Step outside for under a minute and you’ll feel the full force of summer’s wrath. And even if you’re a fan of hot, sunny days, there’s no denying that blissful feeling that comes from cooling down.
While there’s plenty to love about summer, unfortunately it’s not all good. Climate scientists have been warning us for decades of the dangers of a rising temperature - and the past few years have seen weather and daily temperature records exceed like never before.
So with that in mind, we went looking for the best ways to cool down without adding more pressure on Mother Nature.
Take a splash
When it’s hot outside (and inside), there’s only one thing to do - and that’s take a refreshing swim. Whether it’s a dip in the ocean, a swim in your local river or lake, or the slightly less natural - but nonetheless effective - swimming pool, this is your best and most eco-friendly cooling solution.
Sure, it’s not the most accessible option every time you’re feeling the heat, but it’s worth making the effort to enjoy an early morning dip, an after-work swim, or a weekend adventure to the beach or waterfalls (the Blue Mountains are a fab day trip from Sydney). You won’t feel like you’ve sweated your way through summer if you plan a few refreshing swims, that’s for sure!
Use on-the-go hacks
We spend a lot of time at work or away from home, so it helps to have some cooling hacks you can use when you’re out and about. If you’re working somewhere warm or outdoors, we love the old fashioned spray bottle filled with cold or even iced water to spritz on your face every so often.
Another nifty tip is to run cold water over your wrists, hands, and feet. Wrists and ankles have loads of pulse points where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you’ll cool down faster - even if it’s just a quick splash. Similarly, eating cold foods - think salad, cold drinks, and ice-cream - can have a cooling effect on the body from the inside out.
And finally, dress for the weather - that means opting for light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres like linen or cotton, and where possible, breathable footwear like sandals.
Swap your sleepwear & bedding
Speaking of breathable, if the heat has got you sweating through your sheets, then take a closer look at what you’re letting into your bed. Make sure you’re wearing breezy, natural material PJs that wick away sweat and let your body regulate. As for bedding, it’s all about those eco-friendly fibres.
Opt for lightweight linen sheets that also come with a much smaller carbon footprint than cotton, as well as organic wool quilts that are incredibly breathable in all seasons, or organic cotton quilts if you want something a bit lighter. While all of our pillows use naturally cooler, non-synthetic materials, some studies say buckwheat pillows are cooler than most others on the market (and we’re all about science here!)
Create a cross-flow
When avoiding the use of your air-conditioner, we’re left to rely on nature’s own AC - otherwise known as cross-ventilation airflow. Get fresh air flowing in a light breeze through your house by opening multiple windows to create both entry and exit points for the air.
This way, the airflow doesn’t get trapped, adding stuffy, hot air to your home, and instead keeps moving from one window to another, creating a nifty breeze of your own.
On days when the air feels hotter than usual, try placing a cold, wet cloth on your chest, arms or back (have one or two in the freezer ready to go). At the very least, the hot breeze will feel a bit cooler once it hits the wet cloth on your skin.
Block the sun out
Another popular way to keep your house cool actually goes in the opposite direction to the aforementioned cross-flow. In this eco-friendly approach, you’ll block the sun out with blackout curtains, blinds, external window awnings and tightly sealed windows. This tip is typically used in places of high humidity, where the breeze can leave you feeling even warmer.
What you’re left with is a cave-like home that shelters you from the outside heat, and is a good option if you’re working all day and want to come home to a moderate climate. Bonus if you have ceiling fans that you can still circulate air through your house.
Be strategic with your activities
It’s no secret that appliances and ovens can heat up your home (and you!) so try your hand at cooking outdoors on the BBQ, or opt for meals that don’t require an oven or standing in front of a scorching pan.
Similarly, leave dishwashing until later in the evening and switch off lights when they’re not needed. And if you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, then swap them for more energy efficient ones, as these types waste around 90% of their energy simply emitting heat. No thank you!
Lastly, if your home is particularly humid, try running a diffuser with cold water and a few drops of essential oil (peppermint and eucalyptus are great for cooling down). Fresh, cooler air with minimal hassle.
Make peace with the heat
These hacks might not bring Frozen-levels of chill to your home in summer, but they’ll do a better job than nothing at all - and ultimately, that’s all we’re looking for.
In a warming climate, we’re not left with many earth-conscious options, so it helps to make a little peace with the heat. That might mean working from home or laying low on days with record-breaking heatwaves, being ok with some sweaty discomfort, or just making friends with your neighbours who have a pool. Because it doesn’t look like summer is going to get much cooler.
Stay hydrated, stay calm, and stay cool this February, with a little consideration for Mother Nature.