Community Self help tips Coping with extreme heat As we write this, Sheffield is predicted to reach temperatures of 35 degrees over the next day or so. Extreme heat makes many of us feel more short-tempered and it can be an effort to carry out even minor chores because the heat’s making us feel agitated or listless. In addition, a lot of people find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep with this heat - sleep is essential for overall well-being and health and sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on mood and cognition. Research into the effects on intensely hot weather suggests that daytime discomfort or irritation caused by extreme heat can lead to an increased sense of hopelessness, anxiety, and stress. In addition, many of us are coping with this heat in the house alone, or we’re worrying about vulnerable loved ones or pets and wondering ‘what next?!’ Here are a few tips for coping over the next couple of days: Take control of your surroundings If you’re finding the intense heat anxiety-inducing, there are steps you can take to feel calmer. While you cannot control the weather, taking charge of your own physical state can help prevent anxiety from spiralling. Keep cool by drinking water, avoid going out if at all possible and if you have to go out, walk in the shade, wear sun screen and a hat. If you’re at home, keep the curtains closed. If you’re not working today, do things that you find enjoyable and - above all - relaxing. Challenge ‘what-if’ thoughts If you’re repeatedly asking yourself “What if I can’t cope with the weather? What if I get really hot and faint?” gently challenge yourself, your thoughts are not facts. You are safe, you have water, you’re staying out of the sunlight etc. Tell yourself: “It won’t last forever”, “I’ve been hot before and I’ve managed it previously, so I can manage it again”. Take a shower Take a cool shower or bath. Practice Mindfulness There a loads of 10 minute Mindfulness routines on YouTube – and if Mindfulness isn’t for you, get lost in a book - preferably one set somewhere cool and breezy!