4 tips for self care in Late Summer
September-October is the time for nourishing self care
Looking after our needs is vitally important. Making sure we are well rested, nourished and centred means we are strong for the colder months ahead. It also means we can offer compassion and empathy to others freely without tiring ourselves. So let’s focus on the key organs for digestive health, the Stomach and Spleen and see what we can do to keep ourselves chipper.
Both of these organs help boost a good sense of self, when in balance, we feel supported and nurtured. Both show us when people, activities drain us. ‘I couldn’t stomach the way they said that.’ Stress brings digestive upset, bloating, tiredness after eating. The Spleen is linked with Yi, our mental clarity and focus. When we are run down and our Spleen Qi is weak, we tend to overthink, over-worry and cannot focus. Physically, the Spleen guards boundaries in the body. When we are run down, we can experience symptoms such excessive sweating, more bruising, haemorrhaging, recurring thrush, even prolapse. Spleen energy is lifting energy so to keep looking fresh faced, our Spleen energy needs to be buoyant!
Tip #1 Cook
Cooking is one sure way to boost earth energy. Ideal cooking is warm food, roasts, soups, stews. With warm home cooked food, we stoke our digestive fire. When we cook nutritious rich food, with lots of fresh seasonal veggies, we show ourselves that we matter and feel cared for. Yellow is the colour of the season and bland/naturally sweet is the flavour, so imagine squashes, pumpkin, carrots, berries, ripe seasonal fruit such as nectarines, plums, peaches. Avoid highly processed foods and added sugar where possible. Check out my blog recipes to help you keep the home fires burning.
Tip #2 Eat breakfast
How nutritious, satisfying, enjoyable can you make your breakfast? Stomach acid is at its strongest in the morning. If we routinely skip breakfast, this upsets our blood sugar levels and we are more likely to crave sweet things later on! Remember the Stomach meridian starts under the eye (so how our food looks is important), then runs to the corners of the mouth (ha, if your food looks tasty, it’ll make you smile!), then up to the head (Yes, I’m going to enjoy eating this!), down through the saliva glands to the stomach…you get my gist. Let’s get creative. It’s amazing how a handful of nuts and berries with a generous spoonful of live yoghurt to a cereal can lift it to heavenly heights. At this time of year I make granola. In our home, we also love poached eggs, wilted spinach, fried mushrooms with parsley a squeeze of lemon, on toasted sourdough rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and a twist of sea salt. What’s your favourite breakfast? Can you bring the goodness in?
Tip #3 Journal
Putting pen to paper is a way to hold space for ourselves. It helps us organise our thoughts and get clear on what is happening internally and emotionally for us. The archetype associated with Late Summer and the Earth element is the Mother. When we think of our vast Mother Earth’s capability to move effortlessly round her axis, to negotiate change with ease and her creative capacity to support and nurture, we get a sense of what we could be like with our Earth energy in balance.
Checking in with ourselves through writing really helps calm and focus our mind, our intellect or Yi. Too much overthinking depletes our Spleen Qi. We also feel acknowledged and listened to, nourished on a deep level. Did you know? Each of us is an element according to our birth. Earth people generally are excellent listeners!
Best time to write is first thing, so it focuses our intention for the rest of the day. But another time of day is fine too. The intention is to hold a space where everything can be shared and not judged. So no capital letters and avoid beating yourself up. Imagine talking to a friend who came back at all your upset with harshness. The words we say or write to ourselves count. This is not to say sugar coat things. Let whatever you need to spill out on the page, get it out there, let the tears fall, this is a place we can fully express ourselves and be heard. When we repress emotions, this can show up in physical complaints.
“The feeling that cannot find its’ expression in tears may cause other organs to weep”, Dr Maudsley, London psychiatrist
Tip #4 Meditate
Daily meditation is super subtle journaling. When we take time to become still, the hectic to-ing and fro-ing of our mind starts to settle, our breathing changes, we actively soothe our central nervous system and become present. I know it can be hard. We are socialised to be busy and distracted, not connected and present. Just as we wouldn’t expect ourselves to be super flexible and cure our back ache in one yoga session, why would we expect clarity of mind after one meditation session?
The trick is to make meditation part of your daily habits. Start manageable and I mean, really manageable. Take 3 minutes, make sure you will not be disturbed as best you can, close your eyes, notice your body, your breath and how the breath is moving in your body. There are many lovely guided meditations out there. You are most welcome to join me on Yoga with Lucie On Demand and practise with me.