I wanted to breath new life into an old Facebook post on this topic, so for this Throwback Thursday, here is an updated repost!
Now that the summer months are upon us, the heat is on! Today marks the first official day of summer, known as the Summer Solstice, when the earth's rotational axis is most inclined toward the sun, resulting in the longest day of the year.
In Chinese Medicine, the summer is associated with the Fire element and our Heart, allowing us greater access to our active, creative energy. The days are longer, gardens are blooming, and the sun is shining, which are the perfect conditions for outdoor activities, social gatherings, and enjoying the abundance of nature.
With the increase in joyful, active summer festivities, it's possible to become out of balance, experiencing issues such as sleep problems, anger/anxiety, restlessness, skin problems, heart palpitations, etc.
To avoid health challenges, here are 5 tips for staying cool and comfortable during the hot summer months:
1) Balance lively summer activities with relaxation. Set aside some time each day to relax and restore. Walk barefoot in the grass, take a nap in a hammock, catch up on some fun reading while sipping a glass of iced tea, relax by the pool, etc.
2) Drink plenty of water! Try to avoid ice cold beverages when possible (cold drinks can cause sluggish digestion). Mint tea and lemon water are great options for staying cool and hydrated.
3) Move your body and get your heart going! It's important to keep blood and energy moving during the active months to avoid stagnation. Find ways of getting exercise that feel good and don't deplete the body. Swimming is a great activity, since it is active, but also cooling. Go on a summer hike, play a round of tennis, go to the park and toss around a frisbee, etc.
4) Eat cooling foods. Foods such as cucumber, mint, and fresh fruits/vegetables that are in season help keep the body cool, nourished, and happy. Try to eat extra bitter greens such as kale, spinach, and swiss chard. Avoid cold foods, heavy foods, too much sugar, and overeating. If you must indulge in an ice cream or cold drink, try having some ginger tea afterward to help warm the digestive system.
5) Take time to listen to your inner voice. The Heart in Chinese Medicine is associated with our inner knowing, connecting us to a deeper level of understanding of the world. Set aside time to acknowledge your sense of intuition. Are you doing what feels good in life? If not, now is a great time to make changes.