It can be challenging – and not just physically – when you move to a country where you struggle with the climate. If adjusting your wardrobe isn’t enough to help you cope, what can you do?
‘Only unsuitable clothing’
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” So Alfred Wainwright wrote in A Coast to Coast Walk (1987) on walking across England. But what can an expat wear to stay fresh in the soporific heat and humidity of Malaysia? Or to battle the dry and dusty winds during the months-long harmattan season in Lagos?
Stuck at home
Sure, if you move to Ulaanbaatar (the coldest capital in the world), you will know you have to ‘rug up’ in winter. But such extreme weather can still impact our mental health, for example, if we feel housebound. One expat partner previously told us she was struggling to look on the bright side of a rain-soaked Dublin, where it rains up to 250 days a year. A pair of Wellington boots and a raincoat might keep you dry but they won’t stop you missing the sunshine.
At the heart of ‘weather woe’ is a feeling that you can’t do the things you want: “I’d go for a walk/run/cycle, if it wasn’t so hot/wet/cold.” To make a positive change, you need to fill that void. That might mean getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, but your bravery will be rewarded! In a cold country, perhaps you can take up a winter sport. Or to stay social when the weather is below zero, why not invite friends or neighbours over for a hot cup of coffee?
The midday sun
For anyone near the equator, what should you do when the heat and humidity become unbearable? Besides seeking out cool and breezy spaces? A dehumidifier might help but sometimes adjusting your diet will also help you feel fresh. For example, less stodgy meals, and more salads. For inspiration, why not explore what the locals eat? Or even, observe their daily patterns? Just because someone is raised in a certain environment doesn’t mean they care for it. But, unlike many expats, they will instinctively know when to avoid it. To finish with the words of another Englishman: “At 12 noon, the natives swoon. And no further work is done. But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.
Image: Pexels, Johannes Plenio