Today marks the arrival of the Great Heat, as it’s known on the Chinese calendar. This period, which marks the hottest time of the year, usually falls between July 22 and 24. In Hong Kong, we’re certainly feeling the mercury rising!

As we brace our air conditioners to go into overdrive, we thought it useful to share some unique ways to keep cool in hot weather. A little ingenuity can go a long ways! Read on to learn more:

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1.) Don’t let the heat go to your head

Traditional Chinese Medicine espouses that the head is the most “yang”, or sunny/light, part of your body. Since heat rises, it’s good to keep your head physically cool by putting a cold wet cloth on your head or neck. The back of your neck is believed to be the main point of clearing all heat from your body. If you don’t have a spare cloth, a bag of ice or frozen food should also do the job!

 

2.) Go big: make a giant watermelon juice

Yes, you heard that right. When it’s hot outside and you sweat a great deal, it’s important to stay hydrated. We love this ingenious way of getting the most out of a fruit that’s not only tasty but particularly effective at cooling the body. All you need is a chilled whole watermelon, a drill and a hanger. Mix it up by adding other fruits, like raspberries, or seltzer water for a little fizzy fun. Cut a hole in the top of the watermelon, fold the hanger (sanitize it too, if needed), attach it to the end of your drill, and voila, you’ve got your own DIY watermelon juice. Check out the video to learn how to make own! (And check out tip #4 for more foods that will keep you nice and cool)

 

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3.) Get your zzz’s on the floor

We all know that hot air rises so if you can, sleep as close to the ground as possible. You could pull your mattress onto the floor or set up a temporary bed on the ground. If you live in a multi-story home, try sleeping on the lowest floor possible.

 

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4.) Eat cool to stay cool

It’s not just hot weather that can make us sweat. Avoid generating more heat in your home by opting to cook lighter, smaller meals, and choose cool foods, like fruits, vegetables and legumes, when possible. These foods not only can help to hydrate your body but they also metabolize more quickly than, say, a giant steak. Lower carb foods will make you feel cooler because your body is not working as hard to digest them. Go for fruits – like pineapple, which contains the enzyme bromelain, that can help reduce inflammation, or citrus, which has a great cooling effect on the body and promotes detoxification – or dark leafy greens, which are 80-95% water and very easy to digest.

 

 

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5.) Go natural

We’re not advocating going completely nude in the summer but wearing looser clothing and avoiding synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon is a great way to keep your internal temperature from rising. In general, the less fabric you have touching your body, the better, though if you prefer to stay clothed, any material you’re wearing will be useful in wicking away sweat. Opt for materials like cotton which are much more breathable and will absorb your sweat (don’t worry, it dries faster too).

 

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6.) Rice to the rescue

If you’ve ever felt the blissful chill of ice cubes on a hot day, you’ll be happy to know you can take this feeling with you to bed. Similar to creating an ice pack, if you fill a sock with rice, tie it up and chuck it in the freezer for an hour. The compress will stay chilly for about 30 minutes, just enough time for you to enter dreams of ice cream-eating polar bears. Pro-tip: you can also microwave the rice pack in cold months, when you need a personal heat pack!

What are some tricks you’ve found for keeping cool in the summer? Share your ideas in the comments, we’d love to hear them!

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