Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) associates each season with one of the elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Not surprisingly, summer is associated with the fire element. Fire represents maximum activity. In nature, everything is at its peak growth. Our energy is at its most active. This is the time of year with the most yang energy, which is all about excitement and assertiveness.
Summer is also associated with the heart and small intestine. When fire is in balance, the heart effectively circulates blood and ensures that the beginning of the digestive process in the small intestine is working properly. Emotionally, a balanced fire element exhibits confident self-expression, gentle sensitivity, and a strong heart and mind connection.
Summer is the time when our fire and yang energies are most likely to be in balance because of what is happening around us in nature. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to overextend ourselves, get overheated, and burn ourselves out energetically by September. On top of our day to day activities, summer can be extremely busy, full of outdoor activities, vacations, and social commitments.
Here are 4 tips to maintain balance in your fire element this Summer.
- Adjust your sleep schedule. Realigning your sleep schedule for the season you’re in will help you have the most energy throughout the day. During the summer, take advantage of the long days by getting up earlier and going to bed later. Take a rest in the middle, hottest part of the day.
- Be aware of your priorities. Write down your top four priorities for the summer at the beginning of the season. This way, you can come back to them throughout the season as you find yourself being pulled in different directions. Whether your priorities involve catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, spending time with your kids, taking a cooking class, or taking some time to yourself, it doesn’t matter. Mindfully choosing four priorities will help you stay grounded throughout all the summer activity.
- Balance your exercise with breath. Summer is the highest energy time of year. This includes moving your body. TCM recommends getting lots of exercise during this time of year. Just remember to include some slower, more mindful movements to stay healthy and strong along with running, hiking, biking, swimming, or whatever your activity of choice is. Practicing yoga or choosing to meditate in stillness outside can be great for getting in tune with what our body needs, as well as cultivating mindfulness in your other activities.
- Stay hydrated. Water is the opposing element to fire. In order to stay balanced during summer you have to address water’s implications as well. It’s essential to drink plenty of water every day. Staying hydrated keeps your energy up, assists digestion, and helps keep you from getting constipated. TCM also recommends watermelon juice to cool the body and cleanse the system.
If summer seems to be wearing you out, book an acupuncture appointment today for your seasonal tuneup.