Photograph by 5PH/Getty Images
Dab on some peppermint oil.
A high-quality peppermint oil is a great tool for beating the heat, says Elisah Tashjian, a holistic nutrition consultant who blogs at The Wholesome Foodie. Peppermint contains menthol, which stimulates your cold-sensitive nerve receptors. Tashjian suggests mixing one drop with some coconut oil and rubbing it on the back of your neck. Although this won’t actually lower your body temperature, it provides a cooling sensation that can make you a lot more comfortable. Bonus: The refreshing scent will help perk you up.
Photograph by MelindaChan/Getty Images
Munch on water-rich fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes when it’s really hot you don’t feel like eating anything, but having at least a little something every few hours is an important way to keep your energy up. A smart pick: fruits and vegetables like watermelon, celery, oranges and green capsicum, which are loaded with nutrients as well as lots of water. “Make sure you pair them with a protein, to keep your blood sugar levels stable,” Tashjian says.
Photograph by copyright rhinoneal/Getty Images
Eat spicy foods.
You may not crave foods that deliver a blast of heat when it’s hot out, but the payoff of eating spicy fare may be worth it, says Deblock. “Curry and chilli can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, which enhance circulation and cause sweating, in turn helping to cool the body down.”
Photograph by Mirusiek/Getty Images
Get your wrists wet.
Jumping into a pool or rinsing off in a cool shower or a cool bath feels great on a hot day, but simply running cold water over your wrists and other pulse points is nearly as effective, says Deblock. “Arterial pulse points are the areas in which the arterial blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin,” he explains. “Arterial blood flows away from the heart, so if you cool it with cold water it will circulate the cooler blood throughout your body and ultimately lower your core temperature.”
Deblock says this trick works especially well when you’re having trouble falling asleep on a humid night. “Rinse your wrists or your feet with cold water before you hit the hay and it will help you drift off,” he says.
Need portable relief during the day, like when you’re heading to the beach or a carnival? Grab a misting fan. The water sprays onto your skin and the blowing air helps it evaporate quickly so you cool down, says Dr Trifun Dimitrijevski.
Photograph by Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline/Getty Images
Give yourself a cooling facial.
During the hotter months, Deblock recommends stashing some of your beauty products in the fridge. “On a hot day, you can get a bit of much-needed rejuvenation by applying a cold moisturiser to your body. Keeping your products in the fridge allows you to create this cooling effect without any hassle,” he says.
Photograph by PhotoAlto/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/Getty Images
Replenish your electrolytes.
All of our body’s organs and cells require water to function properly, and research has shown that even mild dehydration can negatively impact your mood and make tasks seem more difficult.
Normally water is best, but on really steamy days an electrolyte-replacement drink like Gatorade or Powerade is a better pick, says Dimitrijevski. Sweating makes you lose electrolytes, particularly sodium, and replenishing them is crucial. If you prefer a more natural (and low-kj option), consider coconut water; one study found that the sodium-enriched variety is as effective as a sports drinks for rehydration.
Photograph by pauldempsey/Getty Images
Put ice in front of your fan.
No air conditioning? No problem. Fill a bucket with ice and place it in front of a fan for a quick cool down. Normally fans don’t actually cool the air; they just help you feel a bit cooler because they blow air over your skin, which helps sweat evaporate and lowers your body temperature. Using ice changes the equation. “The fan will blow air over the ice, cooling [air] in the process,” says nurse Donald Deblock.
Photograph by Gary Burchell/Getty Images
Take a break.
Normally it’s a good idea to get your blood pumping when you feel lethargic, but when it’s really hot and humid, activities like running or biking can zap your energy more and may even be dangerous, says Dimitrijevski. For an energy burst without much physical exertion, try some energising yoga breathing exercises, like these.
If you don’t want to skip your workout, at least move it to an air-conditioned gym or your basement, which tends to be cooler than the rest of the house.