Wednesday, June 15, 2011

15 Real Ways to Beat the Heat

After a week of triple digit temps here in June of 2011, I've decided to repost this from August of 2010: Toward the end of winter I long desperately for summer, for flowers and gardening, swimming and picnics and generally enjoying being outdoors in shorts and sunshine. Spring tiptoes in like the answer to a prayer and all is wonderful in my world. Unfortunately spring turns into summer and each year it comes as a surprise that a hot summer can be as difficult as a hard winter. In the sweltering heat and humidity of Florida in late July and August, I find myself wishing for winter again. Perhaps it is God's way of having us always look forward to something.
Over a lifetime, I've put together a mental list of ways to keep my cool. This year, I wrote it all down and did some research to make sure my inclinations were backed by science.
Here's the list:
  1. Avoid make-up whenever possible. Skin needs to breathe. Pores have a purpose and clogging them with make-up is like wearing a blanket on your face.
  2. Keep your hair off the back of your neck. The nape of the neck is very sensitive to touch and interprets the smallest breeze as a wash of cooling air. Also, hair gathered loosely in a clip allows for more air circulation along your scalp than when it is pulled tightly in a pony tail.
  3. Cool pulse points, especially at the inner wrists, inside the elbows and behind the knees. Pulse points are places where blood runs just below the surface of the skin. Cooling the blood, cools the body. This can be done with cool running water, a damp cloth or an ice cube wrapped in a cloth.
  4. Keep a bottle of Witch Hazel and a container of cotton balls in the refrigerator. A cotton ball wet with Witch Hazel cools pulse points, both when applied and as it evaporates and it is great for removing make-up and removing the oils that accumulate on the face when we're over heated.
  5. Drink water. Stay well hydrated. This is always good advise but it is especially important in the heat as the natural cooling processes of the body can deplete the body's reserves and cause dehydration stressing the body's organs. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they increase dehydration.
  6. Adjust the Air Conditioner to a higher temperature and use fans to move the air. The moving air will feel just as cool while the higher artificial temperature reduces the difference between the air indoors and outdoors.
  7. Wear loose fitting clothing. Air circulation is always key to keeping cool.
  8. Wear natural fabrics - cotton or linen.
  9. Avoid use of fabric softeners on clothing during hot weather months. Fabric softeners coat the fabric fibers reducing or even eliminating their absorbency. Even our wonderfully soft and fluffy towels will not remove water from skin nearly as well as those rinsed with plain water.
  10. Avoid large meals heavy with protein and fat. They put more stress on the digestive system and as it works harder, it produces internal heat. Smaller, more frequent, lighter meals will actually help beat the heat.
  11. Eat Jalapenos - or other hot peppers. This might sound strange but it's true. Check it out HERE.
  12. Add lemon juice to your water - eat alkalinizing foods. Maintaining a proper bodily pH balance is important to proper system function, one of which is cooling the body. Find food lists HERE.
  13. Get your laptop off your lap. You may as well be sitting on a heating pad.
  14. Don't neglect your feet. The inner arches of your feet are also pulse points and need air movement to keep cool. Set your feet free. Sandals are not just for fashion they are practical.
  15. Sleep with your feet out of the covers. Again, it's a lot about air.
This is my personal list. There are many others that include things like standing in a bucket of ice or lying in a bathtub of cool water. You bet. They work. But I've tried to share the things that I do on a daily basis that are practical and achievable whether you stay at home or work in an office or in the field. Let me know how they work for you by leaving comments (below).


Cindy said...

Couldn't be more timely!!! A/C's out! Ugh! Thanks for the tips! However, I have tip #16... Avoid doing ANYTHING! Stress and sweat are close cousins!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas! Super helpful for the awful heat and humidity of a southern summer!