The temperature and humidity are creeping up. You really want to punch the air conditioner down to about 68 degrees, but you know that's not only expensive but a waste of energy. But what can you do instead - just sweat it out? Not necessary! Try these tricks to keep the discomfort to a minimum during the hottest days of summer.

  • Drink something cold. If your taste buds are tired of ice water, try a watermelon slushy. This refreshing summer drink couldn't be easier to make - simply throw some cubed watermelon (remove any seeds!) into your blender or food processor and whirl away.
  • Grill outside. The last thing you want to do in summer is heat up the kitchen by making dinner on the stove. Instead, fire up the grill and throw on some kebabs. When you cut up meat, fruits and veggies into small, even-sized pieces, they cook fast so you don't even need to spend extra time sweating over the fire. Try skewering pineapple and red bell peppers with your chicken, spread them over some rice (cooked in the microwave!) and dab on some of your favorite sauce to make a quick and complete meal without the sweat.
  • Change your light bulbs. If you haven't switched out your traditional light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones, you are adding a considerable amount of heat to your room whenever you turn on your lamps. Ninety percent of the energy an incandescent bulb produces goes toward heat, not light. Multiply that by the dozens of light bulbs you may have around the house and suddenly the idea of sitting down next to a bright lamp makes you feel overheated.
  • Turn off the television. Electric appliances create heat, and most people don't have just the TV on - they also have DVD, DVR and video game players running at the same time, all of which add up to a warm viewing experience. Read a book, play a board game or set up movie night outside to save some heat in the house.
  • Take a short, cold shower. Moisture creates a sticky situation that's best avoided. To keep humidity at a minimum, take as short a shower as possible. Try shaving at the sink or applying a leave-in conditioner after your shower to shorten your time under the water. Cool water instead of hot will also cut down on humidity. Try showering after your workout if the idea of a cold shower turns you off. Also, be sure to turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom to remove as much moisture as possible. This not only makes you feel cooler, but it prevents mold and mildew buildup.

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