I live in British Columbia, Canada, and if you’ve seen the news lately, you’ll have probably seen the record-breaking heatwave that happened here recently. In fact, it’s still very hot in many parts of the province. However, I live in Vancouver so luckily being by the ocean means we’re a bit cooler. That being said, it’s still super hot at night living in a condo without AC (very common in Vancouver). Here’s how we (and our recently fostered husky) have been staying cool during the summer heat.
1. Blinds open or closed?
Keeping your curtains or blinds open or closed throughout the day will depend on how much sunlight comes directly into your place. As we’re north-facing, we’ve been able to let in some light without it getting too hot. That being said, keeping the apartment dark and blocking out light has definitely helped it to feel cooler, day and night.
Sometimes, however, especially when working from home, you can start to get cabin fever living in a dark place all day with no views of outside. If you’re going to open your curtains or blinds, best to do it from evening until sunrise when it’s darker and cooler outside.
2. It’s all about fan positioning
Whether you have AC or not, you’re probably going to be placing a few fans around your apartment to get the airflow circulating. If you know there’s a heatwave coming and you don’t have a fan yet (or AC), be sure to purchase one before they sell out. With the fan, you’re going to want to place it in front of an open window or door as this helps to keep any hot air out of your apartment.
If you’re looking to try and get your fan to blast some cooler air, you can try to position an ice pack in front of it or hang a damp towel. We never really had much luck with this but many of our friends had. If you don’t have a fan, you can try to hang damp sheets across open windows.
3. Eat those ice cubes
We’ve been putting ice cubes in our drinks and eating them on their own as a way to cool down. We’ve even been giving them to the doggo. She loves to lick them like they’re an ice lolly. We also pop some in her water bowl. If you have a few ice trays, be sure to fill them all up and keep on top of your ice-making routine to keep cool.
4. Pop your sheets in the freezer
Right before you head off to bed, pop your sheets in the freezer. They won’t stay cool for too long but they will help you to drift off to sleep in calming comfort. This combined with a fan will help to circulate cool air around your bedroom.
5. Use damp towels
Running small towels or flannels under cold water, wringing them out, and placing them on the back of your neck or forehead provides instant relief when you’re feeling too hot during the day. We’ve even been placing a cool damp towel on our husky, putting them on her belly and inner thighs. Wanting extra cold towels? Place these in the freezer for a short while too.
6. Visit rivers and lakes for a cool dip
If you have any in your area, heading down to rivers provides a great break from the heat as the valley is usually a lot cooler than most places around. And if you don’t have a river, try a lake. Sometimes lakes can be quite warm but it’s definitely worth a shot.
7. Have cold showers
The West of North America has been experiencing an historic drought. We’ve not been showering more often (in an effort to conserve water) but we have been turning our showers to the coldest setting possible. Sometimes it’s hard to get in and you come out freezing cold but it makes such a difference to lower your body temperature. I have even been leaving my hair wet so it sits on the back of my neck helping me to stay cool.
With our doggo, we have been filling the bath with cool water and allowing her to stand in it up to her belly. Having her paws and belly submerged in water for a few minutes has been making a huge difference to her heat and mood!
8. Avoid cooking inside
If you can afford it, this would be a great time to eat out in restaurants with AC or order takeaway to support small local businesses. However, that isn’t within your budget, try BBQing on your balcony/in your garden or alternately, eat meals you don’t have to cook. Cooking, whether stovetop or oven bake, will make your apartment a lot warmer than you want.
9. Visit your friends (the ones that have AC anyway)
If it’s safe to do so (with COVID restrictions and whether or not you’ve been vaccinated), it may be worthwhile to visit some friends for a few hours as a break from the heat. Take some ice lollies along and enjoy the company of your friends… and their AC!
10. Put your feet in buckets of cold water
Not got a pool? Nope, me neither. An alternative is to fill up some tubs or buckets with ice-cold water and leave your feet in to soak. Try this during the evening whilst you’re listening to a podcast or watching Netflix, it will feel like you’ve floated away from your condo and into a spa!
Sometimes when you’re too hot and bothered, you can forget to drink water. It’s important to stay hydrated and make sure you’re drinking enough water (especially considering all of the water and salts you’re probably losing through sweat!).
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