I’m one of those people who gets super hot and sweaty in the summer in, like, five seconds. I melt, I get tired, and then I get really cranky. Not cute.
It might feel natural for me — and for everyone else — to reach for the iciest glass of anything I can find, but that may not be the best idea, especially for us super-heated types. It’s important to cool off without dousing the digestive fire, which is needed to process food into energy. Also, if you’re not digesting well, you’ll feel heavy as your meals linger in your body. No one needs the extra struggle when it’s so hot all you want to do is hug every air conditioning unit you see.
I’m a big fan (did someone say fan?) of making your life easier during the height of summer. The better you feel in the heat, the less likely you are to be aggravated mentally and physically. That’s good for you and everyone around you.
Here are five simple ways to stay minty cool in intense heat:
1. Put fresh mint in your water bottle.
Water is a no-brainer. We want cool liquids like crazy in the summer, but go for cool — not ice cold — water, and drop about three to five fresh mint leaves in the glass. This herb helps soothe digestion and skin irritations, plus gives you a natural shot of cool that doesn’t extinguish the fire in your belly needed to digest. On that note, eat a little lighter in the summer (avoid fried, carbohydrate-heavy and spicy foods).
2. Keep peppermint essential oil in your bag.
I keep a small bottle of peppermint oil in my bag for a few reasons in the summer. You can add a drop to any beverage for a minty taste (like mint lemonade wherever you are doesn't have mint). You can also use one drop on your tongue to freshen your breath; sometimes that's enough to re-energize you in the heat. Use 100% organic and real peppermint essential oil. Every now and then I'll drop a little peppermint on my inner wrist and rub my wrists together. As I use my hands, I end up creating this little minty aura around myself – gives me a little “pep” on a sweltering day.
3. Make sure you have Tiger Balm handy at all times.
I've been using this Chinese salve my entire life. When I was little, my mom used it to cool off my hives and bug bites so I didn’t scratch. Sometimes I rub a bit of balm on my neck for a cooling sensation down my back, which is where you sweat the most. Make sure you get the white version, not the red version (which is heating and stains light clothing). Tiger Balm is also nice after yoga or a workout to relax muscles. People have commented that I smell really good, too — just FYI.
4. Practice sitali breath when you can grab a seat.
This is an ancient cooling breath technique done in yoga. Sit comfortably. Close the eyes. Make an "ooo" shape with your lips and roll up the sides of your tongue (if you can't do this, take the tip of the tongue to the back of the teeth). Inhale through your open lips and over the tongue. Feel a cooling sensation. Close the lips and exhale through the nose. Repeat several times. Combine with #2, the drop of peppermint oil on the tongue, to enhance the effect.
5. Do a cooling meditation before bedtime.
Sometimes the heat is worse because you've got it in your head that it's so hot you could faint. Try this visualization to cool yourself mentally, which can shift the way your body reacts to the heat.
Lie down and close the eyes.
Inhale and visualize the sun in your navel.
As you exhale, move the vision of the sun to your throat.
Let it change colors there into a light blue.
Inhale and expand the light blue light in that area (it governs respiratory function; fifth chakra, visshudha). Exhale and soften the light blue light as it sits in the breath. Repeat a few times.
Stay calm, cool, collected and minty this summer!