Summertime and Chinese MedicineJason Firmager
July seems to have reach so fast, since June 21st – the summer solstice, and longest day of the year. After a season of growth during spring and a gradual shift in balance, we have now entered the most yang phase of the year. We are now putting all our efforts in continuing that spurt, changing from a sprint to the marathon while also reaping the rewards of the summer season.
Here in the northern hemisphere the summer months of June, July and August are the time of light and energy. The days defy the clock with the sun here in London blazing brighter at 5pm than at noon. Blue skies are not a guarantee but when they appear, there are fewer delights of seeing this simple joy from nature.
We should take advantage of this time to eat light and fresh. Simple meals with good quality ingredients are the stars. Have tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, watercress and fish. It can be tempting to always cool down with cool treats: some beer, wine, cream with your strawberries, sorbets, (insert your favourite treat here) but don’t overindulge. However do listen to your body – unless it’s crying out for sugar, it’s probably okay to give in to the craving moderately. Most of you already know my opinion of cold food or drinks, over consumption of any food, especially cooling foods, can lead to indigestion and sluggishness but if you want that ice cold glass of lemonade, go for it. Summer is much more forgiving than any other season.
The uttermost yang phase of the year makes this the lightest period. As adults we don’t have the luxury of structure like school holidays, timetables and sport practice to tell us when a term begins or when there is a break. That freedom and independence also means we need a fiercer determination and self discipline to start or stop something.
Summer and its days of sunshine can sometimes feel like the only time there is a definite break in our day to day lives – we dress differently, act differently from the feel good factor of being warm and relaxed like a salamander laying on a sunny rock. Enjoy it! Take advantage of it and be in the present. This really is a time to allow yourself a momentary lull before September signals the rush towards the final quarter of the year.
Recharge your batteries even if you’re not on holiday by appreciating your surroundings. Take a step back and allow your body and mind some space to breathe. Make this the time to take action to form positive change in your life. Eat good food, have good conversations and be merry.
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