- Block the sun out. Before the sun hits your windows, close all your blinds and draw the curtains shut. Turn the blinds so that the reflective, white side is facing the window. This will help reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Sure, you will miss seeing the beautiful outdoors, but you will be blocking the sun from heating your place up like a green house.
- Let the cool evening and early morning air in. Open up all of the windows at night and again in the morning to let all the cooled down air enter your home. Opening doors and window across from each other will also create a nice cross draft in your home, especially if there is a breeze.
- Close everything up. Not only should you close your blinds, but you should also shut all your windows and doors before the temperatures get too warm. Depending on your comfort level, as soon as you see the temperature warm up above 75 degrees, it is recommended to close your home up. (Some people are fine until 80 degrees.) This will help lock in, and retain some of the cool air that you had let in. Also, make sure your dampers in the fireplace are shut to prevent the heat from pulling in during the day too.
- Place ice in front of your fan. Putting a shallow bowl of ice water in front of the fan will help cool you off. The breeze will be cooler and as the ice and water evaporate, you will get a nice cooling sensation.
- Turn your fan around in the window. At night, when the temperatures drop, place the fan in the window facing out instead of in. Sounds backwards, but this will help draw the warm air from inside your home out, and pull the cooler night air back in. (At least that is what Bill Nye, the Science Guy, claims.)
- Cool your body. There are a number of ways to help cool your body down. You can keep a spray bottle of water in your refrigerator and spritz yourself with the cool water, letting the cool water evaporate and give you a little reprieve. You can also take a cool shower and let your hair air dry. Or you can place wrapped up ice cubes, or other frozen items, and place them on the body’s cooling points of the wrists, ankles, behind the knees, or on the neck to help cool you down faster and more effectively.
- Teas and Essential Oils. Drinking peppermint or chrysanthemum tea, hot or cold, will help cool you down. Both have cooling effects to the body. Also, using essential oils of the mint family will help cool you as well. Peppermint is the most common, but spearmint and eucalyptus are also both great coolants. Place a drop in your hands and rub together. Then, with your hands, dab your neck, wrists, or other cooling points on your body with the oil. Reapply as needed.
- Eat spicy foods. Again, this sounds backwards, but the spicy foods will kick your blood circulation up and make you sweat, thus cooling your body off for a temporary relief.
- Turn down the heat inside. Keep your foods light (salad anyone?) and avoid using the oven. Electric stove tops, crockpots, rice cookers, and bbq grilling are your best options for cooking when the heat rises.
- Power off. Keep the lights, computer, and TV off as much as possible. They all radiate heat, warming your home up even more.
- Drink plenty of water. Ok, you knew that one was coming. As you sweat, your lose water in your body. You need to replenish that water loss, not only to keep you hydrated, but to help prevent heat strokes, headaches, fatigue, and to allow your body to cool itself down. Yes, water intake helps cool the body’s natural temperature down. So drink up!
Summer is here and the temperatures are more consistently heating up, which means cooling down yourself and your home takes more of an effort. If you are fortunate enough to live in a home with central air conditioning, the hot summer days are not too bad. If your home does not have central AC, or you are among the mass numbers of apartment or condo dwellers, you cringe when you see the forecast of sunny days with the temperatures around 90 degrees for several days in a row. If you are on a budget, buying a portable and/or window air conditioner units might not be the solution for you and your family to live comfortably in your home during the heat waves. So how to do you combat the heat? Below is a list of some helpful ideas to help you beat the heat this summer.
Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland,
Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and
a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.