Will this Summer never end?? We’ve had three heat waves in a row where I live so as you can imagine it hasn’t been too pleasant. I’m not usually one to look forward to Winter, but right now I’d take blue lips and numb toes over constantly feeling like I’m stuck in a sauna!
Right now we have entered what is called ‘Late Summer’ according to the Chinese five elemental cycle. Late summer relates to the Earth Element and it is the transition stage between Summer and Autumn. After all the expansion, activity and excitement we had in the midst of Summer, Late Summer is when energy begins to gather and settle in preparation for the concentrating energy of the Metal Element of Autumn.
This is the transition point in every cycle when Yang energy starts to slow down and become more Yin. You know, like when you’ve just finished a hardcore gym session and are doing your cool down stretches before heading home to eat your chicken and broccoli; or when you’re chillin’ on a grassy knoll at a music festival watching the sun rise while trying to gather yourself together for the mission home. That is the Earth element at play.
In Late Summer people come back from holidays and parties, and social gatherings start to die down as everyone prepares to return back to school and work. Visit the farmer’s markets and you will see them bursting with the last of the fruit and vegetable harvest. In nature it’s the time of maturation – those big blooming flowers have wilted and are now bearing their fruits. The air is also heavy and thick with humidity as the Earth element relates to dampness.
The energy of Earth is mothering, nurturing, harmonising, compassionate, thoughtful, serene, grounded and centred. It gives us the ability to reflect and transform our experiences into wisdom. Given it’s ability to transform, it also rules the stomach and spleen which are the organs that transform nourishment into Qi and transport it throughout the body. The spleen rules the emotion of worry, so during this time of thought and reflection we need to be careful not to overthink and worry excessively as this can weaken the energy of the spleen which then creates a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of!
Like every season, the key to maintaining your health and wellbeing during Late Summer is to align yourself with it’s energetic qualities.
Tips for adjusting to the Earth Element in Late Summer
Give the bathroom a good clean to get rid of mould and dampness as it can make you feel sluggish and tired especially during this season.
Begin to wind down and relax. Feel free to socialise but also remember to spend some quality time on your own to reflect and prepare yourself for the beginning of the new cycle.
Ground yourself. Connect with the Earth element by spending time barefoot in Mother Nature.
If you feel heavy and sluggish, your body may be too damp. If possible, spend time somewhere in a drier climate.
Make time in your day to meditate, pause and be still.
Rather than starting new projects, reflect on your past experiences and what you have learnt from them. Put this knowledge on file to help you in the future.
Nurture yourself by indulging in massages as the Earth element also rules the body.
Start cutting down on raw and cold food like salads and green smoothies. Because dampness is an Earth quality, it is easy to accumulate too much damp in the body which can weaken the stomach and spleen.
Eat more foods that reflect the Earth element such as root vegetables and pumpkin as they grow and ripen in and on the earth.
Eat more foods that help to drain dampness from the body such as Adzuki beans, rice and watercress.
Lastly, have a Kit Kat. In other words, give yourself a break. Be lazy without feeling guilty because the Earth element says so!