Phew, Mother Nature’s gentle summer breeze has given way to a good old New England heatwave, which has inspired me to share some ideas on how to beat the heat. My ideas will help you cool down and quench your summer thirst while not sizably denting your budget or bank account.
Dress for summer in clothing that is light in weight and color – that combination reflects sunlight and heat. Though clothing in black is a favorite of mine, those items are at the back of my closet when summer rolls around. Nix the dark colors because they absorb the sun.
Close drapes and blinds to keep the sun out of your home so you can stay cool. Yes, your home will be darker…but I’ll trade a little darkness (which will cause me to turn on some lights, which will have a negligible effect on my electricity bill since we’re using LED bulbs) to beat the summer heat.
Clean your room air conditioner filter(s). This easy and simple task pays big dividends by helping you avoid higher utility bills and preventing mechanical issues. A dirty filter is forced to work harder to push air through the clog, so more energy has to be used. A dirty filter also shortens the life span of your air conditioner.
If you own a ceiling fan, adjust it to turn counterclockwise so it effectively circulates the cool air downward to create a welcomed draft. Turn the fan off when you leave the room because fans cool people, not the room.
Set a large dish of ice cubes in front of a fan. The fan will blow air over the ice, which cools it.
Kohls, which has long been a favorite store of mine, carries Columbia Cooling Sheets and Pillowcases, which I find appealing based on the online description: “cool and crisp cotton, cools you when you’re hot, wicks away moisture, 300 thread count” (though I wish the thread count was higher). Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, EvenTemp, SensorPEDIC, Elite Home Products, Sleep Philosophy and SONOMA Goods for Life are just some of the options offered in a variety of price points and materials, including microfiber and TENCEL.
When outside, be sure to wear sunscreen, lightweight and light-colored clothing, keep hydrated and don’t be shy about using trees or things like awnings or EZ-UPS instant shelters for a respite from the heat.
The Haunted Pen and I use cooling towels, which we wet with cold water, thoroughly wring out, and place in the fridge. You’ll feel the cool immediately upon application. If you brave the outdoors to do some yard work, drape the towel around your neck. You can also use a facecloth instead of buying a cooling towel.
Your body needs water to keep cool. It’s also a great way to hydrate and quench your thirst. I like to infuse my water with cucumber slices or mint. I slice the cucumber thinly or muddle some mint leaves, place either or both in a large glass of water, and put it in the fridge for the infusion of flavor. When ready, I pour some of the beverage into a large stainless steel vacuum insulated tumbler with lid. I’ll add four ice cubes, and this rejuvenating beverage can remain cold for up to 24 hours. The cucumber is a tasty treat after I’ve finished my drink.
Forget soda. A cold glass of lemonade will do more for your thirst. I’ve found a variety of powdered lemonade flavors that we enjoy. True Lemon’s lemonades are more expensive because they use Stevia instead of artificial sweeteners, which makes them a healthy choice. Walmart’s Great Value brand has a delicious blackberry lemonade (and uses aspartame to sweeten it).
Naturally Flavored Sparkling Waters and Seltzers are a favorite of mine. I’ve recently purchased and enjoyed Bowl and Basket’s (a Shop Rite brand I purchased at Price Rite) raspberry lemonade sparkling water. When I buy plain sparkling water or seltzer, I like to be creative and add a slice or two of fresh lemon, lime and/or orange; other times, I’ll smack a couple of mint leaves in my palms and add them for instant refreshment. Our next-door neighbor has always been generous with her crop of mint. I’ll also use muddled strawberries or thin cucumber slices.
I’ve become partial to Perrier’s Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in watermelon. No calories, just carbonated mineral water, and natural flavor. According to the bottle, it’s unique by the intensity of bubbles, with a hint of natural flavor and an extraordinary way to quench thirst all day long.
An electrolyte drink is a smart choice to replenish what you lose when you work up a sweat. You can buy premade Power Ade and Gatorade, sweetened with either sugar or an artificial sweetener. The Haunted Pen is a Power Ade fan. I like Propel’s raspberry lemonade powder, mixed in a 16.9-ounce bottle of water, even though it’s sweetened with sucralose.
Freeze Pops, Popsicles, (as opposed to Fudgesicles), Icees, and Italian Ice are all a tasty way to chill out. I especially enjoy having to “scrape” the Icee or Italian Ice, which prolongs my enjoyment. Lately, I’ve found that a freeze pop added to a glass of lemonade, sparkling water or seltzer adds a bit of chill and a zing of flavor.
A slice (or in my case, two) of juicy, sweet, chilled, and oh-so-messy watermelon is a slice of heaven. This gem from summer’s bountiful garden is about 92% water and loaded with nutrients like vitamins A and C, lycopene and antioxidants. What other delicious summer snack boasts a mere 40 calories per cup, is fat-free and has minimal sodium?
We’ve gotten this far, and I haven’t mentioned how to beat the heat at mealtime. Be on the lookout – that’s the subject of my next blog.
What are some of the ways you stay cool in the summer heat?
Drop me a line and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.