4 TIPS FROM EASTERN MEDICINE TO HELP YOU TRANSITION FROM SPRING TO SUMMER
Have Your Healthiest & Safest Summer Yet
June 22 marks the first day of summer, but the transition from spring starts a little bit earlier. As the days get even warmer and longer, you can feel the changeover begin. But how do you make the most of this time of transition and change? We pulled together some Eastern medicine wisdom to give you 4 tips for transitioning from spring to summer in a safe, healthy, and fruitful way.
Understanding Seasonal Transitions
Before we talk about how to transition, let’s take a step back and understand what exactly is changing with the seasons, according to Eastern medicine.
Changing Seasons and TCM
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there’s something called the Five Element Theory. According to this theory, there are five elements that make up everything in the world–wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements correspond to lots of different things, from our organs to the seasons. Summer is related to the element of fire, as days get hotter and the sun gets brighter. As the season of fire, summer is supposed to be a time for movement and progression. And because of this hot, active energy, summer is also connected to yang energy.
To transition smoothly from spring to summer, TCM recommends keeping a close eye on your own internal Fire element. If you keep it balanced, you’ll be full of energy, movement, and growth. But if your inner Fire is unbalanced, you’ll see the effects in your energy levels and emotional state; you’ll probably have trouble sleeping and feel agitated or stressed.
TCM is all about balance and harmony with the people and things around us–including the seasons. So to feel your best, make sure to pay attention to this seasonal tradition and make the necessary adjustments in your life.
Transitioning to Summer With Ayurveda
In Ayurvedic medicine, each season corresponds to one of the three energy types, or doshas–kapha, pitta, or vata. The spring season starts to melt down the heavy, slow, sticky kapha dosha that builds up during the winter. But as the days get warmer, your fiery pitta dosha starts to accumulate. And once the summer arrives, your pitta dosha is the strongest.
According to Ayurvedic belief, we all have the 3 dosha inside of us at all times. They key to staying healthy and feeling good is keeping these dosha balanced as much as you can. So during the summer months, you don’t want to eat food or do activities that increase your pitta dosha, because it’s already strong from the summer season. Instead, you should try to balance that energy out by encouraging your kapha dosha and vata dosha.
Tips for Transitioning to Summer
Keeping in mind the teachings of TCM and Ayurveda, here are some tips and tricks to help you transition smoothly from spring to summer.
Adjust Your Schedule
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine body clock, every day is divided up into 2 12 hour segments. Throughout the day, Qi energy flows through our bodies, powering up different organs and areas depending on the time of day. The key to staying energized and emotionally balanced is making the most of this internal clock.
But as the seasons change, our clocks start to adjust, too. To stay healthy, you have to keep your body in harmony with the natural world, so it’s a good idea to adjust your schedule to the new season.
In the summer, the sun rises earlier, sets later, and is at its most intense in the middle of the day. To stay in tune with these natural changes, try shifting your schedule as we transition to summer. That means waking up earlier in the morning to make the most of the sunlight and going to bed a little bit later at night. To make sure you get enough rest, try to incorporate a nap or meditation break in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest and hottest. Keeping your body’s clock in tune with the natural world will bring you balance and harmony, according to TCM.
With the days getting warmer, you probably start to feel yourself craving less comfort food and more fresh fruit and veggies. That’s your body telling you to balance out the warm fire of the summer season with cooling, bright food.
According to TCM, food has yin energy, yang energy, or a mix of both. Depending on these energy combinations, food has 5 natures: warm, hot, cooling, cold, or neutral. To balance the hot yang energy of summer, it’s a good idea to incorporate more cooling, yin-filled foods into your diet as the seasons start to change.
In general, veggies tend to be cooling, along with seafood and fruit. To make the most of the changeover to summer, try eating more of these foods:
- Bok choy
- Summer squash
But the type of food you eat isn’t the only important thing. According to Ayurveda, how you prepare the food is also crucial. As the days get hotter, our digestive fires start to get lower to balance out that heat. That means it becomes a little harder for our bodies to digest things in the summer. To make things easier for your digestive system, make sure to cook your cooling foods so that you can absorb the nutrients more easily.
Don’t Spill The Tea
The hot days of summer are a welcome change from the cold, dark winter, but all that heat means you’re going to need some extra hydration to keep you cool. Both TCM and Ayurveda recommend adding herbal teas to your day to keep you hydrated and healthy. In TCM,tThese are consumed as warm teas, even in summer. (You don’t want to ice your Spleen)
There’s lots of different herbal teas to try in the summer, including:
- Green tea like Sencha or Matcha
- Peppermint tea
- White tea like Ceylon White and Silver Needle
- Chrysanthemum tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Rose tea
As the days get longer, you probably start to feel yourself getting more energy. The warm sun and fresh air makes you want to get outside and get moving.
Well, in TCM, summer is also associated with the heart organ. That means giving your ticker a little TLC can make a big difference in how you feel. So when you’re feeling energized and want to get in a workout, focus on cardio to make your heart stronger and promote circulation. Go for a run in your neighborhood, take a spin around the park on your bike, or try jumping rope if you’re low on space.
As spring turns into summer, keep an eye on how you’re feeling and find ways to stay in tune with the natural changes of the seasons. According to both TCM and Ayurveda, staying in harmony with the natural world is the key to health and happiness. So use these tips to transition smoothly into summer and see just how great you’ll feel!