Summer’s heat is still sweeping through parts of the country, and at times it can be quite fierce! Not all homes have air-conditioning and it can be mighty hard to function when it’s over 90 degrees inside.
We don’t have an air conditioning system in our home, and usually that’s fine because of the cool breezes we get. But over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a few days when I’ve had to draw upon my past experiences in New York City where I barely survived those sweltering summers.
In New York, I lived on the fifth floor of an old walk-up (no elevator) apartment. There was no air-conditioning and I couldn’t afford to buy a window unit version. So over time, that heat would just rise up and intensify in my apartment. In those days, I left the apartment around 6am and returned home around 8pm and sleeping in that heat was impossible. I am forever grateful for a neighbor of mine who was kind enough to share with me a few heat wave survival tips. I’ve added a few of my own over the years and I’ve compiled the best list for you!
(1) Cover the windows – During the day, keep the windows covered. Close the blinds, the curtains or hang a sheet over the window to keep the strong sun out.
(2) Use fans wisely – If it’s scorching hot outside have the fan blowing directly on you. The ‘two fans in opposite windows’ technique is only good when it’s cooler outside than inside.
(3) Avoid caffeine or alcohol – Although tasty, they do dehydrate the body. Instead, drink lots of water. You may want to add some flavor such as lemon, cucumber, or maybe an orange. What is often unknown is that adding fruit to water helps balance the ph levels and provides electrolytes. This means we can actually get the benefits of hydration. When we drink caffeine then water, the water just passes through our system without really hydrating us.
(4) Splash Dance – You might need to do this a few times in the day, but it works! Just hop in the shower for a one-minute splash down and be sure to get your hair wet. A cool head helps a lot.
(5) Mist-ify Yourself – Mist yourself with a water-filled spray bottle or use a wet washcloth over your arms, face, neck, etc. A little bit of water does wonders!
(6) Wet T-shirt – It may sound silly, but it works!
(7) Wear light cotton or linen – Being naked isn’t the best option. A light layer of clothing actually is more beneficial for keeping in the moisture.
(8) Eat light – Prepare a salad or a cold sandwich and do get enough protein! Do not cook with a stove or oven because it will heat the house even more.
(9) Go fruity– I like frozen blueberries or a frozen banana when it’s super hot. It’s best to have the banana already peeled and wrapped in wax paper when it goes into the freezer. It’s hard to peel a frozen banana. You can also make flavored water ice-cube popsicles. Just don’t use Kool-Aid or other sugar mixes. It’s best to use actual fruit.
(10) Wet towel – This is my all time favorite. It’s the miracle that allowed me to sleep in those scorching New York summer nights! If you need to sleep and it’s too hot, sleep on a wet towel or even sandwich yourself between two wet towels, one under you and one over you while the fan is blowing directly on you.
I write these tips because I know we can’t just hang out in a mall all day. We have to go home sometime and when it’s over 90 degrees indoors, these tips have worked wonders for me! Tried and true, I love them all and pass them on to you!
** Although these tips can help, there’s no need to test your limits. If you are feeling nauseated, dizzy, light headed, or developing a rash then call a doctor as soon as possible. You might have heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Also if you live near an elderly or disabled person who you think needs checking-in on, please do so.
What are your favorite tips to beat the heat?