Tips for Keeping Focus When the Heat is On

You are not hallucinating the searing heat if this summer appears warmer than normal. July was one of the warmest months on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And if you were withering (along with your house plants) last month, August isn’t expected to provide much relief—extreme temperature warnings have been issued across the United States.

Heatstroke, cramps, and weariness are all severe health dangers when the temperature rises. As a result, it’s critical to be aware of typical warning signals such as goosebumps in hot weather, disorientation, and a weak, quick pulse. You should also prioritise saving physical energy, staying hydrated, cooling down whenever possible, finding a cooling facility in your neighbourhood, and consulting a doctor if you become ill. Even when the heat isn’t harmful, it can be bothersome and unpleasant. It’s understandable if you’re having trouble concentrating right now.

Heat waves, according to Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specialised in neurobiology, can be mentally taxing. “It’s tough to focus during a heatwave for a multitude of physical and psychological reasons,” Dr. Manly explains. Why? Keeping your body temperature in check isn’t as simple as it appears. “Extreme heat, especially in light of the threat of global warming, typically prompts the body’s stress response, resulting in a jump in stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline,” she explains. When our fight or flight reaction is active for an extended period of time (for example, during a heat wave), our focus is likely to suffer.

It should go without saying that if you have the ability to power down and preserve energy right now, take advantage of it! Nonetheless, duties may be at an all-time high right now, making blasting air conditioning impractical. So, what do you do when it’s too hot to think clearly and you can’t locate a cool place to go? We’ve come up with a few options.

1. Experiment with your carpet tiles, such as blinds and curtains.

The light brings summertime cheer into your room, but it may also make you feel hot, so “close drapes and blinds to keep the inside as cool as possible,” advises Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. There isn’t an exact science to this, and if you have thick black shades, you might be warming up the space. Finally, you can experiment with light blocking to determine what works best for you.

2. Avoid sugary beverages.

While that iced macchiato may be enticing, Jaydeep Tripathy, MD, a primary care provider at Doctor Spring, says it may not be the best thing for your productivity. Dr. Tripathy explains, “You utilise more glucose when it’s hot, but if you want to improve your energy, don’t drink sugary drinks.” To promote hot-weather brain function, he recommends drinking water and eating smaller, lighter meals when hungry.

3. Be open to chilly showers.

Cold showers are well-known for their plethora of health advantages. Lowering metabolism, reducing calories, and helping with eczema are just a few of the benefits. While many people like hot showers, Dr. Tripathy claims that a cold shower will “wake you up and rejuvenate you.” If you’re worried about water intake, “wet a towel with cold water and wipe it on your face every now and then.”

4. Change into a more comfy outfit.

This may seem self-evident, but if you’re having difficulties concentrating because you’re too hot, take a look at what you’re wearing. “Wear loose-fitting clothing in a light hue if possible. Cotton apparel will keep you cooler than many synthetics, according to Adkins, who also adds that you can concentrate on your feet. “To use on hot, fatigued feet, keep lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator.”

5. Put some accessories in the freezer (and wear them)

“Keep a refrigerated or frozen bandana in the fridge or freezer,” Dr. Manly advised Well+Good. Place the cooling wrap over your neck if you start to feel hot.” A registered dietitian, Harland Adkins RDN, shared a similar suggestion he received from a tennis pro: “If you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice-cold water into it, then invert it and place it on your head.” If you’re heading into a Zoom meeting, it might not be the most gorgeous hot-weather hair trick, but it will surely cool you down.

6. Consider soaking your feet.

Your feet can play a significant part in body temperature regulation. On a chilly night, do you go for your fluffy socks? When you’re overheated, however, the inverse can be beneficial. With that in mind, a foot bath could be a cost-effective solution to stay cool while working (which arguably uses less water than a proper shower). Make sure you use chilled tap water with a few ice cubes. It may be more unpleasant than relaxing if your foot bath is overly chilly.

7. If at all feasible, change your schedule.

If at all possible, adjust your timetable so that you are working with the weather (instead of against it). Dr. Manly advises, “Handle demanding or outside work in the early, cooler hours of the day or after the sun goes down.” Even if you’re not doing anything outside, waiting till it’s chilly can help you be more productive. “This may necessitate an adjustment in your schedule, but if you’re not hot, you’ll be far more concentrated on critical tasks.” It’s a simple method to focus better in the heat, even if you’re a renowned night owl or suffer from early morning tiredness.

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