As temperatures are set to soar around the UK, it is inevitable that many stores will soon display ‘out of stock signs’ above where their electric fans once were. As a result, working from home throughout a heatwave can be challenging, especially if the property lacks outdoor space. Here, health practitioner Stacey Dutton at the home brand Unclutterer presents 5 ways to keep your cool inside without a fan when working from home and the science behind each practice.
Turn your attention to your body not the property
On a hot day, an assumption is often made that focus should lay on cooling the property’s physical interior. However, emphasis should be placed on the actual body. ‘Applying a cold compress to points of the body where a strong pulse can be found works to cool the body from the inside out’, says Dutton. ‘The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus turns the body’s temperature up and down by taking several factors into account. One of the factors the hypothalamus considers is how hot (or cold) the actual skin is. The pulse points of the skin are the parts that have the biggest influence on the workings of the hypothalamus as the vessels are close to the surface of the skin. Applying a cold compress to the pulse point ignites a signal to the brain stating that the body is cold. This tricks the hypothalamus into cooling down the rest of the body. To fully benefit, hold a compress on the back of the neck, temples, and wrists. Keeping your feet in a cool bowl of water will also cool the body’.
Peppermint on your desk
Peppermint not only holds several anti-bacterial properties; it provides a cooling effect to the skin. ‘Peppermint is packed with menthol that delivers a tingling effect to the skin that replicates the feeling of being cold’, says Dutton. ‘Inhaling peppermint can cool the body however, when diluted in water or oil, it can also be directly applied to the skin. Apply to the pulse points to cool however, if you have sensitive skin, initially apply a small amount as redness can occur due to the ingredients tingling properties’.
Shut out the light and close the windows
According to Dutton, you should steer away from opening all the windows in the house on a hot day. ‘It always amazes me how many people open a window, feel the warm air hit them, and then leave the window open. Opening the windows on a hot day will fill the rooms with hot air and in turn, raise its temperature. Likewise, if you leave the curtains or blinds open, letting the sun shine through the windows, the room will rise in temperature. On a hot day close the windows and close the drapes to darken the room. The windows should be opened when the temperature outside cools and the sun begins to set. This will let cool air in and encourage the indoor temperature to drop further.’
Hydrate the system
Drinking water on a hot day may not be ground-breaking advice however, consuming hot water is not widely recognised. ‘Drinking hot water to cool you down when you are hot seems counterproductive however, it can be really effective. When you drink a hot drink when your body temperature is high, it raises it even further. This encourages the body to sweat. Ultimately, sweating is a mechanism used by the body to cool it. If your whole body is covered with clothes, the sweat is trapped. If you are wearing clothes that partially cover the skin, the sweat will evaporate which allows the body to cool. If you are not wearing clothes that will allow the sweat to evaporate, then it is wise to opt for a cool drink.’
Roll out the frozen towels
‘This is perhaps my favourite trick to cool down if you are working from home in a heatwave – whether you have a fan or not’, sates Dutton. ‘Dampen a flannel or towel in cool water and wring out the access water. Fold in half and roll tightly. Place in the freezer for several hours, ideally overnight. This will freeze the inner layers of the towel/flannel however, the outer later will stay soft. When the weather is hot, roll out the towel and place around you. Alternatively, you can place the towel over your office chair or on the actual seat as you work. This cools the body almost immediately.
Ultimately, you do not necessarily need to invest in expensive fans or cooling tools. You can adopt several cost-effective methods to cool your home working space throughout the heatwave.