intake and no, increasing your alcohol intake does not count. Alcohol is a diuretic so instead of helping to keep you hydrated alcohol will instead help dehydrate you. Choose water over sugary drinks, sugary drinks add unnecessary calories to your daily diet. Similarly, if you are not doing high-intensity workouts for an hour or more during the peak of the daytime heat you should limit your sports drink intake. While these drinks can replace electrolytes, fluids, and carbs lost during exercise they are just another source of sugar and calories for people not actively engaging in high-intensity workouts.
Embrace the slow life
Unfortunately for us, the high daytime temperatures and the oppressive heat coincide with normal working hours when we are supposed to be productive. Instead of going ahead and holding activities at the height of the daytime heat, an excellent way to guarantee that no one will show up, schedule them for earlier or later in the day when it is not as oppressive, everyone will appreciate this (yourself included). If you cannot get around scheduling activities during extremely hot periods then try modifying your activities so that they are less active or they are shorter so that participants are more comfortable. If possible see if you can put off the more active portions or the more important portions to a later date when it will not be as hot, or when you have access to air conditioning, so that your participants are more attentive and cooperative.
What should you do with all this new free time created by moving activities? Well, perhaps Spain is onto something with the idea of siestas…
Get a fan, or two
The majority of us are not lucky enough to live in homes with air conditioning, for those lucky Volunteers who do have air conditioning you have our envy, so how do we survive? The answer: a fan, possibly more than one. When you lack air conditioning then your best friend is the humble fan. Pointing the fan at yourself, or perhaps pointing multiple fans at yourself, will provide you with some relief from the heat. Certainly a fan will help you sleep at night.
Embrace walking umbrellas
I admit, coming from America where umbrellas are used mainly for rainy days the idea of a “walking umbrella”, seemed rather ridiculous but then I encountered the intensity of the Thai sun. All of the sudden the idea of carrying a walking umbrella no longer seemed so preposterous. At its heart a walking umbrella is no different from a sun hat, just larger and without the side effect of hat hair. If you still cannot get behind the idea of a walking umbrella then perhaps a baseball cap or a hat instead?
During hot season it is not uncommon for Thais to take a bucket shower multiple times a day to cool off. Admittedly, this approach may seem self-defeating since minutes after you leave the bathroom you are once again drenched in sweat. But, it can give you some temporary relief from the heat. Even if it is only a temporary measure, no one can argue with feeling sweat free and clean. Chris Harmatta, a 127 Volunteer, suggests bathing with clothes on, then sitting in front of a running fan to extend the cool feeling until you are completely dry.
Prickly heat cooling powder
Before coming to Thailand most of us had never heard of Prickly Heat cooling powder but during pre-service training we all quickly embraced prickly heat because of it cooling properties, a welcomed sensation after arriving to the training hub sweaty from bike rides.
Find a 7-11
If all else fails you can take a trip to the closest 7-11, mini Tesco, Tesco Lotus, Big C, or really any air conditioned store/café and enjoy some air conditioning for a bit