The long, often sunny, days of Seattle are upon us! The Summer Solstice is Friday, June 21, a day that features 17 hours of sunlight, with the sun rising at 5:11 am and setting at 9:11 pm, leaving only seven hours (less than 30% of the day) of nighttime. As a long stretch of summertime is similar, with lots of light and less darkness, it's important to remember that getting a good night's sleep in the summer months in Seattle often takes some planning, good window shades, and possibly an eye pillow.
As the Yang is in its maximum expansion in the summertime, this energy supports high levels of activity, productivity, love, adventure, and more time for exercise and play. During this time, the Yin—in its hiding—needs nourishment in order to support the abundant Yang, as Yin and Yang always seek to work in harmony in our body, mind, and life as we seek optimal health.
Here are some of my favorite ways to strengthen and nourish the Yin in order to enjoy the summer days to the maximum:
Sleep: We all need eight solid restful hours, even in the summer months. Ideally, we should feel well-rested upon awakening. Research has shown the best quality sleep is when the sun is down (especially between 11 pm and 3 am) and that our brain is cleansed, purified, and rejuvenated with eight quality hours of sleep.
Cooling Foods: Cooling foods that nourish Yin include watermelon (delicious!), celery (transforms phlegm, anti-inflammatory), pears (benefit the lungs and large intestines), and aloe vera juice (helps constipation and heat).
Consistent Water Intake: A good rule of thumb as to the amount of water we need is to take half of your body weight in pounds and translate that into ounces (for example, if you weigh 140 pounds, 70 ounces of water would be your daily goal). Spread your water intake throughout the day, breaking it down to a minimum of six ounces every hour. I make sure to have at least half of my water intake before midday as we are most dehydrated in the morning; it's best to taper intake as you approach bedtime. Drinking water on an empty stomach is recommended as this allows the digestive process to best function and avoids bloating and indigestion. Our body is made up of 80% water, and I consider aging to be a gradual process of dehydration (wrinkles, brittle bones, dryness, tight muscles, et al.)—and we'd all agree it's ideal to not speed that process up!
Inner Focus: Downtime, personal time, and optimally an internal meditative exercise such as Qi Gong, Tai Qi, Yoga, Meditation, or even a warm bath can help us to turn our focus inward to counteract the overwhelming external stimulants coming at us throughout the day. Turning our focus inward to promote calm and relaxation assists our body's internal natural functions and metabolism to normalize, freeing us from the seemingly constant fight-or-flight mode of our day-to-day living.
And, of course,
Acupuncture is a phenomenal way to support, nourish, and enhance the Yin, enabling us to keep our cool, maintain our focus amidst all kinds of heat, and feel comfortable within ourselves as we express our unique gifts to the maximum in this time of great Yang. Call 206.472.1900 or email to schedule an appointment.
May we all enjoy the summer of 2019 to the maximum!!!