Seven hot ways to stay cool

The only thing more jarring than walking outside with a triple-digit heat index is receiving the triple-digit energy bill in the mail. I consider myself to be fairly conservative with the thermostat, but my recent energy bill made me realize that I haven’t been as vigilant as I should be.

With that in mind, I decided to research ways I could stay cool for the remainder of the summer without having to blast the AC.

The following tips are some of the most creative – and frugal – ways I found to stay cool:

  • Eat spicy food. Have you ever wondered why the countries with some of the warmest climates have the spiciest foods? Spicy foods increase perspiration without raising your body temperature. The sweat actually cools your body as it evaporates – it’s your body’s natural cooling system!
  • Keep your pulse points cool. One interesting tip I read recommended freezing plastic jelly bracelets and then wearing them to keep your pulse points cold. If you don’t have anything like that handy, you can also use a wet cloth or bandana. Place these on your wrists or around your neck and leave it there for about five minutes.
  • Take a hot shower. While this may sound entirely unappealing when it’s already hot and steamy outside, taking a warm shower will actually make you feel cooler when you get out. Keeping your hair wet will also help keep you cool as the water evaporates.
  • Use fans wisely.  If you have floor fans, place a bowl of ice behind the fan so that it circulates cool air. You can also place a fan so that it’s facing outward in the window or doorway of a hot area of your house so that it’s pulling the hot air out of the room.
  • Don’t eat big meals. Eating small amounts of food will keep you cooler and more comfortable. Keep cold snacks on hand. One of my favorite things to do is make frozen grapes. Simply rinse off the clusters with water and put them in the freezer. In a few hours you’ll have a fun, healthy treat everyone will love.
  • Keep cool with cucumbers. Slice a piece of cold cucumber from the fridge and place it in the middle of your forehead. The astringency of the cucumber is refreshing for your skin – especially your eyelids.
  • Add a hint of mint. In the same fashion as cucumbers, minty or menthol products refresh the skin and leave a nice cooling sensation. Use a body powder with mint to stay cool and dry. You can even apply a menthol product you would typically use when you are congested – such as Vicks VapoRub – to cool your skin. Place a little bit on your chest or even your forehead.

There are a lot of fun, frugal ways to stay cool this summer. If all else fails, there are plenty of free, public places you can escape to, such as the library or a community pool.

How do you stay cool in the summer heat? Share your tips!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.