Summer in the United States has officially begun in the last couple of weeks.
Growing up on a tropical island, there are high expectations with dealing with hot weather; however, there are days when I still cannot handle the stinging rays of the sun.
I am grateful that the weather in my current city has been gracious enough to give us most days with cool mornings and evenings, and windy afternoons. On our hottest days, I am able to get by with opened windows and a handheld fan.
I have experienced my first and only heatwave two summers ago, and with not having a fan or air conditioning at the time, it was something that I hope to never go through again.
Currently, there are many cities going through record-breaking heatwaves, encouraging wildfire season to occur. Below are a couple of articles about donations, cooling sites, and helpful guides about making it through such high temperatures.
Heatwave Safety Tips & Guides
Cooling Down for the Summer
STOCK UP ON REFRIGERATED SNACKS
Frozen fruits and refrigerated water (a lot), yogurt, ice cream – yes, please. I also have ingredients for homemade salad available. These are great to snack on throughout the warmer temperatures that’s helped cool my body down.
TAKE COLD SHOWERS
I prefer taking a cold shower once the weather heats up, which is mostly around the 2-4 PM hours. My body still does feel the heat afterward, but it’s so much cooler than before. For those who work outside of their homes, I suggest taking a cool-warm shower both in the morning and evening.
CLOSE THE CURTAINS
I’ve been living for blackout curtains these last couple of months. The curtains keep the room darker than usual, but they absorb the coolness within the room much better than the regular curtains.
OPEN THE WINDOWS
While the curtains may be closed, the windows are open wide. To further increase wind circulation in my bedroom, I sometimes leave my door open. The air from the cooler parts of the house and the winds from outside the house leave me feeling cooler.
I discovered this by accident from falling asleep after a yoga session. I was still on my yoga mat placed on the floor, and I noticed how much cooler it was. At first, I thought it was the normal cold weather of the Bay Area, but once I got up towards my bed, it wasn’t as cold. Sleeping on a mat or sleeping bag (or even lowering your mattress) on the ground is a great way to keep cool, even during the afternoons.
USE A HANDHELD FAN
A battery-operated mini fan has been helping me a lot. Plus, with an overnight charge, I can bring it with me everywhere I go, and it typically lasts 7+ hours (on level 1).
INCREASE WATER INTAKE
Water is obviously important during any day. But when temperatures rise, water is crucial for the mind and body. I often take consistent gulps throughout the day. I find that this feels better to my body than drinking one bottle in one go. And oftentimes, this leads me to finish at least five (5) bottles of 16.9 fl. oz of water, giving my body enough hydration.
KEEP THE LIGHTS TURNED OFF DURING THE DAY
Unless truly necessary, keeping the lights off does keep the rooms cooler and saves a lot of electricity. Even with the blackout curtains, the light from the sun is more than enough to light up the room.
BRING OUT THE WASHCLOTHS / BATH TOWELS
Damping a washcloth and patting it over the face and neck works wonderfully. And, to help keep the sweats at bay, placing a towel long enough to cover the entire length of our back does the trick.
Cotton tees and shorts, tank tops/spaghetti straps, and sometimes just being in a tee and underwear is the way to go when I’m in the house. When I’m outdoors, a regular cotton tee, leggings, polarized sunglasses, and a snapback/baseball cap often keeps most of the heat to a minimum. The cap keeps us from getting sunburnt and provides extra protection from the sun’s glares towards our eyes. The polarized sunglasses help block out UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
VISIT THE SHOPPING MALL, LIBRARY, OR OTHER COOLING PLACES
You get to do some fun activities or relax in a cool atmosphere without having to spend anything unless you want to. A shaded area at the park or beach brings in fresh, cool winds and it also provides moments of relaxation and meditation.
One of my favorite ways to cool down outdoors is to go swimming at the beach or a swimming pool. And, if given a chance, a mini pool that can be placed in the front yard. Also, don’t forget to apply sunblock.
GET UP EARLY
I’ve learned and experienced that the not-so-good times to be outdoors are from 11 AM-2 PM as these are the hours where the sun’s glares are simply not generous for the skin. So, I often do my morning walks, groceries, laundry, and workout routine from 6 AM-8 AM or from 5 PM-7 PM, times that are much cooler. I find it best to do any errands or other outdoor tasks as early into the morning or evening as possible to escape the outdoor heat.
CHECK UP ON OTHERS AND YOURSELF
Any extreme weather causes us to not be the best version of ourselves. Our minds and bodies handle the heat differently. Take some time throughout your day to find something relaxing that you enjoy doing – talk with family/friends, watch a movie, sleep, meditate, listen to music, take a bubble bath. And also spend some time checking in on babies and infants, the elderly, animals, and those who are sensitive to extreme heat as they would most likely appreciate your care.