Summers these days are quite different from those that I experienced during childhood. Yes, the world is changing at a faster pace. But, some things can be kept the same as they were earlier. With the issue of global warming catching up, it is necessary that people take notice of their carbon footprints instead of joining the rat race.
When I was young, I do not remember desiring to sit in an air-conditioned room all the time. But my younger one does. There are two reasons for this. One, she has experienced the air-conditioned environment in malls, friends’ homes, school and at other places, quite frequently. Two, the heat is rising up because of more number of air-conditioners being installed at homes. If you want to stay cool in these tough summer season while minimizing the use of coolers or air-conditioners, here are some ways.
How to Keep Your House Cool
1. Close, close, close
I make a point to draw the curtains once the morning sun becomes harsh, say around 10 am. All the blinds are closed as well. Only those doors are kept open, which help in cross ventilation. This might seem to be a simple idea but this works very well with me. During peak summer months, I use spare bed-sheets to cover up the curtains as well. This makes the room darker with no scope of light. Experts maintain to close the windows that face south and even those that face west. Try these tricks; it might help your home as well.
2. Use lighter shades for furnishings
Come summer, I unearth all the lighter shade furnishings from the trunk. I also make sure that everything is of cotton material. I have a bed sheet that is light blue in colour and is quite thin. It serves two purposes – one that it reflects the heat and absorbs the sweat and two that it is easy to wash frequently. In fact, you should clean bed linen and cases as regularly as possible, possibly once every two days. This helps in keeping you fresh and relaxed when you lie down on the bed. Also, in summers use thinner carpets for the floor as well. Instead of using sofa, sit on the floor. Floors are cooler as compared to seating.
3. Switch Off when not in use
Switch off the tube-lights and bulbs as far as possible. Yes, it is difficult to stay in dark places. But at least switch off those that are not in use. The sources of light emit heat. They warm up the temperature in your home, making it quite difficult. What we do is keep the lights on of the living room or any one room. Other lights are switched off. This cools down the ambiance of the home to a great extent. Plus, all the doors are opened for cross ventilation. Ah! Then the home becomes breezy and fresh.
4. Unplug the electronics
Yes, like a good citizen, you make sure that all the devices are switched off when not in use. However, you might not know that even when the devices are plugged in, they emit heat. So, come summers, you need to unplug the washing machine when the laundry is done. You also need to unplug mobile chargers when the battery is charged. Make sure that all other devices including television and laptops are unplugged as well. Further, they should not be even on sleep mode. You need to switch them off completely.
5. Minimize use of electronics
No, I am not against the use of electronics. But, often they are the culprits and we blame the weather instead. In summer season, minimizing the use of electronics go a long way. Take for instance, during summer, clothes dry at a faster rate. Hence, instead of drying clothes in the washer for longer duration, you can adjust the timing. Further, instead of using oven and heating up the entire house, you can grill the food outdoors and save some electronic energy as well. Small steps make a big difference.
6. Make use of exhausts and chimneys
Exhausts are quite interesting products. Many people install exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchen. They emit the heat clogged up in your house. Hence, whenever possible, switch on the exhausts for some time to bid a farewell to high temperature of your home. If your kitchen does not have an exhaust fan, use the electronic chimney instead while preparing food. All the heat emitted from the stove will find a way out instead of settling down in the living room instead.
How to Keep Your Body Cool
1. Cool down your pulse points
An ancient practice, cooling pulse points, is the need of the hour. There are some pulse points in your body which when cooled help lower the temperature of the rest of the body as well. Pulse points refer to those points that help you to feel the pulse. Take for instance, your wrists, inner thighs, ankles, neck, temples, forehead, inside areas of the elbows and knees are the pulse points. To cool down the pulse points, make use of cool pads, ice packs, cold handkerchiefs or even water. This works because pulse points travel across the walls of blood vessels. Being close to the skin, cooling pulse points cools down the blood and the body temperature as well.
2. Eat foods that are cold in nature
If you are thinking of guzzling down a tumbler of cold coffee to keep yourselves cold in summer, then you might be wrong here. Coffee is warm in nature and it may dehydrate you, increasing the need of water by your body. Eating the right food goes a long way to maintain the temperature of your body, be it summer or winter. In summers, it is preferable to eat foods that are cold in nature. Warm milk, clarified butter, table butter, coconut oil are cold in nature. For cooking, opt for olive oil, sunflower oil or even coconut oil. Eat seasonal produce when it comes to fruits and vegetables. It is suggested to immerse the fruits and vegetables in water for at least two hours before consuming. This helps to relieve the heat trapped in the fruits as well. During summer season, you should make ample use of coriander leaves or cilantro and mint leaves. Drink fennel seeds coolers, mint coolers, buttermilk, lemonade, limeade, etc. to stay cool. They help cool the temperature of your body and release the heat.
3. Stay cool by avoiding warm foods
As I mentioned above, some foods are cold in nature while others are warm. Take for instance, red pepper powder is warm in nature and hence should be avoided. This is the reason people avoid eating spicy food in this season. If you are fond of Mexican, you can stay good by avoiding salsa sauce altogether. It warms up your body and makes you uneasy.
During summers, skin problems are quite common. While you should avoid going out in heat, you should also stay away from warm food to keep your skin hydrated. Warm food strips your body of water and thereby raise the temperature. Salty foods, coffee, beetroot, garlic, onion, alcohol, tomatoes, spinach etc. warm your body. Even spices and condiments like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, dried ginger powder, bay leaves, etc. are warm in nature. Further, stay away from icy cold water as well. It is again a warm food that imbalances your digestive system in summer.
4. Have balanced meals in summer
During summer, it matters what you eat, how you eat and at what time you eat. To keep your evenings cool and light, make sure that the food that you eat at later hours are light and hydrated. Having light meals for dinner help a lot. This way, there is room for water in your body till you go to bed. Even during this season, make sure that you are not skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner. Do not substitute drinks for meals, however tempting it might seem.
5. Wear this and not that in summer
If possible, keep your summer and winter wardrobe different. Ditch synthetic and spandex material in summer to keep yourselves cool in summer. Cotton and Linen are the best fabrics to wear during hot and humid weather. These fabrics help absorb the heat and sweat from the body and also keep your skin free of possible allergies. Choose lighter shades in summer as they help reflect heat. Instead of tight fitted clothes, opt for loose clothes that do not cling to your body. Further, you might be tempted to get into those mini frocks and skirts this season but avoid them while going out as the UV rays might harm your exposed skin. Instead cover your body before stepping out in the sun.
6. The ultimate trick for good sleep
It is difficult to get comfortable sleep at night during summer season. For this, it is suggested to keep a bowl full of water by the bedside at night. As soon as you get uncomfortable or the body temperature rises, you should dip your water in the bowl. This cools down the senses and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
7. Keep your body and mind cool
Do not forget to drink water and stay hydrated during this season. Also, make sure to exercise regularly as it helps flush out the toxins from the body. Doing pranayama, breathing exercises and meditation are a must during this season to stay relaxed and stress-free at the time of rising heat. Indulge in activities that soothe your soul and pep your mind to tackle the summer this year.
Even after doing all the things mentioned above, you are not able to beat the heat then I have some other ideas as well. You can make use of air-conditioned public places to cool off. Take turns for group night-outs at air-conditioned homes. This way, as a group you reduce carbon footprints and the environment benefits as a result. Such ideas seem silly at first but they are quite good in maintaining the cool quotient of the Earth in the long term. Happy Cooling!