Now that it’s hotter than Bali in the UK, I’m sure we’d all love some tips to stay cool in the heat – without spending a fortune or having to brave an overheated shopping mall.
As a redhead, I have always found being out in the sun for too long a really uncomfortable experience. My skin turns red in about 10 minutes! Now I have kids it’s even more important to be aware of the risks of too much sun exposure and to have an arsenal of techniques to keep your children cool, particularly if they struggle to sleep at night.
Today is Ieuan’s 9th birthday and those of us who have given birth (or are about to) in hot summer weather know how difficult it can be to stay cool and comfortable. And what about those of us working in offices where we are still expected to wear formal attire in the absence of air conditioning? I’ve worked in a fair few offices like that.
So, here are my tips to stay cool in the heat.
Cotton and linen are cooler than man-made fabrics and there is no need to sacrifice style when there are so many gorgeous dresses around at the moment – particularly these summer dresses from Esprit. Personally, I always feel far more comfortable if my skin is covered, rather than exposed to the full glare of the sun.
Make sure that you carry water with you during the day and drink it regularly. Dehydration can lead to some quite unpleasant physical symptoms so know the signs: – increased thirst, sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness are clear signs you need to up your water intake. Water, that is, not caffeine drinks which are diuretic and will leave you spending more time on the loo!
Another idea is to carry a water spray in your bag for a quick cool down and you can also cool your body by putting your wrists under cold running water.
Our bodies also take water from the foods we eat so it’s important to choose foods with high water content. Natural whole foods have the most with fruit and vegetables containing 80 to 98 per cent water. Great water-dense veg to eat include carrots, cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes. Try some great easy-to-make summer salads.
A bit of a no-brainer this one but try to avoid staying in the sun for long periods. Don’t forget your sun hat and you could even use an umbrella as a parasol. Stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm to minimise the chances of sunburn too – particularly important for little ones.
It’s so easy to leave for work in the morning without thinking about applying sunscreen but you should take every chance to protect your skin, not least to ward off wrinkles and accelerated ageing. There are plenty of high factor sunscreens for the face (I love Clinique’s City Block) and don’t forget the back of the neck and your ears. Here’s what the British Association of Dermatologists has to say on the importance of sunscreen.
You may find a tepid shower more cooling than a cold one. And why not keep your body lotion in the fridge for an extra cooling effect. It’s tempting to drench yourself in a highly perfumed body spray but I have never found these particularly cooling and an overly fragranced product tends to give me a headache. These don’t really work as an effective deodorant either.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a swelteringly hot bus or train – and the temperatures can really climb on the underground.
Make sure you take water with you in case there is no buffet car or trolley on the train. Portable fans may help too. The husband tells me people passing out from the heat on the London underground is a regular event.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that temperatures definitely tend to fray quicker in the heat. Make sure you stay as mentally chilled as possible by ensuring your self-care doesn’t slip and you prioritise your health and well-being.
Whether that’s by changing the time of your daily exercise to the cooler early morning or evening or finding a cooler location to practise your yoga or meditation, it’s important to protect your me-time. That’s especially important if you’re dealing with over-heated and fractious kids!
Here’s hoping you stay cool and comfortable for the rest of the summer!