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Hey Cool It!

Feeeeelin’ hot, hot, hot! It’s such a British thing; we spend half the year wishing for summer, then when it gets here we complain that it’s just too, tooooo hot. In all fairness though, we’re not really equipped to deal with it: our homes, shops and offices generally lack the Arctic air-conditioning that most consistently warmer countries boast; our buildings are constructed for warmth.

So what do you do when it’s 27°C outside and you can’t strip down to your undies because you have to work and – you can’t be certain of this – but you’re pretty sure that your boss wouldn’t like it?

10 Ways to Stay Cool at Work

Dress Appropriately: Although you might feel like stripping off, wearing light weight, light coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres – no Nylon! – is a far more effective way to stay cool. There’s a reason why Lawrence of Arabia dressed from head to toe in a bed sheet.

Window Control: If there is a breeze outside, or you have windows on opposite sides of the room to create a through-draft, then pin down your paperwork and get those windows open. If it’s a still day, or you only have one window, keep the windows closed and blinds down, because you’ll just be letting that warm soupy air in.

Open Doors: Allowing internal air to circulate is as beneficial as letting fresh air in.

Turn Off Tech: OK, so you can’t switch off the office PCs or power down the till systems, but pretty much all electrically powered items generate heat, so if the photocopier isn’t in permanent use, or an absent colleague’s computer is sitting idle, then switch it off. Same goes for unnecessary lights, printers, televisions; anything with a plug.

Drink Black Tea: We all know someone who simply must have a hot drink in their hand, even when it’s egg-frying territory outdoors, but it seems that there’s method to their madness. Hot drinks raise the body’s core temperature, making our internal cooling mechanisms kick in – or in other words, making us sweat. We might not like sweating, but it’s exactly what we need in order to stay cool.

Spritz: Water in a spritzer bottle is kind of a friendly alternative to sweat – lightly sprayed on the face, neck, wrists and pressure points it will help to cool your whole body, without the unfortunate odour.

Breathe: It may not look that attractive, but slowly breathing in through a rolled tongue or pursed lips and out through the nose not only helps to lower body heat by cooling the saliva, but has also been shown to reduce stress. Give it a try.

Use a Desk Fan – Wisely: Electric fans can be a life-saver in hot weather, but by moving the air around they’re also heating it up, so if you’re not physically in front of it, you could be making the problem worse. If you are using a fan, put a cup of ice in front. A cool mist will be created, helping to lower the room’s temperature.

Eat Small Meals: The more you eat the harder your body has to work to digest and the hotter it will become. Little and often should be your summer food rule.

Eat Chilli: It may be counter-intuitive, but spicy hot foods cool you down. Why do you think curry is so popular in warmer climes?

While for most of us warmer weather is just a bit of bane (while we’re at work, anyway), over heating can lead to serious health problems, especially for the very young or the elderly. If you’re at all worried, or would like more information about how to cope in a heatwave, please check out NHS guidelines. In the meantime, just try to keep your cool; it’ll probably rain tomorrow!