Lower your body temperature, ventilate, and if you can’t shell out for AC, try a DIY option.
Summer is well under way but most of us are still shaking off a case of holiday blues as we log back into email inboxes and resume activities other than eating, sleeping, swimming and barbecuing.
Working from home has plentiful perks. Unfortunately, free air conditioning is not one of them.
If you’re sitting at home without AC right now, things are about to get uncomfortably sticky.
Nothing will quite beat the heat like a heat pump installation, but if you’re desperate for immediate relief, try one or more of these tricks.
* Whitianga records warmest January temperature on record since 1962
* The best and weirdest ways to survive humidity at home
* No sweat: How to keep cool during hot-weather workouts
* Hot? Tea, not ice cream will cool you down
Undress for success
If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that office wear is severely overrated. 3UnsplashAnd if you’re not even in the office? May as well forget it.
Trade your pair of trusty lockdown trackies or pyjama bottoms for some loose and lightweight clothing that will keep you as cool as possible. Fabrics made from natural materials such as linen or cotton are the most breathable.
Opt for white or light-coloured materials where possible and wear as little as possible (provided you don’t have any impromptu Zoom meetings).
Most New Zealanders already have this habit hardwired, even in public, but in case you’re still wearing them, lose the shoes and socks. Go barefoot, or if you must, use sandals or slides. Our hands and feet regulate body temperature, so keeping them free will help regulate core body temperature.
Cool your pulse points
For quick and immediate relief, dab a cold compress or ice cubes on pulse points on your wrists, back of the neck, chest or temples. Pulse points are the spots where the veins run closest to the surface of the skin and release the most heat.
Cooling them will send a signal to your brain that the body is cooler than it is.
Keeping long hair tied up in a bun or ponytail will help keep the back of the neck cool. For wrists, run them under a cold tap for the same effect and feet can be put in either a cool bowl of water under a desk, or on a frozen hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel.
Your feet and ankles are particularly sensitive to heat because they have a lot of pulse points.
Bonus tip: Upgrade a basic desk fan by placing a bowl of ice or frozen water bottle in front of it to create a cooling breeze.
Pull the blinds
Only open the windows when it is cooler outside than it is inside – usually at night. Opening the windows in the middle of a hot day will fill the rooms with hot air and raise the internal temperature.
It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping the blinds and curtains drawn during the day will help to prevent the sun from warming up your workspace.
You might also want to re-evaluate where in the house you set up office. Some rooms will be cooler than others depending on where they are positioned.
Change the hours you work
Chances are, if your boss has a flexible work from home policy, they may also have a flexible hours policy.
Without the luxury of in-office air conditioning, avoiding the hottest part of the day will be crucial.
A number of seasoned work from homers start and finish work early, or break from lunch until mid-afternoon and then resume work at night when the temperature is cooler (and kids have eaten and gone to bed).
Hydrate with food as well as water
The “meat sweats” are real.
Protein is the hardest macronutrient to digest, so with a massive influx of protein, the body goes into overdrive to break it down and causes us to sweat.
That is why having a heavy lunch can lull you into lethargy in the early afternoon – heatwave or no. The easiest way to combat food coma is to eat lighter during the day. Vegan options and salads are ideal because they also negate the need to use the oven, which will only expose you to more unnecessary heat.
To boost concentration, opt for juicy and refreshing pieces of fruit over caffeinated drinks. The natural sugars will provide hydration and an energy boost, whereas tea and coffee will dehydrate you.
It should go without saying but, drink water, and lots of it. There’s no one around to judge how many bathroom trips you make in a day.
Take regular breaks outside, but don’t set up shop there
If outside is cooler than inside, then take regular little walks and stretches around the backyard or to a local cafe – just as you might go into the office kitchen.
It might be tempting to untether your laptop from its monitor to bask under the shade of a tree, or to venture further to a park or beach. But know that anyone sitting outside with a laptop is a WFH rookie. It’s a fine idea, for about five minutes, until your back starts to ache and all you can see on the screen is 12 months’ worth of dust particles.