Renaissance Ranch

How Summer Heat Can Impact Addiction

Jul 13, 2022

Temperatures are heating up and will continue to climb over the next few months. While some fun in the sun is great, it’s important to consider how the heat affects your mental and physical health.

There’s nothing quite like a day spent in the summer sun out on the beach or by the pool, right? In fact, this can be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your mental and physical health while enjoying the summer heat.

During treatment and recovery, your mental and physical health can be affected by many different factors. As the summer season rolls around, it becomes even more important to ensure you are taking proper care of yourself to avoid things such as heat exhaustion, increased stress, or lack of energy. 

Mental Health and Mood

High temperatures can negatively impact your mood. For instance, if you find yourself out in the heat for long periods of time, you may end up feeling a little frustrated or short-tempered. Studies even show that heat can increase symptoms of aggression. Have you heard of heat exhaustion? High temperatures can certainly bring on feelings of lethargy resulting in less energy and motivation. 

Stress levels can also be impacted by higher temperatures. Research shows that when individuals are out in the heat for long periods of time, cortisol, the stress hormone, can be found at higher levels. This means, an increase in stress and symptoms leading to anxiety, hypertension, and other stress-related illnesses.

Those with co-occurring disorders may need to take additional precautions when spending time outdoors during the summer months. Some studies show that individuals with co-occurring disorders may have more difficulty with regulating their body temperatures, making them more susceptible to negative effects. 

Tips for Coping With the Heat

Staying indoors and avoiding the heat entirely for the duration of summer is not practical, nor is it ideal. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beach or the pool, or even do some hiking. You can still go out and enjoy the warm (or hot) weather by keeping a few tips in mind. Some tips for successfully and safely enjoying outdoor activities during the summer include:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Schedule outdoor activities wisely
  • Stay connected

Stay Hydrated

High temperatures usually mean a little extra sweating for most, especially if you engage in exercise or physical activities regularly. Because the human body is composed of over 60% water, it’s incredibly important to replenish these fluids during the summer months.

To do this, you must ensure you are getting enough water each day. The amount of water intake necessary can vary from person to person, depending on your activity level, body composition, and more. Consider learning how much you need each day to be sure you are hitting that goal, especially when exposed to high temperatures.

Schedule Outdoor Activities Wisely

Getting outdoors and taking in some fresh air has many benefits. Learn more about the advantages here. When temperatures rise during the summer, make an effort to schedule outdoor activities early to mid-morning or late afternoon to evening if you are able. Typically, temperatures rise and peak between the hours of 11 AM and 3 PM in most areas. If you’re able to schedule your outdoor activities outside of this timeframe, you might have a better experience.

Sometimes being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day can be unavoidable. For instance, you may have a job that requires you to be outside throughout the day. If this is the case, be sure to seek shade when you can, stay well hydrated, and be aware of how you’re feeling. 

Stay Connected

Staying connected to those who can support you throughout treatment and recovery is important at all times. As temperatures rise, you may find yourself lacking some energy or feeling a little more irritated and less motivated. 

The heat can be draining, leaving you with little energy for things outside of work. Be sure you are still attending weekly meetings, scheduled therapy, and remaining in contact with your sponsor. Prioritizing your treatment and recovery is critical, so making the effort to check in and stay engaged even after a long day in the hot summer sun is crucial to your progress. 

The summer heat can certainly bring some challenges and pose some barriers to progress and consistency when it comes to treatment and recovery. By following the tips listed above and continuing to prioritize yourself and your health, you can stay on track.

Summertime means higher temperatures, which can lead to some challenges when it comes to treatment and recovery. For example, heat has been shown to increase exhaustion, irritability, aggression, and stress. During treatment and recovery, it is critical to ensure you are feeling your best, in order to stay on track and focused. By following tips such as staying hydrated, avoiding being outdoors during peak sun times when possible, and remaining engaged in your treatment programs and activities, you can stay on track. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, make the decision to make a change. Renaissance Ranch offers a variety of programs to address your specific needs and fit your situation. Allow our staff to create an individualized plan to promote your success. Today is a great day for you to begin your recovery journey. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.