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In the depths of summer, the heat can begin to feel oppressive, almost inescapable, maybe even debilitating. Frustratingly, going inside, into the air conditioning, seems to be the best route for staying sane, and that’s where many of us wile away our quickly disappearing summer days. But, there might be a better way.

For one, the air conditioning, though good at keeping us cool, is a brutal thing. It inefficiently uses up loads of energy, which costs us lots of money. Not only is that not good for the bank account, but it is also horrible for the environment. Air conditioners let off carbon dioxide and possibly hydrofluorocarbons, which are both contributing to the speed up of Global warming. We don’t want to add to that.

In other words, we’d be much better off to find new methods for beating the summer heat. Some of them might require small sacrifices or changes to the way we do things. Others might be a treat. Whatever the case, there are ways to stay cool without the AC on full blast, or even on at all.

Plenty of Chilled Water

Our bodies cool down much faster if we work from the inside out, not to mention the fact that heat causes us to sweat and release hydration. These times make regularly drinking a cool glass of water even more important and effective. It can keep us properly hydrated, which prevents headaches and various other ailments, and it’ll cool us down from the core.

Healthy Homemade Frozen Treats

Isn’t it great to have a practical reason for a frozen treat? When it’s hot outside, sorbet never tasted so nice, ice pops never felt so right, and an icy smoothie never went down so sweetly. There’s dairy-free ice cream, frozen cakes, and fruit ice cubes to funk up our favorite drinks. These are fun to make. They help us cool down. Oh, yes, and they are delicious.

The Old Reliable Fan

Sometimes going retro isn’t just about fashionable choices. Fans are the way people stayed cool in the past, and they are both effective and energy-efficient. Rather than running the AC very cold or all the time, a well-aimed oscillating fan can go a long way in keeping us cooler. And, we can use the fan outside just as well as inside, so we don’t have to quarantine ourselves indoors when the sun’s out.

Refrigerate the Sheets

For a bit of luxury, a moment of spoiling ourselves rotten, we can stick our sheets in the refrigerator 10-15 minutes before going to sleep. Then, just before it’s time to go to sleep, they should be returned to the bed, and slipping off to dreamland will be nice and cool. As well, using breathable sheets made of light cotton helps make sleeps better in the summer.

Block Out the Sun

Firstly, it’s a great idea, and obvious, to open the windows and allow natural cross-breezes to move through the house. Airflow, as with a fan, keeps things from overheating. Blocking out the sun also helps. On the side of the house where the sun is shining, closing the blinds or drawing the curtains can help keep temperatures lower.

Feet in Cool Water

There are lots of parts of our body that can help us cool down, and our feet are possibly one of the best. This is why sitting next to the pool with our feet dangling in can feel so wonderful. Even for those who don’t have a pool, putting a bit of cool water in a small tub and sitting with our feet in it can help to subdue the heat. Quick rinses in the shower (in cool water) or dips in a creek are also fantastic for this, and a cool rag can be placed around the neck or across the forehead when those aren’t available.

Eat Light and Fresh

Hot, heavy meals make us hot, both as the warm food enters our body and as our body works to digest it. Fresh, cool, garden-y meals make us cool and are easily digested. Pasta salads, garden salads, hummus, and salsas provide plenty of nutrition and don’t make our bodies work so hard to process them.

With the popularity of air conditioning, we lost many of these practical ways of enjoying the summer without creating artificial environments to survive it. With a few lifestyle changes and rewarding choices, it’s possible to enjoy the summer for what it is and make the most of the season.

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