Beating The Heat Through Extreme Inactivity

As much as I hate humidity and struggle to sleep when it is warm out, I have to admit there is a certain appeal in the sort of languid relaxation I do after going for a hike or something similar on warm summer days. There is a degree of freedom that comes with knowing it doesn’t matter if you’re sweaty. When you know that you can just go change or cool off or rinse the sweat away whenever you like and yet you choose to just be still as the gentle, warm breeze slowly wicks the sweat away while you lay unmoving in the heat. It is more restful and comfortable if the breeze is cool and the sweat has already been cleaned away, but I still enjoy the moments of transition between the two when it is my choice to experience them.

Given that we’ve jumped straight from late winter/early spring weather to summer heat and humidity, I can feel my system experience a shock of sorts. I had my heater on a week ago and now I’ve been forced to turn my air conditioner on so I could get at least some decent sleep last night. We skipped right over the warm days and cool nights period straight to the “it never drops below 75 degrees or 75 percent humidity” period. I went from pants and a jacket on my daily walk to shorts, a t-shirt, and needing to sit still for half an hour after my walk in order for me to feel like a Human instead of a sweaty blob, all in about a week. I went from wrapping myself in blankets when sitting on my couch to needing to blow a fan directly at my seat on the couch before I’d even consider going near that horrible, warm beast.

Because I’m trying to adjust to such an abrupt temperature change, I’m finding myself more susceptible to the heat than I normally am. I’ve been spending more time in a sort of quiet, still relaxation as I try to avoid generating any more heat than I absolutely must, and I’m trying to look on the bright side. I may be achey as hell and on my way to feeling kind of sick thanks to the significant change in the weather (and it will likely get worse give the forecast for the next week), but at least I get to enjoy the sort of lazy-lion sleepiness that comes with being still and warm after exertion as my body attempts to beat the heat with stillness. I much prefer cooling down with wind, air conditioning, or fans because I like to be doing things most of the time I’m awake, but I can get behind a certain degree of stillness meant to beat the heat. So long as it is temporary and doesn’t take up the whole day.

I think there’s probably a lot to examine here about productivity, our perceptions of our own value, and the sort of constant-grind-existence of living in a capitalistic hellscape of a society, but I just really appreciate being able to lay around after exerting myself and simply exist in stillness as I let the heat of the day wash over me. There are many things I enjoy more, and far more that I don’t even sort of dislike the way I dislike being warm enough to think that being still is my best course of action, but this sort of post-activity laziness in the heat of summer is satisfying in a way that is, in my experience, unique to doing nothing on a sweltering summer day. It might be partly evolutionary, given the way that most apex predators and large mammals tend toward being inactive to conserve energy during the hottest parts of the day, but I feel like it is more similar to the satisfaction felt in doing nothing when there are things you could be doing but that don’t need to be done right now because you’ve already done everything that NEEDED to be done today.

There really needs to be a better way to talk about these specific feelings. Maybe once I no longer feel like my brain has been scrambled by the heat of the past few days I’ll be able to get this into some kind of more coherent form. Or maybe I’ll leave this the way it is as a testament to the sort of mental regression that happens when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed for unrelated reasons and also have “I should lay still and do absolutely nothing while soaking in the heat so that I eventually feel like I’ve cooled down” brain.

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