The summer season is here and hotter than ever!
It can be hard making it through the day when coping in the heat.
This especially holds true for Muslim women who observe dressing modestly and cover their hair with the hijab.
Of course, being comfortable in the heat is of paramount concern. However, so too is safety. There are several heat related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion that can be dangerous not only for your health, but also can put your life at risk.
Staying cool in the summer sun is essential for your body and mind. How else will you maintain a full and busy schedule? There are several ways to keep cool this summer while also dressing modestly.
Change Your Course
Plan your schedule around the sun, literally! Handle the easiest tasks during the peak of heat during the day and take advantage of the cooler evenings to complete the more strenuous tasks, like mowing the lawn or working in the garden.
Dress for Success
Wear 100% cotton or other natural fiber clothing when outdoors, which will help your body maintain a cooler temperature and the fabric will absorb sweat to keep your skin dry.
Avoid polyester and synthetic fabrics that will cause your body to overheat and lock bacteria-breeding moisture in. Make sure your outfit is made of thin fabric while not being see-through.
Choose a lightweight outfit preferably in a light color instead of black, which attracts heat. The hijab should also be made of 100% cotton so as to absorb sweat and allow your scalp to breathe. On extremely hot days, wear a “neck cooler” under your hijab.
Neck coolers can be found in most discount stores. They are small tie-on scarves filled with special pellets that swell as they absorb cool water and hold the icy temperature. Soak the neck cooler in ice water for a few minutes and simply tie loosely around your neck.
Summer Cool Tools
Arm yourself with an arsenal of tools that will help you cool down in the summer heat. A spray bottle filled with cold water or a battery-operated handheld fan can be very refreshing when the heat becomes unbearable.
Store bottles of lotion in the refrigerator for a quick way to reinvigorate your tired body. Keep gel-filled ice packs in your freezer as another way to cool off quickly.
Dehydration can happen rapidly in the heat, so try to drink at least 8 glasses of water or other liquids during the day. Avoid sugary soft drinks, which will sap your energy and add unwanted calories to your daily caloric intake. Instead, drink fresh water or lightly sweetened iced teas.
When you are outdoors or going out to run errands, make sure to take water with you. Plan ahead by keeping 3 or 4 large bottles of water in your freezer. As they melt, you will have cool water to drink for at least a few hours.
Eat a Light Diet
Instead of preparing your meals over a hot stove, focus on simple foods that require little or no cooking. Sandwiches and salads are excellent choices. Pair with fresh fruit and ice cream and you have got a recipe for a cool meal.
And if cooking on the stove is your only option, pick one day out of the week to prepare your meals in bulk. Divide the cooked food into portion-sized freezer safe containers and pop in the freezer. The next time mealtime rolls around, all you have to do is heat up one of the containers in the microwave and dinner is served.
Seek Out the Cool
Last but not least, seek out cool places to spend some time during the hottest part of the day, especially if you do not have air conditioning in your home or are trying to cut down on your energy bill. Spend part of the day reading books at your local library, or get in a little bit of exercise by touring a local museum or window-shopping in a nearby mall.
Most importantly, stay tuned to your local weather forecast. If your weatherman predicts a heat wave or record-breaking temperatures in your area, use common sense and stay indoors where you can escape the heat and stay safe, in sha’ Allah.
(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)