Those who are living with chronic illnesses know just what an impact the weather can have on how you feel. While the warmer weather might be beneficial for those dealing with inflammation-related issues like arthritis, having a chronic illness in general can make you more sensitive to extreme heat (not to mention thanks to the medication that you might be taking). Certain chronic illnesses such as POTS can also cause heat intolerance, meaning that heat can make symptoms worse. If you're feeling especially uncomfortable, these tips can help to make the next heat wave a little more manageable.
Quite inexpensive, chill towels can do wonders for helping to lower your body temperature, and will retain their coolness longer than a regular washcloth. Try using a cooling towel on the back of your neck or tied around your wrists to help cool your body down. A cooling eye mask can also be helpful for provide relief if you're also dealing with headaches (heat-related or not!). If you'd like to take the cool packs up a notch, you can also try hot and cold wraps and packs, which are filled with lavender to promote relaxation and provide a gentle, calming pressure. You can keep them in the freezer to use them during the warmer months of the year, and then pop them in the microwave to use as a soothing heat pack in the fall and winter.
Keep Your Bed Cool
Even those who don't have to deal with symptoms of chronic illness know just how uncomfortable it can be to try and sleep in the heat! In addition to fans and other attempts to keep your bedroom cool, you can focus in on using breathable sheets and opt for mattress toppers and pillows with cooling gel. Try this LUCID Memory Mattress topper, which will also help keep your body supported during sleep, and the Purple pillow, which has a grid pattern to help dissipate body heat and keep you feeling cool.
Use Refreshing Body Products
Although it might seem a little less obvious, using refreshing essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender can have a cooling and calming effect on your body. Try Meadowlark Botanical's Cooling After-Sun Spray, which contains peppermint and lavender essential oils as well as healing aloe vera and arnica, and can be stored in the fridge for a refreshing spritz. If you'd like to incorporate cooling essential oils into your self-care routine, try Celestial Living's Cooling Facial Massage Oil, Badger Face Beauty's Peppermint Massage Bar, or The Bee Hive's Cooling and Soothing Foot Massage Oil.
Certain chronic illnesses can increase the risk of becoming dehydrated, plus there's the fact that simply not feeling well can make it more difficult to eat and drink can make you more prone to dehydration. Try to add a balanced electrolyte mix such as Nuun to your water (the flavours make it more enjoyable and help you remember to take regular sips) or, if you're feeling like you have a little more energy, you can cool off with an electrolyte popsicle, such as these Easy Mango Electrolyte Popsicles from Live Simply.
Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
Not only does eating small more frequent meals help to keep your energy levels more stable, but it's also an intuitive way to eat when it's hot out to keep from feeling overly full and bloated, helping your body to use its energy to cool you down rather than digesting food. Bring on the snacky plates, cold soups, and smoothies!
Like anything else with chronic illness, it's important to ensure that you are still pacing yourself. Make a list of things that are really important to you to do during the summer, and try to adapt them to make them work for you by splitting them into several smaller trips, planning them around the weather and less hot times of the day, and incorporating regular cooling breaks.