Was the meeting of cold Storm Emma and the Beast from the East the last straw for you? Have you decided you have now had your share of cold, wet weather? If you are considering a move to a hot climate, a little preparation will help you make the switch painlessly. Moving from Ireland to a warm country is a big change. Aside from the cultural differences and language issues, the climate itself can be a shock. A week or two in Spain or Malta isn’t really enough to show you everything you need to know to survive living in a hot climate.
Yes, the cold can get to you and a bit of heat would be wonderful. Keep in mind that it is easier than you might think to get too much of a good thing. Warmer countries have their own weather-related problems. Sunburn and heat stroke are serious. Most warm places also have some big bugs. Aside from some new species of spider, you could be dealing with cockroaches. If you go prepared, you can embrace the fun of living in the sun and mostly sidestep the drawbacks. Every country and region has its own issues, so this is no substitute for researching the specific location. Here are a few general basics for adjusting to life in a hot climate.
How to Adjust to Life in a Hot Country
As you settle in, watch what the locals do. They will have a higher heat tolerance than your average Irish person, but they also have some habits that are born of their climate. Watch and learn.
- Protect yourself from heat-related medical issues. That’s the first priority. Use sun cream. In fact, bring some with a high SPF from home in case you can’t get one with a high enough SPF there. While your first instinct might be to wear as little clothing as you can get away with, that can increase your risk of a sun burn. Instead, wear lightweight, light coloured, long sleeves and trousers. Don’t forget your hat. Choose one with a wide enough brim to protect your face and neck. The next priority is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water whether or not you feel thirsty. Sadly, alcohol and coffee do not hydrate you. They actually dehydrate you.
- Arrange your day so you get things done in the morning before peak heat. In many warm climates, things shut down for a long lunch break. And for good reason! Don’t expect to accomplish much between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Even if offices are open, it can hard to stay motivated and focused when the temperature is very high.
- Open up your windows early in the morning, then close them up. Don’t have them open for a breeze during the hottest part of the day. You’ll stay cooler if you let some air in before it heats up, then close your windows to keep the hot air out. Closing the curtains can also help if you are really suffering from the heat. Open them again in the evening when the temperature starts to drop.
- Get some new shoes. In Ireland, you want shoes that keep moisture out. In a hot climate, you want shoes that let air in. You’ll feel more comfortable and avoid infections and blisters. Lightweight cotton socks are also ideal for wicking sweat away.
- If your new home has an air conditioner or water cooler (aka swamp cooler in parts of the USA), find out what maintenance it needs. If you are renting, ask your landlord who is responsible for that maintenance.
- Go easy on yourself. Don’t expect to keep the same exercise routine you had in Ireland. You run the risk of heat stroke or exhaustion if you push yourself too hard, especially early on. Exercise in the morning or evening, not midday. Once your body has a chance to adjust, you can gradually work back up to your normal targets. Remember to listen to your body, whether you are exercising or just going to the shops. You’ll probably also need to sleep more for the first few months. That helps your body and brain process their new environment.