Does anyone remember those clothes we used to wear that had long sleeves and hoods? I think they might have been called ‘coats’? Or, how about when water used to fall from the sky? Nope, me neither. The heatwave currently engulfing the UK has seen temperatures soar during June and July and it doesn’t look like coming to an end anytime soon.
From spontaneous BBQ’s and afternoons in the pub beer garden, to being able to confidently walk out the door without your trusty coat, the prolonged hot weather has had its benefits. But it is also causing some issues, as proven by the level three heat watch alert put in place across parts of east and south-east England.
With temperatures regularly in the high 20s and mid-30s, it can put a strain on your body’s ability to recover and remain productive, too. That can have a negative impact in the workplace. So how do you make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to combat the heat and be at your best as the sun continues to shine?
Drinking enough water is always important, but it is even more so when you’re holed up in a 30+ degree office or working under the hot sun all day. Drinking water replenishes the fluids lost when sweating and you leave yourself open to the dangers of dehydration if you don’t get enough. These can include dizziness, headaches and feeling confused and disorientated.
Keep a chilled water bottle with you in the office at all times. Keep drinking and topping it up even when you don’t feel thirsty and you should stave off dehydration and its unwanted side effects.
Being stuck in the office all day, only catching a glimpse of the sun through the window can mean the prospect of a quick drink (or two) after work can be tough to turn down. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with meeting up with friends to enjoy the heatwave, it is important to remember a few things if you want to recover overnight and be energized for the morning after.
Drinking alcohol can put you on the fast track to dehydration, so make sure to order a pint of water with your beer at the bar. And try to stay within moderation. Research using the Firstbeat database has shown that even a small amount of alcohol can push back the start of recovery during sleep.
After a long day at work and a hot commute back home in the sun, a good night’s sleep is important in order to maintain your physical and mental strength and, therefore, your ability to perform the next day. Unfortunately, the heat can often lead to a restless night and put pay to the best-laid plans. There are, though, a few things you can try to give yourself the best chance of overnight recovery.
Keep the bedroom curtains closed throughout the day to keep the sunlight out and the room (hopefully) a little cooler. If possible, wear thin cotton fabrics to sleep in – they let the skin breathe more effectively. And, on the more extreme end of the scale, you can try chilling your bed sheets by putting them in a bag and then the freezer for a few minutes!
A Chance to Get Active
The hot weather does mean the traditional excuses of ‘bad weather’ can’t be used to put off doing outdoor exercise or activities during your free time. And physical exercise has been proven time and again to boost well-being and have a positive impact on your mood and even work productivity.
With no clouds to be seen, you can confidently put on those running shoes and head for a jog around the park or an evening stroll that you might have put off had it been raining. Just don’t do it during the hottest part of the day!
View our Corporate Wellness page to see how employers can use the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment in a work setting.
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