In Chinese Medicine, there is an extra season – Late Summer – which is associated with the Earth element. It corresponds to this time of harvest, as the peak of summer moves into the decline of autumn. In some traditions, it is also the time of transition between all of the seasons – the still point as one ends and the next begins.

It is a time of nourishment, of gathering and storing. It is the last chance of abundance for some time.

In acupuncture, the Stomach and Spleen organs are linked to this time, creating and transporting blood, nutrients and energy.  They do this physically, but also on a mental and emotional level.

Autumn apples

All that we digest and process is dealt with here.  Running a marathon takes a toll on the same place as studying for an exam, which is turns takes the same toll as worrying about something said in a recent conversation.  These are just examples but you get the drift.

We must be mindful to pace ourselves, recognise that different activities deplete the same energy stores.  We need to be mindful of managing those reserves, nourishing them to keep them rich and abundant.

It’s important to find balance in our physical, mental and emotional health.   This is a great time for slowing down and taking stock.

Connect with your body and with the Earth to feel stable and grounded.  For me, Iyengar yoga does this wonderfully and, of course, Tai Chi or Qi Gong are the traditional Chinese ways to help this.  Find what helps you be in your body, rather than just your head.  Feel the connection with the ground beneath your feet. Why not try going barefoot outside sometimes?

Consider your own harvest.  Where you are and where you want to be? What areas of your life are rich and abundant? Where are things a bit sparse? What needs pruning?

And finally, connect and nourish others too. The emotion of this time is sympathy. In health, we will have the ability to give sympathy, compassion and understanding – and receive these from others too.

Late Summer Self-Care Tips:

  • Savour the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables

  • Be thoughtful of how you can nourish yourself, and others

  • Take stock of your own life’s harvest

  • Be still and reflect

  • Recognise and appreciate your successes

  • Nourish and manage your energy stores

  • Work on being grounded and connected to your body

  • Go barefoot on the grass and even some mud!

As ever, some of this can be a bit tricky.  Try and bring some awareness to what’s going on for you.  Take some time to stand still and reflect. That’s a great first step.

What does late summer mean to you?  How’s your life’s harvest in 2020?