Summer is a wonderful time of year. We rediscover our gardens, parks and promenades after a long winter of neglect in the darker, damper months. Days get longer, the sky stays clearer and people seem happier.
Now, we don’t want to sound like we’re complaining but… with the heat there are a couple of downsides. Public transport can be overcrowded and sticky, office buildings may become stuffy and airless and we can get just a little too hot for comfort.
If, like us, you’re loving the sun but are struggling to beat the heat this summer, here are some ideas to help you keep cool on these warmer days.
Top tips to feel fresh
- Close the curtains. If you’re coming back from a long hot day at the office, the last thing you want is for the inside of your home to be even warmer than it is outside. While you’re out of the house, keep the curtains closed. This stops the sun coming in and heating rooms during the middle of the day when the temperatures are highest.
- Ditch the duvet. Trying to get a good night’s sleep can hard enough without feeling all hot and sticky. Roll up your big winter quilts and put them away for the time-being. Instead, opt for sheets alone which are much lighter in the summer months.
- Keep out of the heat. We all know that the sun is at its highest at midday, but the hours around 12pm can also host soaring temperatures. If possible, avoid being outdoors between 11am and 3pm, as this period usually sees the sun at its strongest.
- Create an ice mist. Desk fans can seem like a simple fix in a stuffy office or workspace, but often all they are able to do is move hot air around the room. To counteract this, try placing a bowl of ice in front of the fan. As it blows over the ice it will a light mist and mimic a fresh breeze.
- Stay hydrated. It may sound obvious, but drinking lots of water is essential to keep your body going. It is also important to replace sodium lost through sweat which our bodies need to function properly. This can be rectified with a simple salty snack. You should also avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine which can risk dehydrating you further.
- Let your body breathe. Wearing loose-fitting clothes made from lighter fabrics will allow the air to circulate around your body. Open sandals or shoes made from breathable materials will also make the world of difference to your daily comfort in the heat.
- Eat lighter meals. Large meals and foods which are heaving in protein, such as meat, require more metabolic processing, using more energy and water. Instead, try to eat lots of hydrating foods such as watermelon and cucumber whilst stocking up on salads for lunch.
- Cool your system. If you feel yourself getting too warm and need a quick fix, place your wrists under a cold running tap. Because the veins are closest to the surface of your skin here, the cooling sensation works much faster to lift the heat from your whole body.
- Blast your bedsheets. For an extra comfort boost at bedtime, gather your bedsheets into a bag and place them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed. This way, they will be nice and cool and should help you finally get a refreshing night’s sleep (just don’t forget about them!).
- Tie your hair up. Long or thick hair can feel heavier than usual in hot weather, especially if it’s dark as it absorbs more sunlight. Keep it back from your face and tied up away from the back of your neck to help you feel cooler quickly.
- Close the car windows. Driving along on a warm day, it may seem like common sense to open all the windows. In fact, your car’s air-conditioning system is likely to be much more efficient. However, keeping the windows open just lets the cool air escape. Instead, keep them closed with the AC going and you will soon have a haven of cool to keep you going on your journey.
- Protect your pets. If you have any four-legged friends at home, be mindful of the hot pavements on their sensitive paws and that they could risk overheating in the sun. To help keep them cool and calm, walk your pets during the early morning or late evening when the sun is least intense. A couple of ice cubes in their water bowl can also make a big difference and, of course, keep them out of hot cars.
- Freeze your hot-water bottle. Taking inspiration from your winter night routine could be the key to a good night’s rest this summer. Turn your hot water bottle into an ice-pack by filling it up and popping it into the freezer. Before bed, take it out and place it between the sheets to cool your covers for a refreshing rest.
- Stay low. If you feel yourself overheating, lie down on the floor. It may not be the most practical advice, but heat rises and the lower you are, the cooler you are likely to be.
- Switch it off. Although small, the heat emitted from all of your household gadgets can quickly add up. Turn off all of the plugs and appliances in the house which aren’t being used. Not only will this prevent excess heat, but you will also be doing your bank balance a favour, as well as the planet.
- Get creative. With the sun glaring outside as well as beaming through the windows inside your home, it can feel like there’s no escaping the heat. Think outside the box by hanging a damp sheet in front of an open window. This will help provide shade as well as cool the warm breeze drifting in from outdoors.
- Make cooling treats. There are few things better than ice cream or a cold dessert on a hot day. Have a go at making your own by pouring a fruit syrup like grenadine over ice or freeze cordial in ice-lolly moulds to refresh yourself on a stuffy afternoon.
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Words by Bethan Rose Jenkins.