Beat the Heat This Summer — Eleven Ways!

“It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.”

~ John Cheever

Summertime — after the many months of social isolation, we are eager to get together with our friends and family for barbecues, backyard parties and picnics at the beach. We are getting out our summer playlists, packing picnic baskets, and stocking up on sunscreen.   

Summer brings shorts, sun hats, flip-flops, popsicles, sprinklers — and searing heat, blazing sun and stifling hot, sweaty, sleepless nights. I don’t know about you, but since I turned 50, my heat tolerance has steadily decreased. That was more than a decade ago, and while I love the summer, I find that my body does not like the sweltering heat that the season usually brings. Every year now, I look for more ways to lower my body temperature when the thermometer hits 30+ Celsius.  

We just came out of an extreme heatwave and meteorologists are predicting another scorching week ahead. If you are like me and wilt at the thought of hot weather, don’t sweat it! Check out these 11 tips to help you beat the heat this summer! 

Stay hydrated   
Keep your water bottle filled throughout the day. Listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. Don’t like plain water? Try adding slices of lemons, limes, or oranges to your water bottle. You can use carbonated water if you want a little fizz.  I like to throw strawberry chunks and crushed basil leaves in a pitcher of water to keep in the fridge so I can stay hydrated all day. Want more ideas? Visit Smarter Fitter for 32 natural ways to flavour water.  
NOTE: You probably have been encouraged to drink 8 cups of water every day (8×8 rule) for optimal health. Today experts agree that there is no scientific evidence for this formula. The consensus now is that you drink when you feel thirsty. Researchers now stress that we also get water from other fluids and foods that we consume. If you want to know more about this – read this article: Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day: Fact or Fiction?   

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

 Eat Water-Rich Food   
Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and other melons contain a lot of water. They are easy to digest, and they taste great. Their versatility makes them the perfect summer food. You can freeze chunks of them to use as ice cubes. They are delicious in salads. They round out a cheese plate and make excellent desserts. Try these four simple melon salads from The View From Great Island food blog. 

You Are What You Eat
According to the Food Republic, you can lower your body temperature by eating lentils, beans and bananas, as well as water-rich food. To find out more, read their article: 4 Food Tips to Help You Stay Cool. Believe it or not, eating spicy food can help you feel a bit cooler. Spicy food, like three-alarm chilli, habanero bean salad, or those delicious jalapeno poppers, can elevate your body temperature and make you sweat. As you sweat, your body naturally cools down. Check out this article, Does Eating Spicy Foods Really Help Beat the Heat?

Keep your kitchen cool by planning no-cook meals instead of using the stove or oven. Try this luscious Prawn Mango Avocado Salad. Why not have homemade submarine sandwiches for dinner? If you’re craving a plateful of chicken cacciatore, use your Instapot to help keep the kitchen cool.

Clothes make the woman or man 
Sure, if you are lounging around the house, you can be naked — that is cool! But if you are going outdoor, you should cover up. Wear white or light-coloured, natural fabrics that breathe, such as linen, or cotton. Don’t forget to put on a hat and a pair of sunglasses. You’ll look and feel fantastic. For more about natural fabrics, check out this article Best Fabrics to Wear in the Summer (and 5 of the Worst) from Magnolia & Tulle.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Check your pulse points 
You can cool down your body by placing a cold compress, cloth or ice pack on your pulse points — namely the back of your neck, your wrists, the insides of your elbows and knees or the tops of your feet. It is easy to make a cold (or hot) pack either by hand sewing or with a machine. See this step-by-step tutorial to sew a rice bag.

If you prefer a no-sew method, fill a cotton sock with rice (so it is about two-thirds full) and tie it shut. Put the filled sock in the freezer for a while until chilled. Place on the back of your neck for some cooling relief. If you use your bag as a heat pack, make sure your material or the sock is pure cotton, some synthetics are not microwave-safe.  

Throw some shade 
Grab a book and sit under a big tree. It can be up to 10 degrees cooler under a shady elm or oak. Do not forget your water bottle! Check out the New York Times list of 24 Books to Read This Summer.    

Ahh, that minty fresh feeling  
Try this fresh tip. Slather your body in peppermint lotion. Not only will it stimulate your nerves, making you feel cooled, but peppermint lotion will help your skin retain its moisture. Win/Win. If peppermint is not your thing, put your favourite lotions and other creams in the fridge. You will love the cooling sensation when you use them during the hot summer months. Since peppermint contains menthol, it can help you beat the heat in other ways too. Try sipping peppermint tea — it will make your body feel cool in minutes. Click the link for a super easy recipe for iced peppermint tea. With only three ingredients, you will soon be chillaxin!  

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Cool as a cucumber  
Cucumbers are a refreshing addition to your water bottle. But did you know they can cool you down and rejuvenate your body? Try rubbing a slice of chilled cucumber over your face for a lovely cooling effect. Cucumbers are anti-inflammatory, and they have a high water content, ideal for soothing and hydrating your skin. See instructions here to make yourself a perfect hydrating and soothing mask using only cucumber and a little plain yogurt. 

Get soaked  
Run cold water over your hands and wrists, sit with your feet and ankles in a tub of cool water. Take cool showers or baths to help lower your body temperature. Forget the blow dryer. Let your hair dry naturally. You will stay cooler while it dries.  

Have some cool fun  
Stock up on water guns, flip flops, and popsicles. Jump in the pool or run through the sprinkler, with or without kids! You’re never too old to have fun splashing around! Stay cool. Don’t forget the sunscreen!  

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Too much sun?  
If you are out in the sun all day, you may suffer some sunburn and skin damage, even if you have slapped on layers of sunscreen. Smooth on some aloe vera gel for soothing pain relief. Aloe vera has been a staple in skincare for centuries — its healing properties are renowned. Not only can the gel be used for after sun care, but it is a perfect cleanser and moisturizer. Aloe vera gel is super easy to make. Mix it with water and freeze in ice cube trays. Use as needed to cool your sun-reddened skin. Read How to Make Aloe Vera gel.  

These ideas may help you get comfortable in the dog days of summer. I know I will be trying a few — anything to help me enjoy the sunny days ahead.  What do you do to beat the heat? 

3 Comments on “Beat the Heat This Summer — Eleven Ways!

  1. That’s a great list of things. I love cucumber in my water. Although we don’t get as hot here in Nova Scotia, the heat and humidity does get to me. We actually installed mini split heat pumps this year, which cool in summer and heat in winter. I have to admit, they make a huge difference but I still sweat at night, even with those supposedly cooling bamboo sheets and covers.

    • Cucumber is one of my favourite ways to flavour water — I also love fresh mint, especially with lemon. I try to stay in the shade as much as possible when I am outside. But, it is somewhat difficult when walking the dog, We go to a lot of forested parks – the cool greenness of the trees is a blessing. You are fortunate to have a garden to putter around in,