|Image by Peter Griffin|
Between the introduction into the world of hot flashes and night sweats and the insanely hot weather, I am desperate to find ways to cool down.
So you can imagine my delight when this month's Good Housekeeping magazine decided to address this very issue in an article.
Here's what I learned:
- AC (no kidding). Keep it set between 70 -75 degrees when you're home. Set it to 80 degrees when you're not. Bottom line on this -- if you let your house get too hot, it will take a lot more energy to cool it down. But make sure you don't have any heat-producing devices (TVs, computers, lights, appliances, etc.) located close to your thermostat. Some of you may be gasping at the recommendation to set it so low while you're home. But for me and my hot flashes, that's just the way it is going to be. Note: If your central AC unit is more than 12 years old or if your portable unit has been hanging out the window for more than 10 seasons, you may want to consider replacing it. The result could be a 30% savings on your electric bill.
- Location, location, location. If at all possible, put your portable AC units on the north side of your home. Or plant some nice shade trees near the unit. Keeping your AC out of the sun can lower your energy use between 10% and 25%.
- Keep the shades drawn. When sunlight is streaming through your windows, the temp inside your home can rise by as much as 20 degrees. Whoa!
- Turn on the fan. Circulating air feels 8 degrees cooler. But make sure you turn off the fans when you're not in the room. After all, they don't actually cool. They just make you feel cooler. If you don't have or don't want to use your AC, consider buying a couple of window fans -- one that pulls air in and another that blows air out.
- Set up a dehumidifier or two. We actually have 3 running in our house.
- Take a cool shower or lukewarm bath. Supposedly, this will cool your body 25 times faster than hanging out in the breeze. Make sure you run your exhaust fan for at least 20 minutes afterward to dry out the air.
- Remove your plants. I know I'm always telling you to load up your rooms with plant in order to help remove toxins, but in the heat of the summer, they actually are counterproductive. Plants produce moisture, thus making your indoor air a bit more humid.
- Grab a sterling silver dinner knife. According to Heloise, this old-fashioned (and green) trick is pretty effective. Simply press the flat part of the knife against the back of your neck or inside of your wrist. Since your blood vessels are close to the skin in those places, the cool metal will immediately cool them. No sterling in the house? Grab an ice cube instead. It's a bit messy, but it will work.
Trying to keep cool,