Summer: Expansion, Growth, Creativity, and REST!

three black women relaxing and posed artistically by the pool

header image via Dahlia Dandashi / IG: @dahliadandashi

Summer is all about expansion, growth, activity & creativity.

But are we prioritizing rest, too? Hell yes. 

We feel the weight of summer – both for its possibilities as well as for its challenges (excessive heat, indigestion, pressure to do more, etc.)

Summer is associated with the element of fire, which gives us that feeling of warmth and urgency. The heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. But when this fire isn't balanced, we can experience agitation, anxiety, heartburn, and insomnia. This is a time to nourish and pacify our spirits as we find joy in hot summer days and warm summer nights.

To prevent ills and remain in harmony with the environment, here are some tips for summertime wellness:
  1. Awaken earlier in the morning.
    Rising with the sun can keep our bodies in harmony with nature. The more we are exposed to early morning sun, the better we sleep at night because the serotonin produced during the day is converted to melatonin at night. Proper synthesis of melatonin and serotonin plays a key role in regulating our digestion, reproductive health, body temperature, immune system and even blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

  2. Rest at midday.
    Or whenever you can carve out the time. Grind culture is exhausting. As @TheNapMinistry so beautifully says: "Everything is wild. We don't have all the answers. We deeply believe our commitment to living, resting, and liberation is a balm... Rest is a spiritual practice, an ethos, a mind shift, a reconnection... Rest is not a privilege." Oof. That part.

  3. Drink plenty of fluids.
    The opposing element to fire is water and is an important part of staying balanced during summer. Whether the climate is humid or dry, drinking enough water and staying hydrated helps your energy levels and assists in digestion. Watermelon juice or chrysanthemum tea is also great for cooling the body and cleansing the system.

  4. Add pungent flavors to your diet.
    We're talkin' things like garlic, ginger, radishes, onions, mustard and others. Adding pungent foods to your diet can support digestive health and keep heartburn and upset stomachs at bay. Pungent foods also increase blood circulation, helping to reduce bloat and even allowing the skin to receive more nutrients.

  5. Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered.
    "Oh no she didn't!" OK maybe she did, but we don't have to react with so much fire. Breathe, take a second, and consider a gentler response. Intense emotions like stress and anger can trigger acne and rosacea or cause eczema or psoriasis flare-up. Nobody wants that. 

  6. Incorporate joy and rest every day
    When is the last time you sat down and reflected on what brings you true joy? When is the last time you gave yourself permission to pause and get deep, intentional rest? Summertime is certainly buzzing, especially as things have been opening back up, but check in with yourself to prioritize YOU every single day.