HOLISTIC SILK RETREAT Summer the European way

Bearing up as the temperature rises - learning to summer like a European 

“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun.”  (Rudyard Kipling)

It’s hot.  It’s very hot.  Here in the UK, we go into a panic when things become extreme, even though our weather is always full of surprises.  Trains descend into chaos thanks to the ‘wrong’ snow or too many autumn leaves on the line.  When temperatures soar, we suffer because we don’t really do air conditioning.  We haven’t needed it until recently, until climate change started to bite.

So how can we handle summer better?  Would it help if we treated hot weather more like the southern Europeans do?

The power of the siesta

The NHS says when it’s very hot we should stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.  That sounds a lot like a siesta!  A siesta is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, common in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Southern France and other places where it gets very hot.  Shops and businesses close at around noon so people can eat, rest, sleep for a while and escape the worst of the day’s heat.

Would it make sense to bring the tradition to the UK?  Our summer weather is going to keep on getting warmer, so it makes sense, especially when so few businesses have decent air conditioning and workplace ventilation is a growing problem. 

On the other hand, how would you feel about working earlier in the morning and later into the evening because you’ve had a couple of hours’ siesta in the early afternoon?  It’s a culture change thing.  In the UK we’ve been working 9-5 for decades, but there’s strong evidence the change is already happening.  According to the BBC, a 2018 YouGov survey revealed only 6% of us were still working 9-5.  These days, it’s probably even less.  

Taking a proper break in August

August is often the hottest month, as well as the month the schools are on holiday.  It’s when most of us take a break.  August is when most Europeans take their annual vacation, too.  Paris turns into a ghost town because so many Parisians flee the heat for cooler, calmer places, leaving the tourist to cope with the worst of the heat.  Lisbon can be incredibly hot through August and we saw unusually fierce heatwaves affecting Spain and the South of France in early July this year.  On Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, it hit at least 43 degrees in July this year... and stayed there for days.  No wonder so many locals in hot countries flee to cooler climates, while we flood into super-hot regions for our summer holidays.  

As the weather gets even hotter, summer holidays to hot places might become less popular.  When European temperatures often soar to over 30 degrees, reaching the 40s more frequently than ever before, it isn’t just uncomfortable out in the sun, it’s dangerous and can be deadly.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see more of us staying in the UK for our summer holidays, where the weather is usually less extreme.

If our Augusts regularly become as hot as Europe’s, we might find ourselves taking the whole of the month off until things cool back down in September, just like our European friends.

Chill out like a European

Manyana.  When it’s too hot, the Spanish put things off until tomorrow.  It’s a sensible idea when it’s too hot to move and even staying still feels uncomfortable.  If you’ve planned to clean the house, wash the car, do the shopping, putting it off until manyana makes life a whole lot more comfortable and enjoyable.  A more flexible approach to getting things done might be just the thing.

The best thing about taking August off, having that much time off in one go, is that you get a proper rest.  Not just a week or two.  Four whole weeks to recharge your batteries, get things done, have adventures, care for yourself and enjoy the company of family and friends. 

In Europe many businesses close their doors for the whole month, even though it’s the peak summer tourist season.  And by doing so, Europeans have proved the world doesn't end if you go on holiday.  It’s something we could adopt over here.

The fine art of relaxation

One of the best ways to stay cool in steamy weather is to chill out, taking life more slowly than you would in cold weather.  Amble instead of walking at your usual pace.  Take your time shopping.  Cook in a leisurely fashion.  Take things easier.  Accept that life has to slow down when it’s this hot.  And enjoy the difference instead of being frustrated by it.  The heat isn’t normal, so why should we try to act normally in it?  Maybe it’s time for a new normal.

Relaxation also means treating yourself to lots of lovely ways to stay calm and collected.  A smooth, cool, real Silk Sleep Mask to help you drift gently into a gorgeous, refreshing sleep.  A perfectly weighted luxury Silk Face Pillow infused with lavender for an instant soothing effect.  A wonderfully breezy Mulberry Silk Kaftan that swishes around your legs.  When it’s hot and sticky there’s nothing quite as lovely as the feel of cool, slippery Silk.  And a great night’s sleep makes you more resilient to strings of long, too hot, tiring days.

How are you going to handle the heat this summer?

HOLISTIC SILK RETREAT Summer the European way
HOLISTIC SILK RETREAT Summer the European way

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