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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

21 Ways to Keep Cool (Even if You Don't Have A/C)

There’s one way to spend the dog days of summer: Take poolside naps and playfully jaunt through a rotating lawn sprinkler, with an iced tea in one hand and slice of watermelon in the other.

Then there’s the idyllic portrait’s evil stepsister: pit stains during the morning commute, nights spent sleeping on top of the covers, and desperate pleas to an unreliable A/C window unit.

Yeah, that’s more like it.

Adding insult to injury, a co-worker who keeps her home thermostat at a frigid 72 degrees has the nerve to cut off your rant with no-brainer advice like “well, just drink lots of water.” Duh.

But before you lob an ice cube at her, jump into a park fountain, or buy a one-way ticket to the Arctic, wipe your sweaty brow and check out these tips for keeping your cool in the blistering heat.

Body Heat Banishers

1. Lounge, dance, or stand in front of a fan in your birthday—er, bathing suit.

2. When you must emerge from your apartment in actual clothing, wear loose clothing in natural, breathable fabrics like cotton.

3. Braid your hair (French braid, if you still know how) and stick a couple of small ice cubes in it. Your hair will keep the ice from directly touching your scalp, but the proximity of the ice to your head will help cool your whole body off.

4. Store your lotions and toner in the refrigerator.

5. Also, keep a spray bottle in there. When the heat gets unbearable, give yourself a squirt.

Super-Quick Cool-Downs

6. Take a cold(ish) shower. Akin to “drink water” on the obvious scale, but, hey, it really works. If you can’t handle the chill factor, though, turn on the bathroom fan during your shower. It will keep the steam—and thus room temp—under control.

7. Place a cold towel on the back of your neck for instant relief.

8. Soak your feet in a bowl of cold water as you dig into a good book (or finish up work).

9. Create a makeshift air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts and evaporates, the chilly air will bring a nice breeze.


Hot Home Remedies 

10. Close your blinds. Direct sunlight can really heat a room (hello, solar energy), so keep rays out by shutting your blinds.

11. If you enjoy sunlight too much to shut it out entirely, skip the blinds and just close the curtains. If they’re sheer, the sun will still brighten the room.

12. If the air is drier and cooler outside than it is in your apartment, hang a damp sheet in an open window. A breeze will blow through the sheet and cool the air as the water evaporates.

13. Fold your sheets in a Ziploc bag and put them in the freezer a couple of hours before you go to bed. They’ll be deliciously cool when you snuggle in.

14. Freeze bottled water and wrap it in a pillowcase. Slip it in your sheets at night.

Easy Green Ideas

15. Skip the drying cycle on the dishwasher. Leave the door to the dishwasher open to air dry. And wait to run the dishwasher until evening when the air is cooler.

16. Turn off your computer, cable box, power strips, and other electronics when you’re not using them. Added bonus: You’ll save on your electricity bill.

17. Air-dry your clothes. If you’re lucky enough to have a dryer, save it for the fall.

18. If you haven’t done so already, go green while cooling down by switching from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs. They save energy and emit less heat.

Heat-Beating Eating

19. No cooking! Just kidding, but seriously, don’t use the oven. Eat cool foods. Think salads, deli meat, shrimp, low-fat dairy, gazpacho soup, fresh fruit, and vegetables. And if you must use the oven and stovetop, do so at night when the temperature outside has dropped.

20. Have an ice cream or fro-yo potluck: Chill out and ask friends to bring different flavors and toppings. But remember, more bodies = more body heat, so you might want to beg a friend who has central air to host the shindig. Then park yourself in front of an A/C vent.

21. Popsicles. Enough said.

Photo of woman in fountain courtesy of Shutterstock.