We've reached the end of summer! …or the beginning of Indian Summer… Either way, it's that special time of year when you don't need to turn on the hot water because the cold water somehow never gets cold. I'm not quite sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with how flippin hot it's been!
Seeing that this new heat wave might not just be a "wave," but the new "norm" for our lives, and that we actually might be somewhat responsible for it, I decided to spend this last week trying to stay cool in other ways besides cranking up the air conditioning and creating even more greenhouse gases.
So here, in no particular order, are a few of my theories and experiences (both efficient and not) that formed what I'm calling "Beat the Heat Week."
WASHING YOUR CAR
Not because you naturally cool down while sudsing your sedan, but because it's basically law that when you wash your car, it will almost always rain afterwards.
It happened to me last week! And as counter productive as it sounds, I assure you the little bit of heat relief is totally worth the fact that your dirty black car is right back where it started.
NO T, LOTS OF SHADE
Unless you're living in 90% humidity, the best way to avoid the heat is still by finding some shade. I spent an afternoon sitting under a tree in a park, for example. Also, don't be afraid to cover up when you're in the sun. Protecting your body by shading yourself is a great way to stay comfortable.
Which brings up a question I had last week… Whatever happened to umbrellas? I'm talking old fashioned, Hello Dolly! umbrellas and parasols? It seems like a good idea. You are literally carrying around your shade with you!
I think we need to bring them back. The next time I'm driving down Santa Monica Blvd, I want to see the sidewalks decorated with people carrying around their shade. Who knows, they might just become the new old "must have" accessory.
I made homemade popsicles last week using molds I found at the grocery store and different flavored coconut waters. I thought it would be a great idea for a mid day treat that was still hydrating and healthy. They turned out pretty good. (Take a look at the double decker one I made by freezing the juices in increments.) Just keep in mind that when you eat something that's frozen, your taste buds get a little numb and insensitive, which is probably why "real" popsicles have so much sugar in them.
COMMUNAL AIR CONDITIONING
When you're attempting to erase your carbon footprint by NOT blasting the air conditioner on a hot, summer afternoon, there's something very important you can remember. "Just because you're not blasting your air conditioner doesn't mean someone else isn't blasting theirs."
In other words, there is no reason to go to the movies at night in the summer. Theatres are always nice and chilly and ready to charge you less for a matinee, so take advantage of it! (I must admit, it was a little difficult to find a movie I wanted to see, but I made it happen…) The same goes for all kinds of shopping and eating. Get out of the house, and enjoy one of the perks of capitalism: communal air conditioning!
SLOW YOUR PULSE
Did you know there are certain areas on your body called "pulse points?" They are places where your blood runs closest to the skin, thereby making it simple to take your pulse.
The five main pulse point areas are:
- Carotid- side of the neck
- Radial- the wrist
- Femoral- near the groin
- Pedal- on the foot
- Brachial- at the inside of the elbow or under the shoulder
Cooling these areas is an effective way to give your overheated body a quick cool down. Try keeping some "accessories" in the freezer to cool down your neck and wrists. Freeze a bottle of water and set it in your lap while you're sitting on the couch. And my personal favorite, if you're feeling depleted, soak your feet in some cold water. These will all give immediate relief by cooling the blood that's circulating throughout your body.
OK, so this one isn't necessarily a way to cool down, but it sure is good moral support. Indoor plants do a lot of things for us. They create oxygen, making it easier to breathe, and they bring life into a room, which help us to feel a little less stale when stuck at work.
NASA recently released a list of air purifying plants that not only do all of the above, but also literally purify the air of toxins. If you are feeling miserable at work during the summer heat, take a look at bringing in some of these natural wonders. 10 Fabulous Houseplants
What I find really hopeful about "beating the heat" is that we're all in it together. Weather is no respecter of persons. If it's 100 degrees outside, then it's 100 degrees outside for everyone.
This is especially important when temperatures start to make our blood boil. Everyone is in the same boat. We all feel sticky and uncomfortable, and there's no reason to yell at each other.
On the contrary, these are the moments we should take a look at our neighbors or fellow pedestrians and smile, recognizing that with our shiny foreheads and shirts with pit stains, we're all "beating the heat" together.