SUMMER in Alabama can be downright grueling. We have temperatures in the nineties and humidity hovering around four hundred percent. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here one year or thirty, you never really get used to an Alabama summer.

Take heart. Here are ways to ease your pain and suffering this year.

1. Find a body of water. Any size. Anywhere.

If it’s wet, it counts — Olympic-size swimming pool, Lake Martin, the Gulf of Mexico, an inflatable children’s pool the size of a cereal bowl. It really doesn’t matter as long as you can stick a body part in water that hasn’t yet reached the boiling point.

2. Always park in the shade.

A well-placed shade tree in an Alabama summer is truly a gift from the divine. Anyone who has parked 10 miles from their destination just so they could leave their car in the shade can attest to this. Parking in the shade makes your car comparable to a really hot sauna. Leaving it in direct sunlight for 12-15 minutes is enough time to bake cookies on your dashboard.

3. Drink plenty of fluids, i.e., sweet tea.

It’s extremely important that you stay hydrated if you step outside anytime between May and November. Keep your cup full of ice water and you’ll be fine. Or substitute it for sweet tea. It’s like 98% water and 100% more delicious.

4. Run to the store and buy bread and milk in bulk.

No, snow is not in the forecast, but maybe you can trick your brain for a few minutes to relieve the heat-induced suffering. Just don’t go back outside and chug the milk.

5. Crash a splash pad.

Alabama has a lot of splash pads — little playgrounds with water sprinklers. Yes, they were designed for children. But when the “feels like” temperature hits 110 degrees, no one will mind if you lie down under the fiberglass alligator shooting water out of its mouth. The only thing holding you back might be the other adult already flat on their back there.

6. Never touch the seat belt clip. Never.

If you failed to snag that parking spot in the shade 10 miles away, you should never, under any circumstance, touch the metal seat belt clip. Unless you like being branded.

7. Live in a dollar store’s ice cream section.

Freezing cold, absolutely free, and there are tons of them across Alabama.

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