I get cranky when it’s hot outside.  I’m a firey person already (in Ayurvedic terms, my Pitta dosha is pretty high), and the heat adds to that.

If I have to do something outside when it’s hot — like yardwork or basically anything that’s in the sun — I almost instantly get irritated. 

Through the years, as I’ve really noticed how my mood is so dramatically impacted by the weather, I’ve learned some coping techniques to help me be less bitchy during the sweltering summer heat.  While this isn’t rocket science, sometimes it’s nice to have a gentle reminder of how we can chill out.  Here are a few of my favorites…

Ways to cool down (besides plopping in front of an air conditioner):

Take a cool shower or bath.  It doesn’t matter what time of day.  If yer hot, it’s a great way to feel instant relief.

Go to sleep with wet hair.  This is a favorite of mine.  After it’s wet, I’ll throw it up in a make-shift bun and enjoy the cooler temps as I sleep.

Soak a washcloth with cold water, wring it out, and place it on your neck, chest, or head.

Drink lots of water.  Infuse with mint, cilantro, cantaloupe, or watermelon (or a combo of these!) to bring about more cooling elements.

Lay down and just breathe. If you can’t nap, set an alarm for 15 minutes, lay down, and focus on the air moving in and out through your nose.

Do Shithali breath.  Open your mouth and make essentially a taco with your tongue, where the outer edges of them try to curl in towards each other.  Breathe through that tongue shape and feel the cool air moving in and out.  And since this is a genetics thing, if your tongue can’t get into this position, you can create a little circle with your lips, as if you were sucking on a straw, and breathe in and out that way for the same effect.

Things to avoid when it’s hot outside:

Spicy foods.  Think: your favorite salsa or spicy curry.  Also, hold off on consuming things like ginger, garlic, and onions as they produce heat as well.  Save them for the winter and spring, when it’s cool and damp.

Alcohol.  As tempting as it might be to crack open a cold one, alcohol will add to the inner fire.

Salt.  Whether it’s a bag of chips or just for seasoning, limit the salt to just a bit until the weather cools down.  And you can see that, with just these three so far, the no-no’s would be snacking on chips and salsa and sipping a margarita. 

Fermented foods.  This includes yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and pickles.  They’ll do a sneak attack heat-up, and we don’t need that right now.

Spicy people.  Folks (like me) get edgy in the heat, so it might be a good idea to avoid them when they’re cranky until they literally chill out. 

In keeping with Ayurvedic principles, the things we’re avoiding now will all be fine when the weather cools off.  But while the heat is on, try these tips on for size as you’re sizzling and see how your mood goes from cranky to calm.