Keep your cool working from home
by Sharon Higa | June 21, 2022
Aside from seeing my colleagues, what I miss most about going into the office is … the air conditioning. Don’t get me wrong, working from home has some advantages like wearing yoga pants and tees to my “office,” but during the hot dog days of summer all I want is that chilly blast to cool my overheated body.
So what’s a person to do to stay cool and manage electricity use while working from home? Hawaiian Electric offers a number of energy-saving tips, which you can find in its online energy saving toolkit, but here are some of my “unofficial” ideas that also just might help you beat the summer heat:
Run a diffuser with peppermint and lemon essential oils while opening windows to let in the trade winds. Peppermint has a cooling effect when it touches skin while lemon dissipates odors seeping in from the outside. Both oils leave your home smelling clean and uplift your spirits.
CAUTION: Don’t get essential oils in your eyes and be mindful of household members who may not like the scents.
BONUS: Peppermint oil repels ants!
Make use of all those insulated flasks you get at Christmas and birthdays by filling them up with water (and ice) to leave around your desk, so you don’t have to keep opening the refrigerator. Whether you prefer icy cold, room temperature or sparkling water, just stay hydrated.
CAUTION: Iced water can sometimes give you a brain-freeze headache.
BONUS: Lemon slices or fresh berries add flavor to water and boost immunity-fighting vitamin C.
Did you ever notice how your electronic devices generate heat? If you can, charge your mobile phones, laptop, tablets and Kindle devices in a separate room. Remember to turn on the ringer for the phone so you know when someone is calling.
CAUTION: Do remember to unplug chargers when not in use to save energy.
BONUS: Powering off your computer at the end of the workday saves energy and can mentally distance you from your job.
If you’ve ever experienced a lazy feeling after gorging on a loco moco with mac salad and rice, then you know … you have just entered the “kanak attack” zone. Instead, eating lighter meals takes advantage of summer’s bounty and is easier on your digestion, which means your body doesn’t have to work so hard to stay cool.
CAUTION: You shouldn’t give up your favorite foods but consider eating heavier meals earlier in the day when it’s cooler.
BONUS: Meal prep in the cooler evening hours so you can make quick meals during the day without too much cooking over a hot stove, for a cooler home.
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes as it allows in more air flow. My current favorite is a light-weight billowy cotton shift that’s loose, comfortable and takes almost no time to hang dry.
CAUTION: Don’t spend more money on a new wardrobe, just work with what you have or do a clothes swap with friends.
BONUS: If you haven’t stained or heavily sweated in your outfit, wear it again before doing laundry to save water and energy. No one has to know because you’re working from home, wink.
Get outdoors! While it may seem counterintuitive to work up a sweat when you’re trying to stay cool, a little exercise such as a brisk early morning walk or a refreshing dip in the ocean, may be just what your body needs. Strenuous exercises, however, should be avoided during the hottest parts of the day.
CAUTION: Wear moisture-wick fabrics, ballcap or hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and carry a filled reusable water bottle when heading outdoors in the summer heat.
BONUS: Many outdoor activities cost little to no money, require less clothing, and gets you a healthy dose of antioxidant rich vitamin D from the sun.
Visit our Power to Change webpage and find more ways you can save money, energy and protect our planet.
Sharon Higa is a senior communications consultant at Hawaiian Electric Company.