20 Ways to Stay Warm Against Summer Office Air Conditioning
Don't let your coworkers' comfort be your discomfort.
If you’ve spend all winter looking forward to the heat of summer, only to find yourself freezing all day in an office, you’re not alone. It turns out that countless companies still determine how to set the thermostat based on a formula devised in the ’60s that is supposed to keep a 154-pound 40-year-old man, dressed in a wool suit, comfortable. When you consider that many people are wearing significantly less than a three-piece suit to the office these days and that, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change, women are more comfortable at a temperature approximately 4.5 degrees warmer than one that keeps men comfortable, it’s no wonder so many people are feeling a chill in their workplaces, even on the summer’s warmest days.
Still, just because you’re biologically destined to feel cold doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to that fate and spend all summer shivering. With these easy ways to fight back against the arctic blast of your office AC, you’ll be feeling more comfortable in no time. And to improve your life beyond the walls of your workplace, check out these 20 Tips for a Less Sweaty Summer.
Eat One Apple a Day
One way to increase your tolerance to cold is to increase or activate brown fat in your body. Brown fat is different from the white fat you probably think of when you think of fatty tissue, and it helps burn calories and get rid of white fat. But that’s not all it’s good for: it can also increase your tolerance for cold. So, if you’re cold in the office, grab an apple: the ursolic acid found in apple peels can increase brown fat, thus keeping you warmer, according to research conducted at the University of Iowa. And for more healthy eating tips, check out the 40 Best Heart Foods to Eat After 40.
Power Down Early
A study published in the Journal of Pineal Research found that increasing melatonin in rats led to the browning of white fat. Rather than take a supplement, one easy way to increase your melatonin is to avoid nighttime exposure to blue light from screens, so powering down early might ultimately make you feel warmer in the office, too. For advice on effortlessly nodding off this season, learn the 40 Best Tips for a Better Sleep on Summer Nights.
Have a Big Lunch
You might be in full-on summer light meal mode, but that’s not going to do you much good in the ice cavern that is your place of employment. A big meal that’s high in protein and fat (i.e., exactly what you don’t usually want to eat on a hot summer day) will give your body a lot of digestive work to do, which can raise your core temperature and make you feel warmer.
Try Ginger Tea
Ginger is known for its thermogenic character, which means it boosts your metabolism and raises your body temperature. So, when you’re feeling a chill, try a cup of hot ginger tea for a double whammy of warmth. And, to discover more ways ginger is good for you, check out the 30 Best Foods for Maximizing Your Energy Levels.
Breathe the Breath of Fire
In yoga, there is a breathing practice, or pranayama, called the breath of fire. As the name suggests, this is a great way to get some heat going in your body. The breath is short, powerful exhales and passive inhales that are no deeper than little sniffles. If you want to warm up at your desk without any outside help, this is a great choice for you. And for more ways to incorporate yoga into your life, learn these 10 Ways to Focus Better During Meditation.
Plead Your Case
Before you resign yourself to a summer spent shivering in a corporate ice box, consider making a well-informed argument in favor of cranking up the thermostat. Let your boss know that they can save up to 10 percent on their electricity bill by turning the thermostat up 7 degrees, according to the Department of Energy. The worst thing they can say is no.
Get Some Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a great supplement to take in the summer months. In addition to making your body better able to tolerate heat, it also helps your body tolerate cold better, according to research done at the University of Alabama. And for more ways to improve your health, discover these 20 Easy Health Hacks That Will Make You Feel Better Every Day.
Have Your Thyroid Checked
It might be cold in your office, but if you’re the only person who’s absolutely freezing, you might want to get your thyroid checked. Being cold all the time is a symptom of hypothyroidism, a condition that, if left untreated, can cause pain, infertility, weakness, depression, and weight gain. And if you’re interested in maximizing the function of this essential gland, brush up on the 20 Best Foods for Your Thyroid.
Up Your Melatonin With Food
Another way to increase your melatonin (and hence your brown fat) is to eat foods that boost melatonin production, like pineapple, almonds, tomatoes, oranges, and barley. And for more information on the power of melatonin, check out these 20 Doctor-Approved Ways to Get a Full Night’s Sleep.
Decorate With Warm Colors
Warm colors can actually make a person feel warm. So, while you may not be able to redecorate your entire floor, you can still spruce up your office or cubicle with reds, oranges, and yellows to make yourself feel a little less chilly.
Invest in USB-Powered Gloves
If icy cold hands are making it hard for you to type, invest in a pair of USB-powered fingerless gloves or hand warmers. Your hands will be warm, and you’ll still be able to get your work done. If you, for some reason, don’t want your hands to look like two pieces of cartoon toast, there are plenty of other options on the market, as well.
Heat Your Chair
For something a little less conspicuous, you can also get a USB-powered chair warmer and sit on it all day. You’ll be warmer, and no one will be the wiser.
Keep Your Hot Drinks Hot
A steady stream of warm beverages will keep your core temperature up all day, so keep those hot drinks hot with a mug warmer. As an added bonus, stick to caffeine-free drinks, and you can leave worked hydrated enough to face the heat.
Try a Heated Mouse
Hide your heating accessories in plain sight with a heated mouse. One of these little guys can keep your hands warm while you work without the conspicuousness of bundling up in a parka indoors.
Take the Stairs
Take a break from your office to warm up by walking up and down a few flights of stairs. Stairwells in big office buildings aren’t nearly as cold as the offices themselves, and the exercise will get your core temperature up, too.
Use a Hand Warmer
A rechargeable hand warmer can warm more than your hands. You can keep it on your lap, or against your back on your chair to stay warm in a world where nobody cares if office workers are freezing.
Stash Some Slippers
A lot of people change from sneakers or boots to heels when they get to work in the colder months. During the summer, you can switch from sandals to slippers, at least while your feet are under your desk. Considering that our extremities are among the biggest sources of body heat loss, this simple trick can help make you more comfortable in no time.
Rock a Pashmina
Bring a pashmina to work and leave it there for the summer. It’s just a step down from a blanket, in terms of size, but it’s an acceptable fashion choice, and not so bulky that it can’t live on the back of your chair all season. Pick one in a warm color for added heat.
Buy a Space Heater
When all else fails, bring out the big guns, or in this case small guns. Space heaters aren’t the big clunky fire hazards they used to be, so now you can keep warm with a little heater that’s smaller than a desktop speaker.
Ask Maintenance for Help
There’s a chance that, even if you can’t do anything about the thermostat, you can do something about your specific space. Check to see if you’re sitting directly under or next to a vent. If so, it might be possible to have maintenance close the vent partially or even completely, turning your office from a frigid tundra to somewhere you can actually get your work done. And once you’ve figured out how to stay warm, check out 20 Genius Ways to Make Work More Fun.
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