Go swimming, eat Popsicles, set up a sprinkler in the yard… blah, blah, blah. Anyone with half a brain can come up with those ways to beat the summer heat. But when temperatures rise like crazy and stay there for months, you need a few more tools in your arsenal.
- Drink something warm
Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. But in other countries, particularly those in hot climates, this is standard practice. It’s one reason tea is so popular in much of the Middle East and Asia. As one journalist put it, “A billion Indians can’t be wrong!”
Drinking something warm can truly help you cool down.
2. Run that errand you’ve been putting off
You truly do not want to wait in line for three hours at the DMV. Unless it’s 100 degrees outside and the DMV has good AC. Then? Bring on the wait times!
3. Be okay with some crazy in-house shenanigans
It was 106 out yesterday, so I had to get creative. My three-year-old is a bundle of energy. If I don’t run him at a park every day, he gets destructive. He’s not trying to be naughty, he just has SO. MUCH. ENERGY.
(A brief aside: I do not understand the boundless energy of my preschool boy. I only had sisters as a child, and I remember long hours of craft projects where my sisters and I stayed in our chairs and nothing around us got demolished. Either my memory is bad or I need to make my peace with all the testosterone coursing through my condo…)
We got creative. I made up a game where he had to run down and then back up two full flights of stairs for a single M&M. This lasted for twenty minutes and burned out some good energy. We made a fort. We took the cushions off the couch to make a “trampoline.” I said yes to a Popsicle in the house.
We bent some normal rules for a special day and for momma to keep her sanity. If the temps are over 100, a dining room table covered with sheets for a pirate fort is a heckuva lot easier to deal with than a 130 degree car seat.
4. Set up a movie theater or go to a movie
Movie AC is legendary. I often bring a sweatshirt, even in summer! If there’s nothing preschooler-appropriate, we will load a family-friendly movie onto our big screen (ha – it’s 35″!), pop some popcorn, and crank up the air.
5. Go about your normal routine, but then hit the showers
Some days I have to take the kiddos to the park even when it’s sweltering. Summer is long, they don’t care that it’s hot half as much as I do, and if they don’t run they’ll start destroying things. So we go to that roasting playground. But when it’s hot outside I turn into Sweaty McSwelterson. Followed immediately by Cranky McGrumpypants.
Anyone with me on that?
The saving grace? Hitting a cold shower when we get home. Even if I only have a minute to myself, that cold water helps lower my core temperature and raise my spirits.
6. Celebrate the early mornings
My husband and I have a deal. If it’s going to be above 90 during the day, he will run our preschooler in the early morning hours, before work. I’ll go for a jog myself, before the temperatures climb too high. While sticky icky heat can linger into the evening hours, the early morning is usually a good bet to get active without dying from heatstroke.
7. Freeze your pillowcase
If you don’t have AC, or if you’re just a hot sleeper like I am, put your pillowcase in the freezer during the day. Then, when it’s time to sleep, lay your head down on Mt. Frosty and dream sweet, pre-chilled dreams.
8. Make use of easy cooling points
If you feel yourself or notice a loved one overheating, make use of the body’s easiest cooling points. To cool down fast, put cool water on your wrists, ankles, and neck. The thought process behind this is that these areas have blood circulating really close to the skin, so as you cool the skin there, you cool your circulatory system too – and hence, your whole self.
If you ever find me with a can of Coke pressed to my wrist at a hot backyard party, this is why.
“Are you gonna drink that?”
9. Seek shade
The difference between bright sun and cool shade can be upwards of 20 degrees. That’s no small thing. So be that dork who carries an umbrella when it isn’t raining. Grab a cheap pop-up shelter, or scoot your chair underneath that tree.
10. Go barefoot
This is by far my preschooler’s favorite beat-the-heat trick. Taking off your shoes in the car, at the park, or by the pool can help your body cool down.
Just watch out for that killer baked-in-the-sun asphalt or you’ll live to regret it!