The new growth and reviving energy of spring are now exploding into summer vibrance and abundance. Whether you thrive in the heat or want to melt away, self-care is essential this time of year! At Calm San Diego, we love flowing with the seasons by shifting our food intake and habits to reflect those of the season we’re in. This helps maintain balance in the body, and we’re going to show you ways to help your body thrive this summer season. (Our quick summer guide is at the bottom of this post!)

Traditional Chinese Medicine: The Summer Season

In TCM, summer’s Fire element is linked to the heart and small intestine. The heart governs emotional health, while the small intestine aids in digestion. Balanced Fire energy promotes joy, proper blood circulation, and nutrient absorption. Imbalances can lead to restlessness, anxiety, and digestive issues. Focusing on these organs during summer can help maintain emotional and physical harmony.

Fun Ways to Practice Self-Care This Summer

Why is it so easy to take care of others but so hard to prioritize ourselves? We constantly shower our friends and family with love and kindness but often forget about self-care. This summer, let’s get in the habit of taking care of ourselves because our mental health and wellness depend on it.

Why Self-Care is Essential

Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a vital part of daily life. It includes activities that help you feel your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. Regular self-care can significantly improve your mental health and overall well-being.

The Impact of Neglecting Self-Care

Ignoring self-care can lead to fatigue, burnout, anxiety, and other severe issues like depression. Consequences of neglecting self-care include:

  • Fatigue
  • Less patience
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Strain in relationships
  • Errors at work
  • Lack of motivation
  • Physical symptoms like headaches and chronic pain

The Calm Summer Guide to Self-Care

1. Sync Up Your Sleep

Aligning your sleep schedule with seasonal changes will help you have the most energy throughout your day. In the summer, take advantage of the long days by rising early, resting in the afternoon, and staying up later. This practice will help keep balance within your circadian rhythm by rising and resting with the sun’s cycle, and you can get the benefits of being in the sunshine before the UV is too high!

2. Eat Seasonally

In these hotter days, we look to foods that have cooling properties, are nutrient-dense, brightly colored, and hydrating to offset the summer heat. This is the perfect time to add more raw foods to our diet, since they are so cooling to the body. Some great options include:

  • Apricots, bananas, apples
  • Greens like kale, bok choy, collard greens
  • Celery, cantaloupe, watermelon
  • Strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruits
  • Peaches, cucumber, zucchini
  • Asparagus, water chestnut, corn, snow peas
  • Herbs like mint and parsley

3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

How do you keep a fire from growing too much? Adding water! This same principle applies to maintaining balance in the summer heat. Dehydration often results from electrolyte and mineral depletion rather than just lack of water. Try drinking coconut water on hot days or adding a pinch of sea salt to your water to replenish those electrolytes. TCM also recommends watermelon juice for cooling the body and cleansing the system.

4. Herbal Teas and Essential Oils

Maintaining balance is all about clearing excess heat, nourishing fluid balance in the body, and replenishing depletion! The color of summer is red, and herbal iced teas that are red are very beneficial, especially for heart health. Hibiscus and rooibos are two great options!

Hot weather calls for cooling oils! Peppermint and geranium are excellent summer pals. For Late Summer, we recommend patchouli to help any symptoms of dampness. Grapefruit is uplifting to help relieve worry, and neroli helps to “tonify” the spleen to relieve worry and ease anxiety, as well as calm a nervous stomach!

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture quickly and effectively invites change and balance in our bodies. It’s our number one go-to for self-care, especially with regards to seasonal changes. Points to balance the “fire element” and boost the health of its corresponding organ pair, the Heart and Small Intestine, become essential during these steamy summer days. Acupuncture can support the healthy circulation, nervous system regulation and relieve symptoms of anxiety, worry, or nervousness.

6. Engage Your Senses

Summer comes with an abundance of colors, sounds, and smells all begging to be experienced! We recommend:

  • Feeling the grass! Go outside barefoot and feel the grass under your feet.
  • Listening to the sounds of nature. The sounds of birds and crickets in the early morning, the ebb and flow of the ocean at the beach.
  • Smelling the flowers! Practice slowing down and breathing in the scents of the season.
  • Tasting fresh fruits and vegetables! Summer fruits are so brightly flavored.

7. Exercise

Heart health and exercise go together like summer and watermelon! Try to get your cardio rate elevated and build a sweat to help cleanse toxins from the body. Exercise is always relative to the individual—don’t push yourself too hard! If upping your cardio rate begins with walking, then walk daily—fast enough to break a sweat. If running is more your jam, try to fit it into your morning or later in the day so that you are not pushing yourself while the sun is at its peak.

Enjoy Life and Fill Your Cup

The hot and sunny days of summer invite the Fire in us to come out and play, to experience joy and laughter! Do things that will fill up your cup and give you a happy heart! Spending time with friends and family, going to the beach, and engaging with community events are all great ways to nourish the social aspect of summer and replenish our joy!

Bonus Tips for Busy Parents: Create a Summer Schedule

With kids out of school and summer activities in full swing, it’s easy for parents to feel overwhelmed. Creating a summer schedule can help manage the chaos and ensure everyone gets the care they need.

Self-Care Tips for Parents:

  • Create a Flexible Routine: Design a daily or weekly schedule that includes time for kids’ activities, family time, and personal self-care. This structure helps children know what to expect and gives you designated time for your own self-care.
  • Incorporate Quiet Time: Schedule a daily quiet time where everyone in the household engages in a calm activity, such as reading, drawing, or meditating.
  • Get the Kids Involved: Let your children help plan the schedule to make them more cooperative and excited about the routine.
  • Plan Ahead for Meals: Prepare meals and snacks in advance to save time and reduce stress.
  • Utilize Community Resources: Take advantage of local community resources such as summer camps, library programs, and community centers.
  • Schedule Parent Time: Ensure you and your partner (if applicable) have dedicated time for yourselves.

By embracing these self-care practices, you can thrive in the vibrant season of summer. Remember, taking care of yourself allows you to better care for others and fully enjoy the abundant season ahead. From all of us at Calm San Diego, wishing you a lovely summer!

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