Let’s face it, this summer hasn’t been the best we’ve ever had in the UK. Those of us enjoying a staycation may well have had to buy some unexpected waterproof items for our summer wardrobe, whilst stores are losing out from the rails of summer clothes as yet to be sold.
But the weather in the UK is nothing if not surprising. We may well be in for an Indian summer this year. Or, the doubters amongst us may decide to up and go somewhere where the weather is guaranteed to be a little warmer.
Either way, when the weather does warm up, what are the best ways of coping with it? How can we stay cool in a heatwave? How can you ensure that you look and feel your best in the heat - and that any photography that takes place captures a flattering image of you rather than a hot sweaty blob?
Here are our Top Ten life hacks for keeping your cool:
1. Keep hydrated
Drink constantly - water is best and you need about twice your usual amount. Some herbal teas are also good: try mint or chrysanthemum. But go easy on the alcohol because this can actually dehydrate you, and is also likely to contribute to disturbed sleep patterns.
2. Eat little and often
Eating this way can help your body to stay cooler because metabolic heat is needed to break down food, which means that your body has to warm up to process meals. The larger the meal, the more your body will warm up and the hotter you will feel.
3. And … breathe!
A bit of yogic breathing can help to bring your temperature down. Try putting your tongue out, curling the edges up as you do this. Then breathe in slowly through your curled tongue, hold your breath for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly through your nose. The air will be cooled by your saliva before it reaches your lungs, so if you repeat this a few times you should soon start to feel better.
4. Spice is nice
Conversely eating spicy food is good for you in the heat! It increases blood circulation and also the capsaicin in the chilis encourages your body to sweat but does not raise your body temperature. As the sweat dries you will feel cooler.
5. Use fans
A personal fan is great to keep you cool on the move. If you are using a room or desktop fan in your home or office then try placing a bowl or tray of ice in front of it as this will make your room cooler as the ice melts.
6. Cool those pressure points
For a quick cool down why not try pressing a bottle of ice-cold water on pressure points such as ankles, wrists, or behind the knees. This can bring immediate relief. Even rinsing your wrists under a cool tap can help.
7. Stay in the shade
In the UK we can feel so starved of sun that we want to make the most of every minute! But it really is advisable to stay in the shade from around 11am-3pm between March and October, as this is the time of the day where the sun is strongest. You can then enjoy the sun later in the day without feeling hot and bothered.
8. Pull those blinds
Whilst it can seem a shame to shut out the sun, pulling blinds and closing curtains first thing in the morning is the best way of ensuring that the room stays nice and cool in the heat of the day.
9. Wear cool fabrics
Choose lightweight fabrics in the heat: cotton is particularly good. Light colours are best as they can help to reflect the sun's radiation.
10. Chill your bedding
This may sound a bit extreme but it works wonders! One way to do this is to place some soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets. Or you can try placing sheets and pillowcases in plastic bags, and putting them in the freezer for a few hours before then making your bed and lying in it.
So if you do manage to find any sun this summer then we hope that the above tips will help you keep your cool and enjoy every moment; and that if you are captured by any summer photography you will look and feel your best.
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