It’s heating up! Whether you love or loathe hot weather, your body can do with a little help on extreme days. Here are some of my favourite ways to cool off when the barometer shoots up.
Top tips for staying cool during a heatwave
- Love your sarong. Strip off when you are at home, have a quick tepid shower and put on your favourite sarong. Cotton is the perfect fabric for the hot weather and the simple rectangle of cloth is the ultimate “one size fits all” garment. Pop a damp sarong in the freezer for 15 minutes when you feel overheated, then wrap yourself in it when it’s chilled but not rigid. Or try lying under a fan, drapes with your chilled sarong.
- Drink lots of water. That might sound obvious but dehydration is rife in hot weather. If you’re feeling hot or sweaty, aim to consume about 3 litres of non-caffeinated fluid, a day. If you don’t like water – add some mint or slices of lemon, try a chilled vegetable juice or an Indian lassi (yoghurt drink). For children (or adults) who don’t like to drink, make a batch of homemade popsicles.
- Swap dinner for lunch. Can’t face cooking at night? If you go off your food in the heat or loose your cooking mojo try eating a bigger lunch with lots of vegetables and some protein, then just have a salad, wrap or chilled soup for dinner. With a nutritious lunch and you can skimp on dinner.
- Fall in love with your local pool. A broken night of sweaty sleep is made more bearable by a quick dip before or after work. Some pools stay open later than usual during heatwaves.
- Support your local cinema. There’s something delicious about a daytime movie. Hot days and nights are a great time to catch a film in the comfort of a cool, dark cinema.
- Visit a library, museum or gallery. Expand your mind with books, magazines, art and much more.
- Cool off before bed. Have a cold or tepid shower at bedtime. Stay under the water until you feel cool. Leave a little moisture on your skin to evaporate, especially if you use a fan in the bedroom. Throw away your feather doona, it stores heat, so can make you hotter as the night goes on. Instead invest in 100% cotton sheets and a simple cotton blanket. You’ll sleep a lot better.
Don’t forget that we aren’t the only ones to feel the heat. Make sure there’s plenty of water on hand for your pets and add ice to their water bowls. Top up your bird bath – or leave a tub of water in your garden for our feathered friends.
This post was originally published in November 2009, updated November 2014. Sign up for the free newsletter, with health tips, recipes and more each month.