Eight ways to embrace the UAE summer: unwind, reflect and try something new

The hotter months are a time to unwind, reflect and try new experiences

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Here is a piece of advice from a seasoned UAE resident: the summer is not your enemy.

With the mercury rising so does the worry from friends and colleagues about handling the sweltering temperatures. My answer to such pangs of anguish over the years is simple: be cool.

I am not only referring to ramping up the air conditioner at home or the workplace, but also to discard the concerns and embrace the languid rhythms that summer presents.

The relatively slower pace of UAE life over the next few months provides plenty of opportunities to recalibrate, reorganise, explore and, yes, also have plenty of fun.

I did not realise this immediately, of course. Instead, I gradually adjusted over the 11 years I have called the UAE home.

Each summer presented new opportunities to strengthen my bonds with the country, in addition to appreciating the calmer pace of life before the frenzied hustle and bustle returns in the cooler months.

Here are some tips that helped me and, now, hopefully yourself in making this a summer to remember.

1. Embrace the morning

If you ever aspired to be a morning person, this is your chance. This is a lesson passed on by my parents when I was living in Abu Dhabi as a child.

My parents, both night owls, would switch up their routines. My dad would see his friends for breakfast while my mum and her crew changed their daily evening strolls to the morning hours. Our night-time visits to our Emirati friends also changed to the morning in order to have tea and a chat on the patio.

That golden hour beginning from sunrise is also the perfect time to exercise. If you are lucky, you may get kissed by a cool breeze or two.

2. Check out some amazing indoor venues

A decade ago I used to exchange notes with friends on which malls had the most impressive air conditioning systems (Al Wahda Mall remains my go to), and I would head there to roam aimlessly while keeping cool.

Fortunately, the UAE now boasts a growing number of great indoor venues to visit that are not shopping centres. These include the majestic Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, the Museum of the Future in Dubai, and the mega House of Wisdom library in Sharjah.

Not only are they beautiful to experience and engrossing for children, but their indoor temperatures are cool at all times, too.

3. Book the hotel deal of lifetime

The summer is a time when even the most popular resorts experience a steep decline in room reservations. As a result, many launch eye-catching “summer staycation deals” where you can stay at the most lavish hotels at a discounted price.

If you have a bucket list of resorts you want to visit, now is the time to make those bookings.

4. Be first to try new restaurants

Those who love to eat out also have a lot to look forward to during the hotter months.

With the industry’s “off season” already under way, this is a time where you will find new venues quietly opening up as part of their soft launch phase.

Dubai has a number of dinner-and-a-show venues, from Tabu and Dream to the funky Electric Pawnshop and newly launched 53 Dubai, while Yas Bay and Al Qana regularly welcome eateries in Abu Dhabi. This is the time to check these out before you are faced with a waiting list during busy season.

5. Go on that great UAE road trip

FUJAIRAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Ð Dec 24:  One of the person going for prayer at Al Bidyah Mosque in Fujairah. (Pawan Singh / The National) For News. Story by Rym

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The UAE is blessed with seven distinct emirates all accessible by car. This is what makes the country a perfect location for a family road trip.

With the highways less congested during these times, it is recommended to set aside a week or number of weekends to visit the hidden gems, such as the coastal city of Khorfakkan in Sharjah and the UAE's oldest functioning mosque, the 100-year old Al Bidyah Mosque, in Fujairah.

6. Do the things you have been putting off

Summer is the ideal time to do some personal admin work.

A few friends of mine use the summer to undergo an annual health check in clinics, give cars a service, and declutter their homes and workplace.

It may not sound like much, but ticking off those important boxes will bring you satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

7. Enroll in that DJ class you always dreamed about

It sounds simple, but sometimes we get so swept up with work and other commitments that we don’t have time for new experiences.

With most major entertainments and cultural festivals on ice until winter, you can use the weekend or post work time to learn and take on new skills.

The UAE has a thriving vocational sector and institutions offering classes for everything ranging from cooking to DJ courses to robotics for children.

With more time on our hands, this is the opportunity to upskill and have fun along the way.

8. Finally... relax and be still

There is always that temptation to fill your time in the summer by constantly travelling abroad.

While many don’t have the financial means to simply book a flight and leave, the reason to resist the urge is not only monetary but mental as well.

In addition to the daily pressures of working in the peak season, UAE residents have also been blessed with a packed winter season of events that included Expo 2020 Dubai, the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix and countless concerts, festivals and conferences.

While fun and stimulating, all that action is exhausting. So take it easy, unwind and enjoy these quiet days of relative calm.

Considering the heightened anxiety of our times, we surely need it.

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Updated: June 16, 2022, 5:47 AM