Singapore Living, by Stephanie Kolentsis
Some people acclimatise to the Singapore heat. I’m not one of those people. After seven years in Southeast Asia, I still sweat just walking to the bus stop. I haven’t mastered being calm and collected in 40-degree weather, but I have picked up a few tricks to keep cool. Here are the top five things that help me survive summer in Singapore.
1. Hydrate Better
When you sweat, you lose more than just water; you also lose minerals, sugar, and salts. If you’re spending a day outdoors, I recommend picking up some rehydration salts from the pharmacy. They cost pennies and can be added to your water bottle to replace the sugar and salts you lose while sweating.
Drinking cold water will help to lower your body temperature and keep you cool. Klean Kanteen sells bottles that keep your water ice cold for over 24 hours. These are great for keeping at your desk or taking to the beach. Metal canteens can be heavy, so I also like to have a collapsible water bottle on hand that I can pop in my handbag and refill throughout the day. Stojo has some sturdy and stylish options.
2. Up Your Sunscreen Game
Make sunscreen part of your everyday routine. This is essential not just to stay cool, but also to protect against skin cancer and photoaging. Use the ‘two-finger rule’ to make sure you’re applying enough sunscreen to protect yourself. Squeeze the sunscreen onto two fingers--this is how much to apply to your face. Reapply every two hours.
If you haven’t yet found a sunscreen you love, keep looking. Korean and Japanese brands make excellent formulas that are hydrating and comfortable to wear. Some popular drugstore brands are Canmake, Anessa, Biore, and Kose.
3. Take an Ice Bath (and a Sauna!)
Cold immersion therapy can help your body to handle real-life stress by putting it in a stressful (read: freezing) situation while you breathe through it. It’s also just a great escape from the heat.
Warm up again with a hot sauna. There’s research showing that saunas improve heat acclimation for athletes. Regular trips to the sauna could help you relax and make your next outdoor activity feel less strenuous. I visit Yunomori Onsen in Kallang when I want to enjoy a steam sauna and a cold plunge.
4. Pick the Right Fabrics
It’s normal to spend your first year in Singapore in nothing but beach dresses, flip-flops and sports clothes. I get it. It’s hard to find clothes that can stand up to 100% humidity. But picking the right fabrics makes all of the difference. Natural fibres like linen and cotton breathe so much better than synthetics like polyester. Slinky fabrics like bamboo, modal and jersey are also solid picks. Check the tag to know what you’re buying.
Stick to lighter colours like pastels, cream, and white. Light colours reflect the sun’s rays and will trap less heat. They are also less likely to fade from the sun, so you’ll get more wear out of your clothes.
I like Palem for its comfortable, stylish designs. You’ll also find boutiques in Tanglin Mall, Cluny Court, and along Joo Chiat Road with flowy dresses in Singapore-friendly fabrics.
5. Rethink Your Routine
Try to schedule outdoor activities for early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. If you’re an early riser you’ll find that 6:00 to 9:00 am is the perfect time to take a long walk or go cycling.
During the middle of the day, spend time indoors. Get your errands out of the way, go to the gym, reply to work emails, or visit a museum. Anything with air-conditioning. If you want to enjoy a bit of nature, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay will keep you cool and entertained for hours.
Stephanie Kolentsis is a learning designer with over 13 years of experience working as an educator across Asia. She’s also an explorer who loves to share her adventures with the AWA community. You can check out her website at www.sklearningdesign.com