When a heatwave strikes some of us fare better than others. There are sun worshippers (or lizard people as I call them) who relish the chance to absorb as much heat as possible before the weather turns. Then there are people like me, just melting and wondering how to reduce our body heat.
We love a sunny day – especially when we are on holiday or have a cool pool to jump into – but that stifling heat with no let-up really gets to us. When the temperature doesn't dip much overnight we lack sleep, making us grouchy and less productive. And with extreme heatwaves happening more frequently, we need solutions other than sitting in front of a really good fan all day.
Now, being comfortable in a heatwave takes action in several areas. Firstly, you are going to want to keep your home cool to start with, using various preventative measures. When it is too late for those, you will need to know how to cool a room down fast to get things back to a level you can relax in. But when all else fails, cooling needs to get a little bit more personal which is why here we are focussing on ways to keep yourself (and your family) nice and cool.
From the obvious like staying hydrated to some handy hacks, we hope this brings your some relief from the heat.
1. Wear loose, natural fabrics
Tight fitting, synthetic fibers are going to make you all the more uncomfortable so opt for anything breathable. Bamboo, linen and cotton are all really good choices and help wick moisture from your skin for cooling.
The same is true when it comes to nightwear and remember to pick the best bedding for the heat with similar qualities. Interestingly, while being naked seems like the only solution in this heat (and you do you), a light and breathable fabric will promote better cooling so slip into some cotton comfies.
2. Adjust your schedule
This won't be possible for everyone, but if you do work from home, or work flexibly, speak to your manager about adjusting your hours when it is really hot. The heat really ramps up by midday with temperatures continuing to rise until a couple of hours before sundown. Our advice is to start work earlier if you can or split your shift to avoid working in the peak of the heat. Even if you are sitting in your home office, the additional heat from your laptop can make for an unbearable situation where you won't be fully focused or truly productive.
3. Eat foods that have a high water content and stick to small meals
So we all know that during a heatwave we should drink more water, but also think about how the food you eat could be keeping you hydrated. Loads of fruits and vegetables are good for this – strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cucumber and celery are all high in water content. Maybe keep a lunch box with you, filled with these fruits and veggies so you can always have a munch when you are feeling warm.
Eating large, carb heavy meals is also a no go in this mad heat. Eating big, carb heavy meals takes more digesting which means your body is working harder to process them and hence produces more body heat.
4. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine
Sorry about this one. Just in case you weren't miserable enough in these horrendously sweaty conditions. Yep, apparently, we should all be avoiding alcohol and caffeine as they will only further dehydrate us.
Drink six to eight glasses of water a day and listen to your body. And, if you really do need your morning coffee, consider making your own cooling beverage with the best iced coffee maker instead.
5. Have cool baths and showers
We aren't talking about an ice bath here, but a lukewarm shower or bath can lower your core body temperature. This is especially helpful before bed so you can go to sleep feeling cool and refreshed.
And if you live somewhere that is frequently on the hot side, maybe these above ground pool ideas will give you inspiration for a quick backyard swimming spot.
6. Splash your wrists with cold water
Since immersing yourself in cold water while you are at the office isn't the most realistic solution, you can get a similar cooling effect by running your wrists under some cold water. Focusing on cooling your pulse points (areas like your neck, wrists and feet) will quickly lower your overall body temperature. You could even soak or freeze some toweling wrist bands to wear.
7. Keep your skincare in the fridge
This might only be a temporary fix to the feeling you are going to spontaneously combust, but putting things like your face and body moisturiser in the fridge does have a lovely cooling effect. You can even get cute mini fridges to store skincare in your bedroom or bathroom.
8. Make a cold water bottle
Fill up a hot water bottle with cold water and pop it in the fridge before you go to work, you could even put in the freezer for a few hours (DO NOT FORGET ABOUT IT, IT WILL POP). Take it to bed with you to keep you cool while you fall asleep.
9. Take naps
So no coffee, no alcohol, no carbs but yay we get to take more naps! Make like the Spanish and take a short siesta when you get in from work. Hot weather is tiring and most of us will struggle to get a restful night's sleep, so just take 40 minutes or so to have a lie down and catch up on some Zzzs.
Animals are good at doing this so if you are wondering how to keep pets cool, perhaps you need to take a leaf out of their books instead.