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  • Writer's pictureMadison Kolla

Summertime Self-Care

We tend to see some slow days at Heart & Hands Health Collective as we enter the summer months. The weather is improving, and all those seasonal depression sufferers are out soaking up the sunshine and feeling happy. The allergy sufferers of spring usually get some reprieve by this point as well, as the pollen overload calms down. Students are much less stressed and insomnia-prone after finals are over and holidays begin. People are away traveling, and not seeing clients because they're feeling fantastic is honestly about the best compliment an acupuncturist can receive!

So if you're not in for pokes because you're feeling amazing and perfectly balanced, please disregard this article and go back to enjoying life. You deserve it. I'm addressing the rest of us, the less-than-perfect-at-maintaining-balance-ones; both the introverts (those of us who need alone time to recharge), and the extroverts (who have a tendency to over-stimulate themselves in the hectic, social summer months). Summer is associated with the Fire element in Chinese Medicine. Most of us love this element - it is joyful, social, it brings people together. It is about communication, communion, laughter and play. Fire feels good - giddy, happy, exciting. But like anything, too much of a good thing can become unbalanced. When we over-socialize, over-indulge, over-extend ourselves in outward focused ways; a couple of things can happen. We can end up with an excess of Fire in our systems; or Fire blazing/burning too bright. This tends to look a bit like mania - which can feel great at the time - loads of energy, little need for sleep or food. It can feel like very social, productive, creative time; where lots of connections are made and things seem to be happening. And, in moderation, it IS wonderful. But the tendency when Fire is excessive for a prolonged period is that we end up crashing. Burning the candle at both ends; with not enough sleep, rest or downtime, tends to do a number on our immune systems. We end up sick, burnt out, or depressed - without enough Fire. This is the obvious pattern for people with Bipolar Disorder - bouncing back and forth between too much and not enough Fire- but we see it on a less extreme scale in many people. We feel great, we take on ALL of the projects, ALL of the activities, ALL of the social situations... but can then become overwhelmed, burnt-out, depressed. As we crash, we can withdraw from the world, from our supports, from the things that keep us healthy. So I write this post as a reminder. As we approach the summer months, with all of the gatherings, events, parties, festivals, shows - let's keep an attitude of moderation. Let's make sure we also make time for the things that keep us in balance - our practices, our downtime, or self-care activities (and obviously, acupuncture). Let's make the most out of the WHOLE season, instead of yo-yo-ing through it, feeling up and down, intense and then crashing. Learning moderation and balance is a life-long endeavor; and our abilities and needs vary so widely - it truly is a personal pursuit for each one of us. Be well, friends. Sending you sunshine-y summer blessings; with lots of play and friends and fun; and a necessary balance of down-time, introspection and self-care. <3


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