Sure, turning on the air conditioner or spending the day in the pool are great ways to stay comfortable when the heat becomes too much to handle. However, cranking up the AC also means facing higher electric bills. Meanwhile, regularly doing the doggy paddle isn’t a reality for busy, working people.
So, how can you beat the heat without breaking the bank or feeling as though you’re turning into Dustin Hoffman’s pool-lounging character in “The Graduate”? Several non-traditional ways to methods exist, allowing you to focus more on summer activities than the sweat on your forehead.
Use the DIY air conditioner
While it won’t blast you into Antarctica or cool off a house full of guests, using a makeshift air conditioner is an inexpensive way of feeling refreshed.
Simply fill a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan, then sit in front of this “air conditioner” and let the cool sensation flow around you. The cooling process continues during evaporation, so this method is effective even as the ice melts. It’s an easy, affordable way to find temporary relief and it won’t use nearly the amount of energy that your AC requires.
Give your computer a rest
Let’s face it, we’re at our computers often, whether for work reasons or to poke around social media sites for fun. Convenient as these devices are, they also generate huge amounts of heat.
Justin M. Solomon (a Stanford University undergraduate who participated in the 2005 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and came in first place), says that it’s important to put your computer in sleep mode if you’re going to be away from it for more than 10 minutes. He also advises turning it off completely when you’re done for the day, contrary to what people may say about that act straining your computer system. Shutting it down, Solomon says, allows the computer to cool off so you’re not continually sitting in front of the heat it emits.
Finally, if you have a laptop, keep it off your lap. Instead, sit at a table to avoid heat contacting your skin or clothes directly.
Eat something spicy
While this may sound utterly ludicrous, many people living in Mexico and India swear by the cooling powers of eating spicy foods.
For example, chili peppers contain a chemical compound that promotes perspiration. When sweat starts evaporating, the relief that comes is soothing and enjoyable. Consider some extra wasabi with your sushi, or take a bigger than normal bite of some pepperoncini. What have you got to lose, especially if you already enjoy these foods?
Imagine yourself cooler
Never underestimate the power of your mind to produce physical results. Many experts have touted the brain’s ability to send positive, healing messages to our cells, which in turn work to improve mental and physical health. When it comes to lowering your body temperature, consider turning to visualization or meditation.
One such technique, said to be beneficial when used as part of a bedtime ritual, includes lying still while imagining the sun in your navel. Upon exhalation, visualize the sun moving from your belly button to your throat. It’s here that you should picture the gold and yellow hues of the sun turning into light shades of cooling blue; inhalation during this time expands this light. Finally, exhale to soften the glow even more, visualizing it on your breath. This evokes feeling of coolness and calm.
Why not give this visualization a try? After all, techniques such as vase breathing and concentrative visualization (in which intense focus is given on raising one’s core temperature) have been said to be effective. A study determined that concentrating on imagery of flames allowed people in -25 degree Himalayan temperatures to become so warm that they were able to dry up the wet sheets that were intentionally wrapped around them. If such techniques can help increase body temperature, it’s certainly worth exploring approaches that aim to achieve the opposite.
Turning to these non-traditional heat-relief methods will help keep costs down and make hot weather days more enjoyable.