Working from home in the heat? Here's how to keep cool 🌞

·4-min read
Photo credit: Tania Cervián - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tania Cervián - Getty Images

Hands up who else is absolutely melting right now? Same! Meaning tips on how to keep cool at work during this gorgeously sunny weather are pretty welcome – especially if you're working from home and don't have the luxury of office air conditioning. Let's face it, as lovely as the sun is during a lunch break, it's pretty tough answering emails coherently when you're back at your desk and your brain feels like a melted ice Slushie, isn't it?

Thankfully, expert health practitioner Stacey Dutton, who works with home brand Unclutterer, is on hand to share some tips on how to keep cool at working in the heat – even if you don't have a fan at home.

Cool your pulse points

"Applying a cold compress to points of the body where a strong pulse can be found works to cool the body from the inside out," says Dutton, who adds that the body's temperature is regulated by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. "The hypothalamus turns the body’s temperature up and down by taking several factors into account – one being how hot (or cold) the actual skin is."

She explains that pulse points have the biggest influence on the workings of the hypothalamus, as the vessels are close to the surface of the skin, so applying a cold compress to the back of the neck, your temples and wrists will send a signal to your brain that the body is cooler than it is. Clever stuff! "Keeping your feet in a cool bowl of water will also help you cool down overall."

Get some peppermint on the go

Not only does peppermint boast several anti-bacterial properties, it also offers a cooling effect for the skin (hallelujah!). "It's packed with menthol that delivers a tingling effect to the skin, which replicates the feeling of being cold," Dutton explains. "Inhaling peppermint can cool the body, however, when diluted in water or oil, it can also be directly applied to the skin." She suggested applying some to your pulse points (but go easy if you have sensitive skin, initially only applying a small amount to test the waters).

Shut the windows and curtains

This one may come as a shocker, but Dutton recommends keeping the windows closed on a scorching hot day. "It always amazes me how many people open a window, feel the warm air hit them, then leave the window open. Opening the windows on a hot day will fill the rooms with hot air and in turn, raise the temperature," Dutton explains. Likewise, she says, if you have the curtains or blinds open, you'll be letting the sun in and again, the room's temperature will shoot right up. So, keep the windows and blinds closed to create a cool, dark room. "The windows should be opened when the temperature outside cools and the sun begins to set, to let cool air in and encourage the indoor temperature to drop further."

Photo credit: Anna Shvets - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anna Shvets - Getty Images

Strip off and make a cup of tea

If you've got a litre jug of icy water sat on your desk, that's a good start. But to go one better, Dutton advises drinking something hot – but only if you're able to wander around the house in a bikini. "It may sound counterproductive, but having a hot drink can be really effective. It raises your body temperature further and this encourages you to sweat." Ultimately, she explains, sweating is a mechanism used by the body to cool it down. "If you're able to wear something that exposes a lot of your skin, then the sweat will evaporate and help you find relief from the heat. However, if you're not wearing clothes that will allow the sweat to evaporate, then it's wiser to opt for a cool drink after all." So, this one all depends what time your next Zoom meeting is really...

Freeze your towels

"This is perhaps my favourite trick to cool down if you're working from home in a heatwave – whether you have a fan or not," says Dutton. "Dampen a flannel or towel in cool water and wring out the excess. Fold in half and roll tightly, then place it in the freezer for several hours, ideally overnight." This will freeze the inner layers of the towel or flannel, while keeping the outer later soft. When the sun kicks in, simply roll out the towel and place it on your back, or over your office chair. "You could even sit on it! A frozen towel cools the body almost immediately." Better already.

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