A TCM Practitioner’s Guide to Summer

Summer is here and it’s a time to relax, explore, and enjoy. It almost feels like time slows down a bit, or maybe it’s just our desire to slow down… I hope you have a fantastic summer.

I’ve put together some tips and recommendations for body, mind, and soul, so you can make the most of the season.

1) Get outside

Soak up the sun and the moon – research shows that if you stay away from artificial light for a week, your inner clock is reset. Go camping and sleep under the stars (or in a tent ) and stay away from digital screens. It will do wonders for your mental wellness and natural rhythm. (If you have allergies that keep you inside, there are some Chinese herbs that can help, and so can acupuncture!)

2) Sleep Talking about sleep – catch some extra zzzz’s this summer. Rather than staying up late and sleeping in, go to bed early and get up at your regular time. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and you’ll feel refreshed and ready for your day.

3) Change up your routine Do you think playing is just for kids? Think again! Play is an important part of refreshing your creativity and renewing your energy, and summer is the perfect time to try something new. What will you try?

4) Eat cooling foods Cool down with watermelon, cucumber, and berries, rather than with ice water. Those cooling foods will also give you some extra hydration and won’t be hard on your digestive system.

5) Reconnect Summer is a great time to reconnect with old friends or with yourself. Call someone you’ve been meaning to call for a while, or take some much needed time for yourself. Leave your phone at home and be present with each other and with yourself!

6) Be bored Talking about phones – is your phone something you grab when you’re bored? I challenge you to unplug for a day and let yourself be bored. Embrace the thoughts that come into your mind and sit with them for a while. Take a nap, stare at the ceiling, pour yourself a bath (doesn’t really sound that boring, does it?).

7) Be active There are many ways to add some active time to your day: take the bike instead of the car, take the stairs instead on an elevator, cut down your screen time by 30 minutes a day and go for a walk instead. You know you’ll have some extra ice cream this summer, so add a bit of daily activity as well.

8) Step outside your comfort zone You don’t have to go crazy and jump into the unknown, but expanding your comfort zone just a little bit might give you the confidence you need to tackle the bigger steps down the road. Start small and work your way up from there. Changes don’t have to be huge to be meaningful!

9) Be grateful Even the best summer has bad days, and that’s ok! It can’t be sunshine all the time – if it never rains, you’ll never see a rainbow. There is something to make every bad day better though – and that’s being grateful. I challenge you to write down three things you’re grateful for every day, and I bet you would be able to come up with a lot more than three things.

10) Meditate Do you have a meditation practise? You don’t have to settle and force yourself to practise something you’re not comfortable with – the perfect practise is out there for everyone, as this great article in MindBodyGreen shows.

Enjoy your summer ~ and contact me if you have any questions about how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can support you in holistic wellness for body, mind, and soul.