Staying cool on warm days can be a challenge, particularly here in the UK, where home air conditioning is rare. A lot of the things that we use to keep cool during the summer can have a negative impact on our energy bills – and the environment. So how can we stay cool while keeping our bank balance and the environment safe?

It might take a little creativity and imagination – along with some tried and tested ways used for centuries before we had electricity to power fans and air conditioning units.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is crucial when it comes to hot weather. It can be easy when sitting out in the sun or doing summery activities to get heatstroke. So one of your top priorities over the summer months should be to ensure you have access to plenty of water no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing.

It can help on days out to ensure that you know exactly where you can stop and get water, particularly if going on a long hike or camping in the countryside. At home, it’s much simpler to access water, but it’s still important to remember to drink it! You could consider using a water bottle that shows you when you need to drink throughout the day.

Don’t Forget Suntan Lotion

Suntan lotion is another vital part of staying safe in the sun. Even 10 to 15 minutes unprotected in the sun can increase chances of issues such as skin cancer. Ideally, you should be applying suntan lotion of SPF30 and above. You should also ensure you apply it at least 30 minutes before going outside and keep topping it up throughout the day.

Sleep Alone

Sleeping in bed with your partner is naturally going to make both of you much hotter throughout the night. It might help to sleep separately on the hottest nights to give both of you the best chance of a good night’s rest.

If sleeping alone isn’t an option, you could ensure that the room is well ventilated and use light sheets instead of a duvet.

Invest In Shade For The Garden

There’s nothing quite like sipping an ice-cold drink out on the patio on a hot, sunny day. It is essential to ensure that you have plenty of shade for those occasions to cool down easier when you get hot.

You could consider getting some parasols for shade or investing in some covered seating. Gazebos are another excellent choice, but it is worth investing in sustainable gazebos that will stand the test of time.

Consider Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a great choice to help reduce the heat. There’s a reason so many counties with warm climates opt for them. Carpets are great in the winter, but over summer, they can contribute to how warm your house gets overall. When it’s winter again, you could consider getting a warm, soft area rug to keep your toes warm.

Use The Right Blinds 

The right window coverings will help you make the most of the natural light that summer brings while also providing you with privacy and much-needed shade to keep cool. There are many good options out there, from classic roman blinds to blackout blinds that can help keep a room cool.

You could also consider day and night roller blinds like these from Make My Blinds. These are an excellent combination of opaque and sheer materials, allowing in plenty of natural light as well as shade.

Turn The Heat Down In The Shower

Hot showers are a thing of the past for many of us during the summer. A cold or cool shower can be just the thing to help you get over the worst of the day’s heat. You could consider having a between 11am and 3pm, which are typically the hottest points of the day.

Blow On Ice

Blowing on a cup of ice is a great way to make your own mini air conditioner. All you need is a cup of ice. You could also consider getting a freezer cup for even longer-lasting cooling.

You can also use ice to cool down your pulse points on your wrists, temples and below the ears. Cooling these areas is a great way to cool your whole body down.

Enjoy Cold Meals

It might be best to leave the Sunday roasts until the weather cools down! Not only will the heat generated from cooking add to the overall heat in the house, but it will also make you much warmer after eating. If you choose to cook hot meals, it can help wait until later in the day when the worst of the heat has passed and cook quick meals like stir fries.

There are plenty of delicious cold meals you could prepare over the warmer months. It may help to do some research and get some inspiration to make a summer meal plan. Salads, sushi bowls and sandwiches are all excellent choices during the summer heat.

Wear Light, Airy Clothing

Typically, the lighter in colour your clothes, the cooler you will be. Therefore, you should avoid dark, heavy and restrictive clothing and instead opt for light, breathable fabrics. Dresses, shorts and tank tops are all excellent choices to help you stay cool and happy.

Take A Siesta

There’s a reason these are so popular in Spain and other hot countries! Sleeping away the hottest part of the day can be the best way to cope with the heat. Of course, this option might not be realistic for everyone. If you’re working from home, you could ask your employer if they would be willing to allow you to take an extra-long lunch and make up your hours once the worst of the heat has passed.

Final Thoughts

Staying cool over the summer in the UK can be a challenge. Increasingly we’re experiencing record highs over the summer months, and while this can be great news for our summer plans, it is concerning from an environmental perspective. It may be best to avoid giving in to the temptation of air conditioning and electric fans in favour of methods that will help minimise your impact on the planet.

Claire Preece