Well as I’ve mentioned, it’s already been one long hot summer and it looks like we’ve got a few more weeks to go before it cools down. So how does one stay cool when it’s plenty hot outside? One never knows, now does one? :P
All kidding aside, I’ve lived all over the world, including in some very hot places. Assuming you’re not extremely wealthy and don’t have servants to fan you while they feed you chilled grapes, what are some good ways to stay cool?
PS – I’m going to skip a lot of the “duh” stuff like wearing light-colored clothing and staying out of direct sunlight. Sheesh, I hope you know this already!
DRINK LOTS OF WATER – I’m capitalizing this because it’s the single most important thing you can do. Not coffee, not beer, not iced tea, not anything but water. Drink lots and lots and lots of water and when you’re done doing that, drink some more water.
If you own a car, think of water as like the “oil” that keeps your motor lubricated. If you own a computer, think of water as the “fan” that keeps your computer from overheating. If you’re a dog, think of water as the “tongue” that hangs out of your mouth. If you’re a person, drink water when it’s hot!
Eat watermelon – Ever see those gigantic green fruits that just so coincidentally happen to be enormous and ripe during the hottest part of the year? Think that’s a magical mystery of the universe? It’s not. Nature provides watermelon when it’s hot so you can eat it. It’s about 99% water but deliciously sweet (without any harmful effects of white sugar) and it’s flipping delicious.
Also, it’s fun to spit the seeds. The one who can spit the seeds the furthest is a winner!
Close your windows in the morning – If you leave your windows open at night, the cool air will seep into your house. In the morning, close your windows. It seems a little odd at first but it will keep your house a lot cooler during the day than if you leave your windows open.
Happy feet – You can lose a lot of heat through your feet. It’s pretty obvious to not wear socks or heavy shoes during the summer but if you’re somewhere stationary, just placing your feet in a basin of cool water will do wonders. You’ll feel a LOT cooler and it’s easier to keep soaking your feet than to take 5 million showers during the day.
Happy necks – I used to know a guy who had to work outdoors in the hot sun all day as part of his job. He taught me a useful trick which you can use almost anywhere, which is to apply something cool (or cold) to the back of your neck.
Take a drink out of the refrigerator or use a wet towel but anything applied to the back of your neck that’s cold will make you feel almost instantly cooler.
Redneck air conditioning – If you own a fan but not a true “air conditioning” machine, you can actually try an old trick I used to use years ago.
Take a tray of ice cubes and put them in front of the fan. The fan will blow air across them, in effect, making cool, frosty air blow on you and you’ll feel a lot better immediately. It only works for about an hour or so (until the ice melts) but it’s a really cheap and effective way to get some relief.
Stick your head in the freezer – Again, based on the idea that there’s a lot of heat transfer going on regarding your head (it’s why people wear warm hats in the winter), sticking your head in the freezer for even a couple of minutes is great.
If you’re like me and you’re out and about in the city and get a little hot, just go into a grocery store. Pretend you’re digging around for something and just stick your head in the freezer for a minute or two. Nobody will care!
Sleep in the tub – Most bathtubs are either enameled metal or else fiberglass plastic. Either way, they aren’t made out of textile (like your bed/mattress) and so they retain no heat at all. This means that if you lay down in one (even bone dry and empty), there’s nothing to radiate your body heat back at you. Grab a pillow, stretch out and enjoy a pleasant sleep.
For extra cooling power, just fill up the tub with a centimeter or two (USA: inch) of water. There’s nothing better than water for wicking away body heat. You can still use a pillow because it’s far above the water line. Good Z’s!
Knockout shot – Back when it was brutally hot even during the night, I’d use a little alcohol to send me right to sleep. I’d keep a beer in the refrigerator until it was right at the point of freezing and then I’d drink it rapidly right before going to bed.
The coldness of the liquid combined with the (relatively) mild relaxant of the alcohol can get you to sleep during even the hottest and muggiest weather.
And last but not least…
Grill some food outdoors – Say what? I know, I know. But there’s just something awesome and magical about gathering around food that is cooking over a fire. It makes you enjoy your summer and not feel the heat so much. I don’t know why this works but it does. So fire up the barbecue!