I’m writing this after a weeklong vacation in New Orleans, whose famous shotgun-style houses (theoretically) allow for constant air circulation during those hot, sticky months just before hurricane season. That’s one way to do it! For everyone else, here are some other ideas for keeping the heat off this summer…
Get a good great fan
I know, so analog. Yet so useful! If you’re one of those unlucky souls without a functioning AC unit, put away the cheapo desk fan you’ve had since forever — it’s time for something more effective. Apartment Therapy has a good roundup, in case you can’t afford this pricey little magic trick from Dyson. You can also stick a bowl of ice in front of the fan for even cooler air flow.
Wear the right kind of sunscreen
Sunburns will only add to your misery, so it’s best to keep plenty of sun protection with you, whether you’re going on a beach vacation or an afternoon picnic. Look for a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and broad-spectrum coverage that will protect you against both UVA (skin-burning) and UVB (skin-aging) rays. Since recent studies suggest that regular sunscreens might contain harmful carcinogens, check out a “natural” brand like Alba or Lavanila — there are tons. And even if you end up somewhere chilly this summer (looking at you, San Francisco), remember that UV rays can still damage your skin even from behind a cloudy sky. Oh, and reapply. A lot.
Cool down with some easy lunch recipes
Need something to bring to a BBQ or potluck? It’s hard to want to stay in and cook when it’s a million degrees out and the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven. To keep things simple, cheap, and fresh, try serving your friends a cold-soup-and-sandwich combo — like a chilled white-bean soup served with a delicious asparagus, avocado, and goat cheese tartine. For dessert, check out this recipe for strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar (try substituting crème fraîche for the sour cream!), or a classic frozen chocolate banana. And while you’re at it, you might as well whip up a pitcher or two of sangria. Fact: you can never, ever go wrong with sangria. When in doubt, make sangria. If you’ve already made sangria for these people, do a different sangria. You’ll be great.
Work up a sweat
Exercising in the heat can be tough, but there are plenty of ways — short of shelling out for a membership at your gross neighborhood gym or jogging in place with your head in the freezer — to keep up your healthy workout habits this summer. The New York Times has some ideas, including dumping cold water on your head (really!) and “precooling” before your workout by drinking a slushie or draping a cold washcloth around your neck. It won’t make you faster, but it may help you feel better during your run. Most importantly, always drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid overheating.