Moving with the Seasons ~ A Guide to Thrive in Summer
It’s that time of year when everything seems to be happening all at once. Where the energy and heat rise, celebrations and commitments are aplenty and we immerse ourselves in all that the festive season has to offer.
All of the groundwork brought forth in spring, new growth, new ideas, and plans laid down begin to manifest and the arrival of summer sees the natural world blooming to its fullest expansion. The heat and the energy of fire drive us forward to expand to our fullest potential. While there is so much joy in this state of being, we can often find ourselves with a sense of pressure to squeeze every last thing in before the year comes to a close, whether it be professional milestones or social opportunities jostling for attention. This is why we like to take things a little more gently at this time of year, move with the expansive season of summer, but where we can avoid throwing more fire at it. Sometimes this means not attending every party, letting the unnecessary slip to the side, and keeping up our foundations of well-being (eating nourishing foods, staying hydrated, exercising, meditating, spending time in nature) to avoid that post-Christmas burnout.
By riding the wave of summer with a little more balance we’re able to protect our energy levels, be more present (the ultimate gift!), and tap into the joy that the season brings, moving forward into the new year without such a heavy tax on the bodily systems that fuel our inner reserves and ultimately our longevity.
These are some of the practices and mushies we work with this time of year to keep the ship steady.
It’s the season of connection, where we’re led by our heart to place emphasis on our relationships and community, celebrating, connecting, and experiencing the joy of this closeness. With this in mind, we like to think that presence is the ultimate present. When our spirit is settled, our true nature can shine forth.
We turn to Reishi, the nourisher of the spirit to help embed a sense of physical and mental calm preparing us to ride through potential states of stress and anxiety with graceful ease. The adaptogenic beta-d-glucans and triterpenes in Reishi are known to soothe the nervous system as well as support deep sleep .
We’re mindful of getting enough sleep (even with the longer days) and leaning into meditation, even if it’s just one deeply conscious breath or a 5-minute mantra practice to ease the mental clutter and help support a sense of calm clarity.
Burning the candle at both ends ultimately leads to burnout. Embracing JOMO (joy of missing out), as simple as it may be, can help to tap into the joy of the festive season rather than making the raft of social commitments feel like a burden. It helps to tune into yourself and identify where your energy and presence are best spent.
Exercising in the morning whenever you can, in line with our natural circadian rhythm, when our levels of cortisol are at their peak is also a good strategy, as we’re drawing on the reserves our body has available, rather than trying to ramp ourselves up again later in the day. An added bonus is you also beat the heat!
It can also be a good idea to ease back on coffee consumption during summer to avoid adding more fuel to the fire and the highs and crashes that caffeine can bring about. For more on easing off coffee and mushie alternatives head to our journal post on the topic.
To help us move forward with steady energy Cordyceps is our go-to. Cordyceps is known traditionally as a deep energy awakener and has been studied for its potential to the production of mitochondrial ATP , our body’s main energy source allowing us to replenish our energy reserves and avoid burnout.
It’s no surprise that upping our water intake across summer is a good idea. Temperatures are at their peak, we're moving more, and sweating more. Being well hydrated helps to regulate our body temperature, nourishes our skin and organs, lubricates our joints and connective tissue and plays a big role in dissolving minerals and nutrients so our body can absorb them. Let this sink in, around 60% of an adult human body is comprised of water, the brain and heart are composed of 73%, lungs 83% and skin 64% .
In addition to being mindful of our water intake, we double down on Tremella mushroom. Tremella acts in a similar way to the famed hyaluronic acid, pulling moisture into the skin and lubricating our connective tissues. Moisturising from the inside out Tremella supports our skin elasticity and a smooth, plump complexion.
There are few sensations better than the feel of sunlight on your skin – it makes sense as vitamin D from healthy levels of sun exposure has been shown to support mood. With the sun high in the sky across summer bringing about greater exposure to UV rays we take care of the basics like covering up, seeking shade and using natural sunscreen as oxidative stress, damage to our cells and sunburn isn’t pretty, accelerating the visible and physical signs of ageing.
With its incredible skin-protecting properties, Chaga has more antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), zinc and melanin than any other single natural source. When free radicals become too abundant in the body due to sun damage, stress, or pollution SOD can work against free radical damage to the skin helping with dark spots, fine lines, wound healing and sun damage, which is why it is used in many cosmetics as an antioxidant and anti-ageing ingredient.
Melanin is responsible for your skin pigment, but it also is important for your overall skin health. The more melanin you have the less sensitive your skin is to sun and windburn, free radicals and toxins in the air.
With all of the festive season feasting the temptation to overindulge is real. We try to stick to our healthy eating and drinking habits as much as possible (while still enjoying ourselves of course) so we can start the new year energetic and vibrant. Cooling, easy to assimilate, nutrient-dense foods are our go-to in summer to help disperse the heat and nourish bodily fluids are our go-to in summer think berries, mango, watermelon, cucumber, tender leafy greens, beans, squash, avocados and of course lean proteins.
And if you’ve found yourself a little worse for wear after some festive season revelry it’s Chaga to the rescue to help relieve some of the oxidative stress which can come about from eating certain foods, over eating and overindulgence in alcohol.