How can the heat of summer affect your mind, body and emotions?
The heat and humidity of the summer is in full swing. Although I love this beautiful time of the year, it can be a very stressful time for many people. From the Ayurvedic perspective, summer is the Pitta season.
This means that the prevailing element is fire or heat. Especially for those who have a Pitta mind/body constitution, this season can bring up several concerns or symptoms of distress in the mind and body.
Maybe you are experiencing heartburn for the first time in a long time. Maybe your eyes are stinging and bloodshot? Maybe you are suddenly experiencing a urinary tract infection or a skin rash/itching?
Is the heat affecting your health?
The physical signs of excess heat or Pitta imbalance include heartburn, intense hunger, headaches, hemorrhoids, rashes, nausea, loose stools, hot flashes, bleeding gums or canker sores.
Deeper signs and symptoms include psoriasis, eczema, migraines, blood clots, stroke, hypertension, vomiting, ulcers and even appendicitis.
Summertime and excess heat has an emotional/mind component also. Excess heat can cause irritability, anger, frustration and even rage. As the summer heat builds it can show its face through the striving of perfection or general discontent.
Tips to stay cool and balanced
There are many simple ways to approach these physical and emotional issues that can really help create balance even in the heat of the summer.
Cool foods. It’s important to stick with foods that are lighter, cooling and easy to digest. The abundant fruits and vegetables available during the summer really help tip the scale between normal and excess heat accumulation. Watermelon, berries, limes, cilantro, avocado, and coconut are all great choices.
Avoid heavy foods like wheat, dairy, and nut butters. Too much meat, over indulgence of coffee, alcohol, or spicy foods can also create a lot of heat.
Cooling Tea. Consider making a tea of fennel seed, coriander seed and cumin seed that will aid in cooling the digestive tract and the proper digestion of food.
- Put ¼ tsp. of each of the seeds in a tea ball.
- boil in one cup of water for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Add mint leaves for taste and additional cooling qualities.
Cool drinks. Drink plenty of cool or room temperature beverages while avoiding cold or iced beverages. Coconut water and mint, rosehip and hibiscus tea are wonderful cooling drinks.
Cool living. Avoid staying in the sun for long periods of time. Even finding some time to enjoy a bath will help cool the body and mind. Exercise in the early morning hours before the heat of the day takes over. Swim in the cool refreshing water. Most of all, take time to relax and nurture yourself.
To really get back into balance after the summer, consider a fall cleanse to eliminate the excess heat accumulated during the summer. If excess heat is allowed to accumulate it can literally start to dry out the body and cause deeper challenges. I’ll be writing about cleansing soon, so stay tuned.
Consider a personalized Ayurvedic consultation with me to really pinpoint your situation and to provide individual solutions.
In the interim, enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer!