By Laura Firszt, Networx
Summer’s here and the temperature is rising. On scorching dry days, you may be very tempted to stay home with the shades drawn, huddled next to your air conditioner or fan. But, like it or not, you're going to have to go out some time. Why not try a few of these refreshing tips to stay cool(er) while you're outside in the summer weather?
1. Stay hydrated. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip it regularly. Don’t wait till you feel thirsty – that means you are already on your way to dehydration. Ring the changes on your basic H2O once in a while by adding a squeeze of lemon or sipping chilled herbal tea. Avoid alcohol and consume coffee or other caffeinated or sugar-laden drinks sparingly. If you start to feel lightheaded, dry-mouthed, faint and/or headachy, sit down ASAP to rest and take a drink.
2. Shower cool. Though hot water is better for removing dirt and grease, finish your shower with a lower temperature rinse to cool your body down. You may find yourself wishing to take several showers a day in the intense heat of summer; if so, you might want to have a plumber install a low flow shower or spray dimmer to conserve water and save money on your utility bill.
3. Dab it on. Pamper your body with refreshing peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus or lavender extracts or oils or a natural-source solid perfume. Your skin may need extra hydration on super hot, dry summer days; use a light, freshly scented body lotion. Soak overheated, overtired feet in a tub of water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. CAUTION: Nursing mothers are advised to steer clear of mint products.
4. Take a powder. Sprinkle your skin lightly with powder to absorb sweat and minimize chafing, especially in the underarm and thigh area. Because talc, traditionally the main component of body powder, is a potential carcinogen, you might want to substitute cornstarch or its even softer cousin, potato starch. Buy them in the grocery store for a fraction of the price of fancy perfumed powders.
5. Dress for success. Choose loose flowing clothing in light-colored natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, jute and rayon (manufactured in an eco-friendly manner, of course). Some folks like the instant pop of cool that comes from putting on underwear that’s been stashed in the freezer overnight. Don’t forget to protect yourself by wearing a hat and applying sunscreen to uncovered skin.
6. Put on the spritz. Use a plant mister to spray yourself with water, especially on pulse points just above the temples, on the side of the neck and on your inner wrists. Keeping the bottle in the refrigerator will give you an extra refreshing spray. A cool, damp washcloth or a towel-wrapped icepack produces a similar effect. CAUTION: Never apply ice directly to the skin, as this can cause cold burn.
7. Eat lightly. Small meals or snacks spread out over the course of the day are preferable to two or three huge feasts. Go for foods like salads or fresh fruit that are light, juicy (another source of hydration!) and easy to digest, rather than heavy or greasy.
8. Stamp out salt … NOT. Your body requires a certain amount of sodium to replace what is lost due to sweat, particularly if you are highly active in the heat. Individuals with a family history of high blood pressure should consult their doctor about whether salt is appropriate in their summer diet.
9. Adjust your schedule. Plan exercise and other physically demanding activities for evening or early morning whenever possible. (Switching your workout venue to the local swimming pool until autumn comes is another excellent heat beating idea.) Try to stay inside during mid-afternoon, the hottest time of day.
10. Adjust your attitude. Move at a slower pace in the summertime. De-stress by taking a vacation and enjoying your family, physically and mentally distancing yourself from work and other mundane concerns. Even when you return from holiday, incorporate some form of relaxation, such as meditation or yoga, as an integral part of your daily routine.