Ahhh summer…Can you feel it yet? For my family the Memorial Day opening of the community pool we belong to marks the beginning of a very special time—the magnificent unfurling, expanding season of summer. Its right around the corner—in fact, it may even already be here!
Look outside on a sunny day and you will notice that nature is shifting. The plants have pushed up through the soil and they are now unfurling, blossoming, showing all their glory. Suddenly my garden is riot. Everything is opening. Soon the air will be filled with the lights of fireflies calling to each other and the sound of crickets, cicadas and frogs calling out. The air is getting warmer—living things are growing, blossoming, strutting their stuff.
Summer is a time of joy, connection and partnership. The weather draws out outside to parks, to pools, to the beach or simply our front yards to talk to our neighbors. The light calls us outside much earlier and begs us to linger much longer. We cook over open flames and gather at BBQs. We sit around campfires and laugh. Or we tell our stories and whisper the secrets of our hearts. We play.
The Chinese medical classics tell us that one important way to keep well is to follow the seasons. We are all part of the cycle in nature and when we align with what is happening outside we set the conditions for our bodies to restore, heal, fight infection, and operate optimally. Yet modern society, with air conditioning, office buildings and a 24-7 work culture can throw us off these natural rhythms. Sometimes we need to be more intentional about lining up in harmony with the seasons.
Here are 5 ways to line up with the exciting energy of the summer:
1. Reach out and connect!
Be like the birds, bugs and frogs calling out to one another! Build time in your life for relationships. Use the warmth and weather to help propel you. Plan an outing with a friend, organize a family get-together, or set up a special date with your sweetie. Better yet, be spontaneous. Spend time in the places where your community connects—the park, the pool, the library or bookstore and put away your phone! Take a walk and greet your neighbors. All of this is good for the heart!
Watch the animals this time of year and you will notice a great deal of play. Summer calls us to indulge in pleasure and fun. Whether it’s a pick up game of basketball, tennis with your best friend, a rousing game of Scrabble or Banana-grams or a game of tag with your kids allow yourself to be silly and have fun.
Laughing is good for the soul and good for your health too! While its obvious that a good laugh can relieve stress and helps us connect with each other did you know that laughter boosts your immune system, releases endorphins, supports the cardiovascular system and can even reduce pain. (Don’t believe me, read what the Mayo Clinic says!) A study by Oxford University found that pain thresholds become "significantly higher" after laughter. So go ahead and tell that corny joke or ask your cousin to tell that funny story for the 38th time. Be a little bit silly. If you are having trouble finding the funny, check out laughter yoga—yes—it’s a THING.
4. Focus on your partnership.
In a busy world it can be so easy to neglect the folks closest to us. As human beings we are meant to connect, be in community and ultimately partnership. Thinking about summer energy, my friend and colleague Marie Choppin, LICSW, LCSW-Cwrote a piece for my blog on 5 Ways to Builda Strong Loving Relationship. Check it out!
5. Find your passion.
Summer energy is excited energy and a time to explore things that bring you joy. Give yourself permission to explore the things that feed your heart and soul: whether its volunteering, playing, cheering for your favorite team, reading, entertaining, rich conversation, or art—allow yourself to experience being passionate!
And of course, if you are having time shifting into summertime energy, or if your symptoms are preventing you from finding joy this season, acupuncture can help restore the natural balance and flow in our bodies and help you find your summertime bliss!
Meg Casey, M.Ac, L.Ac is a licensed acupuncturist in Silver Spring, MD. She is passionate about Chinese medicine, really good chocolate and coffee, dancing, her fabulous kid, connecting with her community, turning her life into a musical and good books. You can make an appointment with her online by calling 301.408.9873 or reaching out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about her practice and her approach to treatment at www.megcaseyacupuncture.com.