A heatwave has swept the country, with the mercury likely to top 35 degrees in some parts of the UK today, making it the warmest day so far.
Sun-seekers are looking forward to a weekend of languishing in the garden, while the hot weather has been met with slightly more apprehension by those of us who are locked in an office 47 weeks of the year.
If you want to enjoy the summer without getting all hot and bothered, here's how to keep your cool (and if you don't have one yet, we recommend referring to our guides to the best fans and portable air conditioners).
1. Lie on the floor
Hot air rises and so if you need a quick cool down, it’s best to get low. The floor may not be the most comfortable resting spot but at least you’ll be away from warmer air currents.
2. Breathe deep
Even breathing can help you stay cool. Yoga has a cooling breathing technique, where you roll your tongue and breathe slowly through the mouth, to help lower body heat and ease stress.
Breathe in through your rolled tongue (or, if you’re not genetically able to, purse the lips) and exhale through the nose. Breathing through the mouth should allow your saliva cool the air you breathe before it enters your lungs.
3. Cover up
Some people prefer to shed their clothes in the heat, but keep your modesty with long loose clothes in natural fibres. Those living in the hottest countries will often cover themselves from head to toe, which can help to shade the skin and protect the body from the sun.
4. Don’t fan yourself
At least, don’t fan yourself with your hands. Although this will create a rush of air and make you feel temporarily cooler, the vigorous action uses a lot of energy and will raise your body temperature in the long run.
If you’re going to fan yourself, use a piece of paper or flexible object with a large surface area to create a fanning movement without putting in much effort yourself.
5. Use a herbal remedy
Certain herbs are used for their cooling qualities and, according to traditional herbalists, can help fight the heat when eaten or when used on the skin, such as in a soap or lotion.
Mint is an obvious choice, with plenty of mint body washes available and delicious in a cooling lemonade, but chamomile, dandelion leaf, hibiscus, and raspberry leaf can also help.
6. Eat chilli
A spicy curry may be the last thing you fancy on a hot afternoon, but chilli can help cool the body by making you sweat. It’s no coincidence that some of the hottest locations worldwide have the spiciest food, and eating a lot of chilli can lower your temperature even while heating up your mouth.
7. Put ice in front of your fan
If you have an electric floor fan, put cups full of ice in front of it. The ice cools surrounding air and the fan can then blow that air towards you. Together, this fan and ice combination can help beat the most insufferable heat wave.
8. Cool your pillow
Wrap your pillow in a plastic bag and then put in the fridge throughout the day, so when you come to sleep at night you’ll have a lovely cool place to rest your head. Your temples are also pulse points, where veins are close to the skin’s surface, and cooling these areas will help reduce heat throughout your body.
9. Avoid big meals
Eating a lot in one go will only make you feel hotter, as digestion uses a lot of energy and generates body heat. If you want to stay cool, eat small amounts of cold food throughout the day, instead of stockpiling your body’s work after one big meal.
10. Close your curtains
Keep your curtains closed during the day to shade your rooms and prevent the sun from getting in. This won’t be pleasant if you’re home at the time, but it makes sense to stop sunlight from heating up the room while you're out.
11. Turn off your fan
Before you leave the house, you should also be sure to turn off your fan. Fans work by pushing air around, and while that rush of air creates a cool sensation, all that movement actually heats the air up. So turn your fan off while you’re gone to save electricity and keep the room cool.
12. Run fans anti-clockwise
The direction of ceiling fans can make a big difference. Ceiling fans should run counter clockwise, as a clockwise movement will create an updraft and force warm air down.
13. Use water
We all know water is the best way to stay cool, but when a swimming pool isn’t handy, there are clever ways to make a little water go along way.
Dab water to the body areas where heat tends to gather, and also to pressure points where a little water will help cool your whole system. Wrists, temples, elbows and joint creases are good places to start.
While normally it is advised to drink six to eight glasses of water a day, we should consume more during a heatwave. Drink two to floor glasses of cool fluids per hour. An easy way to check if you are hydrated enough is to check the colour of your urine; if it's dark, you should be drinking more.
14. Soak an item of clothing
Wet t-shirt competitions may not be your style but there are more subtle way to have the same effect. Soak a pair of socks in cold water or else drench a hair band. The water will keep you cool as it slowly evaporates.
15. Wear light colours
Dark colours absorb more heat than light ones, so stay clear of black. Not only is it a depressing to colour to wear mid-summer, but it will also make you feel more hot. White, beige and light pastel colours are the best shades to wear to keep your skin cool.
16. Turn off electrical items
Most electric objects give out heat so turn off all incandescent light bulbs, your computer and your TV. That one light bulb may not seem like much of a heat risk but collectively, they really can make a difference.
17. Open the door
Circulating air throughout a room is just as important as letting in fresh air and so doors should be opened along with windows. For safety reasons, it’s best to keep the front door closed but if you favour cool temperatures over privacy then keep any doors within your home wide open.
18. Paint your roof
If the heat is really getting to you, then you might want to consider painting your roof white. A lighter colour will reflect the sun and help keep the entire building cool. The only problem comes in winter, when you’ll have to climb back up that ladder to prepare for the colder months.
19. Breath into an ice cup
Holding a cup of ice is a classic way to cool down, but for an extra blast of artic air, hold the cup over your mouth and breathe into it. This will then force out any cold air already in the cup and create a cool breeze.