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  • 8 Sure-Fire Ways to Keep Your Cool When Temps Rise

    refreshing foot soak
    Photo courtesy ABMP

    Rising temps often lead to rising stress levels. I’m sure you’ve noticed that people get crabby  when they’re overheated, and that causes stress in everyone around them.  So in light of last week’s heat wave and the likelihood of hot temperatures for the duration of summer, here are 8 ways to keep your cool at home when temperatures rise and you don’t have AC (or you want to be super-eco and use it as little as possible).

    1. Find air conditioning – If you don’t have AC in your home, find someplace that does and go there for a couple hours. Places to go: library, mall, local stores, massage therapist (hint hint), movie theater, restaurant, or friend’s house.
    2. Box fans – Place box fans in your windows to help regulate the temperature. Turn them to blow hot air out during the hottest part of the day, and turn them to bring in the cool air at night and early morning.
    3. Make your house a cave – Close the shades, drapes, &/or curtains to keep out the sun’s heat. If you don’t have curtains or shades, either get some or tack blankets over your windows (like you did in college). It’s amazing how much cooler your house will stay when keep the heat out in the first place. (The Victorians knew what they were doing with those heavy velvet drapes of theirs.)
    4. Ceiling fans – It is amazing how well ceiling fans work to cool you down; couple this with a few box fans and most days you won’t miss the AC at all. Well, at least here in Michigan; I can’t speak for those of you in hotter climes.
    5. Cold water –  Soak your feet in a cold footbath for about 20-30 minutes or so (use an actual footbath, a bucket, bowl, tub, or what ever you have handy) . This will cool your body temp safely and keep it down for several hours after you take your feet out and dry off. This even worked for us last year when temps were up to 110F, but the cooling effect only lasted 1/4-1/2 as long as normal. When temps were that high we also added ice to the footbath and paired it with an ice pack on top of our heads to prolong the cooling effects.
    6. Change your cooking habits – When it’s too hot to cook, don’t. This is the time for sandwiches and salads. It’s also a great excuse to go out to eat in an air-conditioned restaurant.
    7. Change your diet – There are many cooling foods, and the time to eat them is when it’s blazing hot outside. Some of my faves are rhubarb, lemon water, cucumber, melon, and grapefruit. I was once told by an Indian chef that the spiciest curries generally come from the hottest regions of India. He said that the spiciness induced sweating which was ultimately cooling to the body. Spicy food hasn’t been very cooling to me in the summer time (and I love me some spicy curries), but then again humidity levels tend to be quite high in a state that’s surrounded on three sides by vast bodies of water (and the air is already so saturated there’s no where for your sweat to go). However, if I’m ever insane enough to travel to the desert in the summer time, I’ll be sure to try out this theory.
    8. Stay Hydrated – High heat, even when accompanied by high humidity, can dehydrate you very quickly. Dehydrated bodies aren’t able to modulate their temperature as well as hydrated ones, so make sure you drink enough water to keep your temp from either rising or falling too much.

    I’ve lived in my non-air conditioned, 2 story home for over 20 years and I swear by these strategies. I’d have cracked long ago if they didn’t work. Feel free to mix and match them, use them all, or make up your own. If you have a stay-cool trick that I haven’t mentioned, please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear it.