By Chere Di Boscio
It ‘s a sad fact that global warming is now a reality—temperatures are higher than they’ve ever been before, and new record highs are being set regularly. This is worrying in general, but it can be especially problematic in the summer, when we struggle to stay cool.
Turning up the AC will only make things worse—don’t forget, burning energy for such items is exactly how we got ourselves into this carbon-based mess in the first place. Instead, there are plenty of tricks that can keep you cool whilst reducing your energy bills and your impact on the planet.
20 Tips to Beat the Heat This Summer
1. Wear natural fabrics. Cotton, linen and silk breathe much better and cool the skin more than anything made from artificial fibres.
2. At home, ensure the sun stays OUT—especially at peak hours. Cover windows with shutters, as they do in southern Europe, or if that’s not practical, cover the windows when sun is streaming in the most. Shutters or roller blinds work best. The sun has a powerful heating effect on your home and by blocking it, you’ll cool your house significantly.
3. Get a fan. A fan on a low setting that can keep a light breeze blowing across your room can work wonders. Ceiling fans are best for hot climates, but for occasional heat, stand up fans like these will do. To boost the effect, drape a cold, damp towel on the front of the fan or place cups of ice in front of it to blow cooler air around.
4. When you’re not in a room, turn the fan off. A fan’s motor generates heat, but makes you feel cooler because it evaporates the sweat from your skin. If you’re not near it, it’s only heating things up more! Turning it off when you leave a room also saves electricity.
5. Drink a lot of water. Your body will feel cooler if you are hydrated.Adding mint leaves, or orange, lemon or cucumber slices to your water makes it more tasty and refreshing
6. Spray yourself cool! Recycle a spray bottle and fill it with rose water, some peppermint oil and a drop or two of alcohol. Put it in the fridge and spray all over for a refreshing zing.
7. Saturate a sponge in water. Put it in a plastic bag and freeze. When you can’t take the heat, take it out and put it on or behind your head. Bonus: this is one icepack that won’t drip all over the place.
8. Forget the frizz—slick your hair back with water a few times a day to stay cool–the head is very sensitive to temperature and will keep your body cool for hours if it, too, is cool. If you have long hair, be sure to keep it up in a bun or ponytail.
9. Soak a t-shirt in the sink, wring it out and put it on whilst sitting in front of a fan. Ahhhh!!
10. Wear a short sleeved shirt and put water on the sleeves only. If there is a breeze or fan blowing on you, you will feel the difference.
11. Run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds on each hand. This will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.
12. Soak your feet in a bucket of cold water infused with peppermint oil. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will efficiently cool the body. Peppermint boosts the effect, and smells great, too!
13. Take a cool bath. Get used to the temperature, then add more cold water. Keep doing this until you are sufficiently cold.
14. Wear light colours. Darker colours will absorb the sun’s heat and stay warmer longer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat. And speaking of what to wear–ditch the socks and shoes and don some flip flops if you can–the feet are one of the body parts that tend to overheat.
15. Give your food some fire! People in hotter regions of the world eat spicy food because it increases perspiration without increasing body temperature much, and we actually perspire to aid the body in cooling.
16. Stay downstairs if you can. As you know, hot air rises, so if you have a sofa bed downstairs, you may feel more comfortable sleeping there–or better yet, in the cooler basement.
17. Turn off all heat sources, including stoves, computers, TVs and lamps, whenever possible. Switch to compact fluorescents or LED lamps if you can.
18. Insulate your house. This isn’t just to keep the heat in–a home that has well-insulated walls will actually keep the heat away, too. There are lots of eco friendly insulation options to choose from, such as sheep’s wool.
19. Plant Trees! Large plants can shade your home and keep things cooler. No room for a garden? Ivy can also cool walls, as does a green wall–and they look amazing, too!
20. Install air vents in the attic. This allows for more air circulation and makes a huge in cooling the house as a whole.
Main image: Wikicommons