“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

— Sam Keen

It’s been a hot summer so far in Atlanta, and now the “Dog Days” are upon us. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the “Dog Days” run from July 3 to August 11 each year. These have been known to be the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. Do you know where this saying comes from? Some believe it refers to days that are not fit for a dog. I’ve even read that it came about because the extreme heat this time of year drives dogs mad.

The phrase is really referring to Sirius, the dog star. During these dog days, the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. If you have a clear night, look up and see if you can spot it. Sirius will be located in the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

So, while we’re all dealing with the excessive heat, here are some tips for staying cool offered by Jaime McLeod:

  1. Eat foods that can help regulate body temperature: mushrooms, cucumbers, citrus fruit, lemon balm, lettuce, and mint. Snack on frozen melon cubes and berries. And don’t forget to check out basil seeds! They are used in drinks in India because they help to cool your body.
  2. We all know this one: Drink water and stay hydrated. It is suggested you drink a ½ gallon of water over the course of a day.
  3. Swimming is a great exercise and a fantastic way to cool off, as the water evaporates from the skin, taking the heat with it! If you can’t take a dip, perhaps soak your feet in cool water or run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds.
  4. Cool your neck. This is where your body’s main temperature sensor is located. If you’re sitting by a fan, have it blow onto the back of your neck. Keep your hair pinned up, and a cool neck compress will also bring relief.
  5. Dress for the weather – light and cool. Linens and bright colors will help to reflect heat from the sun.
  6. Relax in the lowest level of your home, as heat rises. This is the perfect time for the “chill room” in the basement if you have one.
  7. Peppermint is not only good to add to your drinks but applying peppermint lotion will allow the menthol to stimulate your nerves and trick your body into thinking you are cooler.
  8. Cucumbers aren’t just good for salads – try rubbing a slice of chilled cucumber over your face. The juice will take longer to evaporate than water, for extended refreshment.
  9. Allow yourself permission to just sit very still and do nothing. Don’t run errands, do yard work, or exercise during the hottest part of the day. Save those tasks for the evening or fall, which will be right around the corner.