In TCM, every season is associated with an element: Fire, wood, earth, metal and water. Summer is related to the fire element which is full of yang energy, representing high activity. Summer is the best time for activities and movement and is the time of the year that we are the most active and assertive.
The organs that correlate with summer according to TCM are the heart and small intestine. When the fire element within the body is properly balanced, the heart will be circulating blood and will aid in the function of the beginning part of the small intestine. Concerning emotions, a balanced fire element will show a healthy amount of self confidence, subtle sensitivity as well as a powerful connection between the heart and the mind.
Keeping your fire element balanced during the summer season is no easy task. It can be common to get burned out by the end of the season because of an excess of outdoor activities, intense exercise, vacations and social outings. However with a few lifestyle changes, you can effectively balance your fire element:
Adjust Your Sleep:
The days are longer in the summer, and so our bodies want to naturally wake up at earlier hours. Consider waking up earlier with the sun and going to sleep later while taking a small “siesta” nap in the middle part of the day. This will ensure your body is in sync with the natural rhythms of the earth.
Stick To Your Priorities:
It’s so easy to get distracted during the summer, there’s just always so much going on. In order to keep your fire in order, make a list of your priorities at the beginning of summer so you can refer to it when you feel yourself going off kilter. If you really want to try water polo, this summer, be sure to write that down. If spending time with your family is important, write that down as well. This is a good way to stay grounded and committed to what you truly want to do throughout the summer months.
Practice Breathing While Exercising:
Exercising outside in the hot sun can result in over exertion and burn out. By balancing your exercise regimen with soft exercises like yin yoga is a great way to control that fire. By being mindful of your breath while exercising, you will not only maximize your performance but you will recover more quickly afterward.
This may be the most important aspect of summer wellness. Most people assume they are hydrated enough with only a single waterbottle’s worth of water. In truth you need much more than that in order to maintain your body’s function. If you live in a hotter climate, it’s especially important because dehydration can be a real danger. Water not only keeps your cells happy, but it helps your energy levels and aids in digestion. Try coconut water or watermelon juice for an extra boost of electrolytes and for properly cooling and cleansing the body’s system.
If you are sensing burnout or overwhelm during the summer months, it may be worth it to try an alternative therapy such as massage or maybe make a visit to an acupuncture clinic in order to give yourself some extra energy and balance. These therapies correlate with a lot of TCM principles and will aid in balancing the body and mind to its optimal level of functioning.