If you live in an area that is currently experiencing a heatwave, you may be sick of feeling sweaty and exhausted all day. Maybe you do have central air conditioning, but you’re trying to limit your usage so that your electric bill doesn’t skyrocket. Or maybe you only have a window unit, so you can’t keep your whole apartment or house cool. Or, for financial or environmental reasons, you may not have air conditioning at all. Air conditioners leak HFCs, a greenhouse gas that’s over 1,000 times more heat-trapping than carbon dioxide and contributes to ozone depletion. So not having air conditioning means you’re not making the world warmer—but it definitely means you’re struggling to stay cool. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make this situation more bearable. Here are a few wellness tips to help you survive the summer heatwave.
Stay Super Hydrated
We probably don’t have to remind you that staying hydrated during a heatwave is extremely important. Make sure you have a reusable water bottle on you at pretty much all times. And remember, if you happen to have a few drinks in the evening, alcohol is dehydrating, so drink a big glass of water before you go to bed. In addition to drinking plenty of water, eating hydrating foods can also help you avoid feeling parched. Keep a watermelon in your fridge, snack on oranges throughout the day, and choose carrots and hummus if you’re craving a crunch instead of chips or pretzels.
Keep Your Apartment Dim and Cool
Even if you have your AC running, keep your shades drawn during the day and limit the amount of natural sunlight that enters your apartment. Try closing the east-facing windows and blinds at around 10 a.m. (or whenever it starts to feel warmer), and south-facing windows and blinds at around 11 a.m., and west-facing windows and blinds by noon. If you have curtains, close them on top, too—the more you insulate, the less the sunlight and heat will be able to penetrate the interior. Open all windows and blinds after the temperature drops to 75° or below, and keep the fans running in order to circulate the cool air throughout the house.
Stick With Gentle Workouts
Perhaps you would typically head to an air-conditioned gym to workout around this time of year, but depending on where you live, that may not be safe. If you live in an area where going to the gym presents a high risk of contracting COVID-19, but it’s too hot to exercise outdoors, you have a couple of options. You may be able to workout outdoors during the early hours of the morning, depending on the temperature, or in the evening. Otherwise, you may have to stick with gentle, indoor workouts for now.
If you’re used to more intense workouts, this can be frustrating, but if you’re dealing with a dangerous heat advisory, you do not want to push yourself too hard. Trying doing some easy yoga flows for now just to get your body moving, and don’t be afraid to take a rest day if you know that working out might be a risky choice in particularly hot weather.
Take Cold Showers
If you’re working from home, and you’re feeling overheated, feel free to take a chilly five-minute shower. As long as you can take a few minutes off the clock, you can rinse off and feel refreshed! It’s a temporary fix, but it can provide some real relief. Sometimes, it also helps to take a cool, wet towel and wrap it around your neck. Or try just rinsing your hands and feet in icy cold water, if you don’t want to do the whole body. This is such a simple trick to stay cool, and it definitely helps!
Apply Cooling Skincare
Hot days make focusing on your task difficult for even the most motivated. Instead of forcing yourself to do the impossible, why not use this time to mindfully practice self-care? Pop your sheet mask in the fridge for at least an hour before putting it on your face. Most masks benefit from cooling off in the fridge, too. You can even DIY this without any special products. Try mixing 2 tsp of vegan, unsweetened yogurt with 2 drops of tea tree essential oil in a glass or ceramic bowl. You can add other ingredients like turmeric (brightening) and matcha (anti-inflammatory, acne-healing) as you wish. Leave on your face for 30 minutes and wash off. You can also do a cooling, hydrating DIY mask with thinly sliced cucumbers (use a veggie peeler or a mandolin).
Try Raw Vegan Meals
If you like to cook, you know that turning on your stove or oven during a heatwave can seriously boost the temperature in your apartment—especially in your kitchen. Therefore, it can be very tempting to order takeout or delivery at a time like this. But if you want to save money and avoid cooking, incorporating a few raw vegan meals into your diet can help.
For example, try making smoothies with frozen fruit for breakfasts, having big salads for lunch, and even making banana “nice cream” with your favorite toppings to enjoy at any time of day! You could also try making vegan summer rolls, lettuce wraps packed with healthy vegetables, or other tasty raw desserts, like raw vegan cheesecake. If you do want to cook a meal that will require the use of the stove or oven, try to choose recipes that don’t take long to cook.
This is definitely a difficult time to be dealing with high temperatures. With limited access to indoor, air-conditioned spaces, it can be tough to balance staying cool at home with saving money on utility bills. But if you keep these tips in mind, you may find it a bit easier to get through the day. Just remember, these scorching summer days are temporary, and soon, the temperatures will drop again.
Photo: Unsplash; Mary Hood Luttrell; Molly Lansdowne; Lauren Sacerdote