The summer season is a time of long, light, warm days, high energy, outdoor activities, gatherings and celebrations. This season brings us strawberries, melons, peaches, cherries, and other fresh seasonal treats, such as scented roses and sweet-peas. Nature is a hive of activity and the abundance of summer is definitely something to celebrate.
However, the high energy and activity of summer can make it difficult to focus on rest and self-care. You want to make the most of warm weather and longer days, but it’s also important to create time for lazy mornings and relaxed evenings.
The Benefits of Living Seasonally
As you may already know, our online wellbeing retreats and simple self-care techniques are inspired by and aligned with the seasons. Traditional Chinese Medicine also influences our approach. This ancient system illustrates the importance of following the natural rhythms and cycles of our planet to support balance in our bodies and minds.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has five seasons, dividing summer into two parts: early and late summer. Each phase has a distinct and different feel. Early in the season, the sun is hot and bright, and the produce is fresh and vital. In late summer, the light is softer and more golden, and the produce is ripe and succulent.
Each season correlates to one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) and has a dominant organ, colour, emotion and taste connected to it. Each season also supports, nourishes and prepares the body for the next season, creating a constant cycle of wellbeing.
You can read more about Traditional Chinese Medicine here.
Summer is associated with the fire element, the only element we can physically create, so it serves to remind us of our individual creativity. The organs associated with the fire element are the heart and the small intestine and the emotions connected to a happy heart are feelings of connection, joy and abundance.
When the heart and the small intestine are in balance, you will feel vibrant, allowing you to be calm and anchored. You’ll sleep well, your emotions will be balanced and your eyes clear. You will have a warm and steady passion for life and your relationships with others will have a smooth and measured flow.
If there is imbalance in your heart or fire element you may feel anxious, flighty and have trouble sleeping. You will lack joy, may have cold hands or feet, and have difficulty following through on projects. You might also suffer from night sweats, infections or overexcitement.
To counter this, here are a few simple wellbeing practices to feed your fire and help you maintain a steady heat this season…
· Observe your own internal fire, do you feel too hot or too cold? Are you anxious, excitable, over-stimulated, ungrounded or lacking in energy or joy?
· Connect with others, the fire element loves connection and enjoys nourishing conversations and laughter. The summer is a good time to attend gatherings and meet with friends and family. Remember, if you feel like you need to rest, listen to what your body needs and practise the art of saying ‘no’.
· Connect with yourself, give yourself permission to let go of all the tasks on your to-do list and create some some space in your busy schedule to slow down and enjoy doing nothing.
· Exercise in the morning, utilise your natural Yang energy in any way that feels good for you. You can find a simple sun salutation sequence here to help you wake up, energise and stretch.
· Adjust your summer sleep habits, generally, we need less sleep in the summer. We’re energised by the sun, wake early and go to bed later. However, it can be tricky to get a good, deep, restful night’s sleep when it’s lighter for longer and the sun rises earlier. Salt baths and bedtime yoga are a great way to counter-balance high energy, productive days. You could also invest in black-out blinds or an eye mask to protect from the early morning light and use ear plugs to block out the dawn chorus.
· Take some time to stop and observe your surroundings, thank Mother Nature for all her summer glory and celebrate the season by eating seasonal foods, spending time outdoors and enjoying the warm evenings.
· Drink plenty of water, take small sips to allow maximum absorption – this helps keep the energy of fire in balance.
· As always, find a few moments to breathe deeply.
Love the SOL team xx