July is in full swing and with it has come the hot and humid Minnesota air of summer. I love this time of year, because it's such an extreme contrast compared to the frigid below zero temps of January. In years where we don't really have a hot summer, it makes the freezing winter seem harder to bear. Granted, days upon days and weeks upon weeks of very hot and very humid is not my favorite, but I'll take at least a bit of it!
Now, in the winter, we like to keep our house on the cooler side...with the thermostat rarely reaching above 65 degrees. Our thought on this is that you can always put on an extra layer to keep warm and your body really does adjust to it over time. It also makes the transition from inside to out much easier as it's comfortable to keep the under layers on in the house, instead of being too hot inside and too cold out.
In the summer we have a similar philosophy. In our little house we do not have much in the way of air conditioning, except a rather small window unit that currently sits in one of our living room windows. Living in a society where almost everything is cooled with central air, it's difficult for some to imagine a home without air conditioning, but it wasn't that long ago when having air conditioning was quite the luxury! Since it's become such a standard element in our society, in my opinion, we've gone to the extreme in using it. We now walk into buildings in the middle of summer and find ourselves shivering because it's too cold, or we have to bring sweaters to work in order to comfortably sit at our desks all day. For many they walk out of their air conditioned houses, climb into an air conditioned car, sit in an air conditioned office all day, just to go home and repeat it all again--hoping they'll get just a few minutes out in the sun and fresh air during lunch or in the evening.
For me, that doesn't work. We get these few short months of warm weather, weather that's perfect enough to spend the entire day outside, yet our society often prefers its perfectly controlled climate set at 70 degrees all year round. It doesn't work for me because I want to fully soak up summer while it's here so that I'm ready for the cool down of fall and the coziness of winter when they come. Now, don't get me wrong, A/C has it's place. I understand that we need to keep our work places workable and it's much easier to sleep when you're not drenched in sweat. I get it. However, I wish we could find that happy medium as a society where we could cool when needed, but let the fresh air in order to enjoy summer the rest of the time.
The good news is that we can make those choices in our homes. Shut the air off! Open the windows! Yes, 80, even 90, is warm during the day, but goodness, 60's feel so good at night! If it's hot in the house, wear as few clothes as possible and enjoy the temporary heat of summer. Let your body sweat! It's good for you. And more importantly, let the warm temps inside send you outside. We find that when our house is warm, it's usually more comfortable outside, which means we spend hours of our day in the yard and on the deck. We eat outside, work outside, relax outside. It's wonderful!
So, my challenge for you today is to think about the amount of air conditioning you use on a daily basis and ask yourself whether you really need it. What would happen if you turned the thermostat up just a bit or even off for a bit to simply enjoy the heat of summer? Try it for a few days, for a few weeks! I think you may be surprised how your body can acclimate if you allow it to and I think you'll find that summer won't slip away as quickly as it usually seems to. Give it a chance. Open those windows!!