The heat is on! If you're wanting to give the air-conditioner a miss, whether it be for environmental reasons, budget reasons, or just I-don't-have-air-con reasons, here are some great tips for keeping cool without having to retreat indoors and crank the heat pump.
1. Cool Clothes
Ok so this one is a bit obvious, but think about what you're wearing; cotton fabrics that are not only light in weight, but also in colour, are best. Dark colours absorb the sun whereas light colours reflect it.
2. Pulse Points
Cooling your pulse point areas help chill your blood vessels effectively and consequently lower your overall body temperature. Keep some damp cloths in the fridge and put one around your neck when you need to chill out. Run your wrists under cold water, soak your feet in a bucket of cold water or hold an ice cube to the back of your knees or inner thighs.
3. Refreshing Food
Cool yourself down from the inside-out with these food ideas; freeze fruit like plums and grapes for refreshing snacks, make iceblocks or treat yourself to an icecream (in a cone, not a cup!), make smoothies with ice/frozen berries and bananas, eat curry - it may be the last thing you feel like, but a hot curry or chilli increases body perspiration, which in turn cools the body as it evaporates. Finally, drink. If you have a spare water bottle keep one in the fridge/freezer while you have the other one nearby as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
4. Breezey Windows
It goes against our instincts, but keep your windows shut in heat of the day. Shut curtains/blinds which let in direct sun too. Open them up in the evening when the temperature drops a bit or if the wind picks up get a cross breeze going by opening windows at opposite ends of a space. There is also an old trick of putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan to create a chilled breeze.
5. Avoid Hot Appliances
Try not to use appliances that create heat in your house; handwash the dishes or leave the dishwasher until night time, hang clothes out instead of using the dryer, and bbq instead of using the oven.
6. In the still on the night
Night time is when the heat can hit us the hardest. Try some of these tips;
Create a cold water bottle by filling your hotties and putting it in the freezer, or fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. The compress will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to nod off.
Sleep in cotton sheets, buckwheat pillows also don't retain the heat as much. Try popping your sheets in the freezer for a few minutes before bed. (in a bag)
If possible keep windows open and create a cross breeze
Try the Egyptian method - sleep under or on a damp sheet
Hang a wet sheet in front of an open window
7. Escape the Heat
If you simply need a break from the heat for a bit, how about using someone else's air-con? Hit the library, or cool off at the museum. It's a bit like car-pooling; their air-con is on anyway so you might as well use it! Air-con-pooling. Or find some water; beach, river, lake or pool.
Finally, remember, it won't last long, and soon we'll all be complaining about the winter cold! A bit of mind over matter goes a long way; make the most of this amazing kiwi/aussie summer!