Mind and Body

Slow down: Beat the freakish heat of the summer of 2012

Irfan Khan/Associated Press

 (Irfan Khan/Associated Press)

Been looking forward to the warm weather, have you? Been anticipating a time when life seems light and easy?

Too bad. This is the summer of 2012, the time of freakish heat. Winter with its cold temperatures might be looking pretty good right now.

Somewhere between the frigid temperatures of winter and the blast furnace of summer, we went through a short period of cool, then warm weather.

Did you blink? You missed it.

So now what?

Try slowing way down. Being seriously laid back. Be something of an underachiever for a bit. Stay inside. Lay around. Procrastinate.

Drink some water. Drink some more. Drink it all day long. Drink till you think you're going to float.

Water supplemented with sports drinks or coconut water for electrolytes, will keep you hydrated. Shy away from alcohol and caffeine because they have a dehydrating effect.

While you are drinking more, eat less. Easier digestion means less effort for the body. Small meals cause your body to create less metabolic heat.
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Spicy foods like chillies and curry are good because it will stimulate your mouth's heat receptors. Your circulation will increase, making you perspire more. This will help to cool you off.

Cool or tepid water in your tub will refresh you.

Keep your lotions in your refrigerator to cool off your face, body, hands and feet. While you're at it put a spray bottle in the fridge and use it for an occasional cooling spritz.

Pull some ice packs out of the freezer and apply them occasionally to your pulse points. Bottles of frozen water will melt out in the heat, leaving still-cold water in its wake.

Spend time outside earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Change your exercise session, making it shorter and less strenuous. Wear light colored clothes to reflect rather than absorb heat.

Use your house to your advantage. Keeping blinds closed to the sun will keep out some heat. A basement can be an escape from the worst of the heat, usually being 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the house.

A dehumidifier will take moisture out of the air, which will make the heat feel less oppressive.

A fan can't remove humidity but moving the air evaporates your sweat, making you feel a bit cooler.

If you have air conditioning, embrace it. If you don't, visit friends that do. Hang out at the library, grocery store or mall and keep cool as much as you can.