Here are some traditional Chinese medicine inspired tips to be happy and healthy all summer long. The driving principles are awareness and balance. Happy Summer!
- Be active
By being active in the summer, you are complementing the extra Yang energy that is available this time of year. Exercise keeps blood and oxygen circulating so that nutrients are more able to nourish the body. Since summer is associated with the heart and the fire element, this is a perfect time to pay attention to start or boost your exercise.
- Be social
Characteristics of the fire element include joy, communication, and connection. Hanging out with friends or engaging with strangers is an excellent way to tap into these characteristics. Nurturing these qualities not only makes summer more fun, but also eases the transition to introspective autumn and winter.
Every element has an emotion and its expression. Fire’s emotion is joy and its expression is laughter. So tell the jokes, laugh at other’s jokes, and fuel your fire.
- Enjoy “cool” foods
Summer is the one time of year where it is OK to cool down foods. It’s not a license to chug ice cold water all day or eat raw salad at every meal, but cooler foods, such as raw fruits and veggies, are better tolerated in the summer.
- Hang out near water
All elements in TCM keep each other in balance, and none so apparent than water balancing fire. Being physically near water in the summer is grounding and reminds us of the interconnectedness of life.
With more daylight and social events, sometimes sleep is not a priority in the summer. But sleep is a function of the heart (the organ system of summer), and keeping a regular sleep schedule helps prevent imbalance in the heart.