As early as last week my Facebook newsfeed was full of people asking where summer was, complaining and begging the whether gods for more heat. Well they have got their wishes as Victoria shelters through 43 degree heat today, and temperatures above 40 for the next four days along with most of Australia. Why anyone would want or enjoy these temperatures is beyond me! Who could possibly find pleasure in temperatures high enough to fry an egg on the bitumen roads, northerly winds that are so hot there is little oxygen to breathe, and humidity so low that sweat pours profusely from your body within seconds of going outdoors.
While the affects of heat are of high risk for the elderly, the very young, and those who are of ill health for those suffering depression the heat can have detrimental affects on our health. For the healthy they are probably asking why? Well exhaustion is one of the contributing factors for depression! And with sweltering heat comes little sleep, days drag out with little reprieve from the high temperatures.
It is important for us all to ensure we take precautions to maintain not just our physical health but our mental health. Firstly, maintaining physical health should involve:-
– Maintaining hydration by eliminating coffee and drinking fluids, particularly water to remain hydrated;
– Avoid being outdoors, unnecessary travel, and sports;
– where possible remain in air conditioned places or at a minimum close to fans;
– Eat regular meals even if you don’t feel hungry;
– Try to keep cool with cold baths or showers, or by using cold wet towels; and
– Maintain routine sleep patterns.
For those of us who arebliving with depression it is not as easy as it sounds to maintain our mental health on a daily basis let alone when we have high temperatures for one day after another. My tips for helping to maintain mental health include:-
– Maintain the same routine in regards to meals, sleeping, relaxation, work, hobbies, and interests;
– Try to put in place measures to control anxiety which can contribute to over exertion you can do this through listening to music, doing meditation, or activities like knitting, art or other hobbies that can take you away from anxiety;
– Get regular sleep, if you can nap then do so, remember that when its hot its harder to sleep, so where you can sleep;
– Use the power of music and meditation to keep your mind focused and away from depressive thoughts;
– Keep in contact with your circle of support to keep social;
– Ensure where possible your preparedness for any likely emergencies that may occur to reduce your stress levels in light of high temperatures; and
– Keep in contact and maintain regular visits to your GP (Doctor), and your mental health professionals.
I know it’s easier said than done to maintain our mental health but I hope that these tips and go some way in assisting you through these days of extreme heat.
For those that are the loved one and/or career of someone with depression ensure that you ask them regularly R U OK?
Stay Safe, Be Prepared, Be Healthy.