4 Old-Fashioned Ways to Stay Cool In the Summer

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Your great-grandparents didn’t have air conditioning, and they survived. You can too! Here’s how to stay cool in the summer naturally…

The dog days of summer are here, and whether you’re an off-gridder without air conditioning, or an eco-conscious family on a budget, there are a number of old-fashioned but very effective ways to stay cool in the summer. Your only choices aren’t either running up the electric bill or just being miserable!

In fact, I grew up in the sultry summers of Arkansas, and our tiny hand-built home never had air conditioning (and – gasp! – still doesn’t). We used a number of these natural methods to stay cool in the summer – though our favorite as kids, of course, was frequent full-body dips in the creek or pond unless we could cajole our parents into driving us to a local swimming hole! Your body was built to regulate its own temperature, and it actually does so quite well if you let it…

Even as an adult, I prefer these to air conditioning, which I find artificially chilling and uncomfortable most of the time. Shade, a fan, and wet hair are my favorite methods for staying cool naturally, but below are a few more methods to try (combine them together for best effect):

  • Drink water. Staying hydrated is your first line of defense. Especially if you’re going to be sweating or out in the heat.

Try adding sliced cucumbers, fresh mint, or citrus wedges if you need some flavor. But just be sure to drink plenty of water no matter what else you add to it. Your body will sweat (a lot) in hot weather, which is its natural means of cooling itself, so make sure it has plenty of fluids to sweat out!

  • Run cold water over your wrists and the crook of your elbow. This one comes from my dad, who grew up without running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. They had a hand pump (and still do in the old homestead house) and if you run cold water over your wrists it helps cool off your body because your veins are close to the surface.
  • Cold cloths (or frozen). Most of us don’t have an ice house for summer use like the pioneers of old but almost all of us have a freezer (modern version). Place a wet kitchen towel in a u-shape in the freezer and after it’s frozen, drape it over your neck… It works like a charm. No freezer?  (I realize that does require electricity for most) Even a cold wet cloth will help if you don’t have a frozen one.

On my mission trip to Nicaragua a few years ago, working out in the blazing sun was so much more bearable when we draped a cold, wet cloth around our necks every so often.

  • Get your head wet. Our bodies sweat to cool us down, the moisture on our skin is cooling and it also cools us off as it evaporates. Your head is especially efficient at releasing heat, which is why there’s little as cooling dunking your head in some cold water or even spraying down your head with the garden hose for some relief.
Read more at MelissaKNorris.com


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