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 and the Five Elements Theory also influence our approach. This ancient system encourages us to follow the natural seasons, rhythms and cycles of our planet to support balance in our bodies and minds.
Each season corresponds with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) and supports, nourishes and prepares the body for the next season, creating a constant cycle of wellbeing.
Chinese Five Elements Theory follows a five season cycle, late summer is a short season and our retreat will be available next week until the Autumn equinox. These golden months see fire’s exuberant summer gifts give way to earth’s natural abundance of crops to harvest, tree fruits to pick, and pumpkins to make pies with!
Today, SOL expert Florence Neville returns to the blog to share advice and ideas that will support and nourish you this season…
Welcoming Late Summer
The earth element is one of nurture, grounding, abundance and nourishment. Its energy correlates with a time of harvesting crops, building up our food stores and preparing our homes to make sure our nearest and dearest are fed and warm during the approaching colder months.
Earth energy describes mothering in the traditional sense. However, in the context of the Chinese Five Elements, the concept of mothering is not limited to tending for children but also relates to treating ourselves with love and care. (Please note, I use the term ‘mothering’ here to mean looking after and nurturing others and ourselves, regardless of gender or parental status.)
At State of Liberty, we know practicing self-nurture or self-care is often at the bottom of our to-do lists. This has certainly been a common issue for our retreat participants!
Unfortunately, neglecting to honour and look after our ‘earth energy’ can deplete our physical vitality and strength. We might find it difficult to focus, experience digestion issues and crave sugar to raise our low energy levels. But when we rely on caffeine and biscuits to stay awake, we tend to become irritable and stressed and we may find ourselves snapping at the very people we are trying to care for!
When we become too stressed to keep up with our responsibilities, we become more likely to withdraw and retreat using less helpful habits such as social media, alcohol or TV. Eventually, we become too exhausted to properly love and cherish those who need us most.
How to Mother Yourself
Clearly, learning to mother ourselves works out better for everyone! If you’re not sure what this might look like for you, try listing the ways you nurture and care for your loved ones on a piece of paper. Use each of these as a prompt for ways to mother yourself. This list can become a blueprint for honouring your earth element this season.
For example, if you like to feed your nearest and dearest with wholesome, nourishing food, don’t forget to sit down with them and savour those meals together. If you create a soothing environment for little ones each evening before bed, then it’s important to do the same for yourself.
Perhaps you treat your loved ones to a duvet day and extra TLC when they’re under the weather. If so, remember to listen to your body and watch for signs that you yourself need to switch your phone off, make a hot herbal tea, and retreat to the sofa for an afternoon.
Here are some more simple practices you can adopt to strengthen your elemental earth energy and make the most of late summer…
Here’s where you’ll need a willing family member, friend or pet! Touch is a fundamental human requirement that can simultaneously benefit you and other members of your household, whether you’re snuggling in front of the fire, holding hands while walking, giving a welcoming hug or rubbing your dog’s belly!
See how many of the above you can rack up over the course of a day or work on developing a regular, loving self-care practice such as Pen’s essential oil massage.
I walk barefoot whenever I can, weather and terrain notwithstanding! Any stretch of grass, sand or pebble and my shoes get kicked off immediately. Kids tend to do this naturally, but most adults have lost this health-boosting habit.
Walking barefoot helps me to develop and retain strong feet, to provide sensory stimulation and to ground myself. Studies show that regular grounding or earthing reduces stress and inflammation and improves sleep.
After a summer spent largely outdoors, this is a good time to spend a little time getting your home ready for the colder part of the year. You might like to fill your store cupboards with delicious preserves, cover your sofa with plump cushions and stock up on golden beeswax candles.
Meanwhile, kids often love to create beautiful displays with sustainably foraged wildflowers, pinecones and pebbles. Teenagers can be persuaded to bake low-sugar, seasonal cakes for the family at the weekends.
We will be talking more specifically about nourishment in late summer over the coming weeks, but it’s worth remembering that foods reaching full ripeness at this time often help to stabilise our energy levels and improve our digestion.
Think juicy plums and pears, rounded pumpkins, and golden corn. Bake with ground nuts, roast sweet potatoes until they caramelise and make blackberry jam to warm your soul when the days get colder and darker. Our Late Summer Retreat will feature many of these delicious seasonal foods.
Love Lizzie, Florence and the SOL team x