Summah-Time!

Author's note: I wrote this article as though I am describing a typical summer and not one amidst a global pandemic. I am recounting summers past since my current summer looks nothing like this!

I live in a place with 4 distinct seasons and there is only one that I truly look forward to - summer - if you couldn’t guess by the title.

Summer gives me permission

It’s consistently warm, the days are longer, the sun is bright and shining, and people are just happier. Everything feels a little more laid back, even when I am still working my tail off.

It’s more socially acceptable to go out with friends after work, stay out/up a little later, and spend some more time on myself. Summer gives me permission to pamper myself, pay attention to myself, and take care of myself.

Warmer months bring a few complications

That sounds pretty nice. At least, for able-bodied people, those things about summer are lovely. Unfortunately, for us Spoonies, summer also brings along a few complications.

It’s no secret that autoimmune warriors have to take better care of themselves than the average person. We take medications, we have to portion control our energy and we have to be careful not to overexert in any way.

Shh! This is a secret, but I don’t always do what’s best for me or my body (especially in the winter). I don’t drink enough water, I don’t eat full meals, and I don’t exercise as much as I should.

Summer, somehow, changes that all for me. Maybe I’m outside more, maybe I hold myself more accountable when around other people. Whatever the reason, I am just “healthier” during the summer.

I drink enough water, I eat healthier, I exercise, I socialize and somehow, I rarely overexert myself.

Summer-related considerations

But, here are the complications, the one little problem with summer: humidity. Humidity is a major trigger for me. It wasn’t before but is now.

Humidity

I can experience a lot more flares in summer because of the humidity. Thankfully, because of the warm weather, these flares do not last as long, but they are certainly more frequent.

Cold is also a major trigger for me but, in the winter, I experience one big flare.

Overexertion

If I don’t drink enough water or do not eat properly, I expend my energy much faster and feel drained much sooner, which can easily derail me into a flare.

If I spend too much time outside, I could easily overexert. I am pretty careful about my energy allowances so I usually only flare when I haven’t taken care of my body that well.

Extreme temperatures

And, also the heat can easily mess me up. Extreme temperatures are just no bueno in the eyes of my rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

It’s hot outside - I don’t want to wear my heavy, everyday sneakers all the time. But, if I wear the wrong sandals, well, you can rightly guess my feet are gonna be MAD at me at the end of the day. And, that pain in the feet can also lead to a flare.

I still love summer

But, all that being said, I love summer. I love the cold fruit juices.

I love the smell of fresh-mowed grass. I love being outside and wearing my sunscreen.

Summer is just a pleasant time of year even with its considerations.

What do you enjoy about summer? LMK in the comments!

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