There’s a song that says “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”. You know what the summertime blues are: that combination of rising temperatures and increased stress levels as you try to get your to-do list done when half of your clients and team members are out on vacation – and you wish you were too.
But there IS a cure for those blues. Just because the heat’s on doesn’t mean you have to suffer! Here are six tips to help you and your colleagues keep your cool during the dog days of summer.
- Wear light clothes: The lighter the weight – and the color – of the fabric, the cooler you’ll feel. Dark colors absorb light and heat, while lighter colors reflect it away from your body. Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk are good because they absorb perspiration. Avoid polyester and rayon, but try the high-tech synthetic fabrics worn by athletes that wick away sweat. And choose loose, billowy clothes to allow air movement and help with evaporation. Now is not the time for your ultra-skinny jean
- Stay hydrated: Everyone knows this but it’s worth repeating. To replace the moisture that you lose as you perspire, make sure you drink. Because as you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar; these are dehydrating. “Also opt for hydrating foods,” says Deena Kastor, a marathon runner and an Olympic bronze medalist. “Try a smoothie for lunch, and add more fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content of any food out there.”
- Eat lighter meals: There’s a reason we’re tempted by salads in the summer. They’re easier to digest than heavy dishes such as cheeseburgers or lasagna: meals like those can leave you feeling sluggish in the heat, as your body must work harder to digest them, pushing your metabolism into overdrive. Instead, opt for fruits and vegetables which are water-rich and help keep you hydrated. If you’re hungry, have small snacks throughout the day instead of larger meals and you’ll feel much cooler.
- Exercise intelligently: Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. You can exercise in the heat as long as you use common sense strategies such as switching to water sports, avoiding the sun when it’s strongest, and exercising in short bursts. “Precooling” techniques such as drinking a slushie – a syrup-flavored ice slurry – before working out can also prevent you from overheating when you work out in hot weather. Summer’s also a great time to try a more off-beat, off-season indoor sport like ice hockey, speed skating, or figure skating – all guaranteed to keep you cool!
- Know your cooling points: If you’re suffering from the heat and can’t immediately get to a cooler place, it’s important to know your body’s best cooling points. These include pulse points such as your wrist and neck, but there are other areas on your body where your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin. Because they’re so close, you can lower your blood and body temperature by getting the area in contact with something cold. By applying ice cubes wrapped in a towel (or any other cold object – a bag of frozen vegetables will do) to these pulse points, you’ll cool down quickly and effectively.
- Indulge in frozen goodies: It’s too darn hot, and no matter how health-conscious you are, a sweet icy treat is hard to resist. Ice cream and popsicles are wonderful, and frozen fruit is a delicious (and healthy) option too. Pop some watermelon or pineapple slices or some grapes into the freezer and a few hours later you’ll have a sweet, yummy treat. Frozen lemon and lime slices are also great for keeping your drinks cool and refreshing.