Summer can be a challenge if you're one of those people (like me) who is much more comfortable being cold than being hot. Frozen toes, chattery teeth and a chilly nose are, for me, much more bearable than the feeling of sweat running down my back when I'm not even moving. So in honor of the first day of summer, and the way-too-hot day most of the East Coast is having, here are the ways I get through the icky warm days that lie ahead. I'll be doing all these — and hanging in my basement where it's always naturally cool.

Carry cold water: Seems obvious, but it can really make the difference between Ridiculously Hot to Moderately Hellish. Cold water, with or without ice cubes (wrap your reusable water bottle in a towel if you want to keep everything condensation-free), taken at intervals will keep you hydrated and comfortable. You can also hold the cold container against your pulse points (neck, wrists and ankles) to cool your blood down a bit.

Wear loose clothing: Sundresses, loose linen pants, culottes and seersucker shorts were invented for a reason. Lightweight clothing made from natural fabrics that leaves room between your skin and the pants, shirt or skirt keeps air moving and allows the body's natural cooling system to work effectively. Save your snug, tailored outfits for the fall and winter. If you have to wear less casual clothing to the office or an event, consider wearing something loose (like a tunic dress) and cinching it with a belt once you arrive to your destination (guys can leave a shirt untucked and belt loosened while in transit to keep cooler).

Don a (lightweight, breathable) hat: Besides keeping the sun off your face and neck — which will automatically keep your skin cooler — being under a hat gives the perception of being in a more relaxed, less hot space, since your eyes are shaded.

Use an umbrella: Keeping on the shady side of the street is an obvious technique to keep cooler, but what if there isn't a shady spot to be found? A light-colored umbrella or parasol will keep the rays off and create a shady area that friends will want to join you under.

Good luck keeping cool! What are your favorite ways to keep your temperature down in the heat?

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Simple ways to keep cool in the heat
Even if there's no A/C in sight, you can use these tips to keep cool on hot summer days.