You may have found yourself feeling a bit ‘hot and bothered’ during this current heat wave in Australia. That’s because the heat not only affects the environment, but also our bodies and mind.
If you’ve noticed yourself feeling impatient, irritable or low on energy, it could mean you are out of balance. Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to get back into balance and feeling great.
Staying in balance is a lot like driving on a highway – it’s a lot easier to keep on track (and in balance) by making little adjustments rather than trying to recover once you’ve completely steered off the road (and out of balance). When you first notice the signs of being out of balance, it’s important to immediately take action.
Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to get back into balance and feeling great!
Signs that the heat is throwing you out of balance:
- You’re feeling hot and bothered
- Your patience is short and you’re getting more easily irritated
- You tend to be insensitive towards others’ needs and feelings
- You are more critical and judgemental of yourself and others
- You get inflammation in the body and break out in acne or other skin irritations
- You have loose stools, reflux and/or nausea
- Your eyes are more sensitive to light or get irritated
- You become over focused, too serious, holding onto your viewpoint or more of a perfectionist
If you are noticing any of the signs above, you want to quickly take action to bring yourself back into balance. Here are some simple tips:
1. Choose to accept or embrace what is
The first step when you notice yourself getting out of balance is to accept what is. When it’s really hot, you will notice there are two primary ways people respond. Some people might be just hot while others can be hot and bothered. Being hot and bothered means you are resisting the heat. If you resist the heat, you only get hotter, bothered and out of balance.
In life, there is that which is in our control and that which is out of our control. If we waste any energy resisting or giving any attention to what is out of our control, we suffer and bring suffering to others around us.
So if you can’t control it, the best option to work with what is. When the weather is super hot, we want to accept what is but also do everything we can to stay cool and help the people around us stay cool.
It all starts in the mind!
It’s great if you can endeavour to catch yourself when you are starting to feel a little troubled by the heat (or indeed anything). Recognise that this is a sign of imbalance. This means, you’ve either started to resist something which is or you are holding onto some expectation that doesn’t serve you. If you catch it early, it’s easy to let it go.
Even some simple out breaths can often do the trick. So make it a goal to play ‘catch it’. That is, catch your mind contracting and celebrate when you do! As soon as you do this, you’re not so lost in your thought. Then you can then take further action to get yourself more balanced.
2. Lighten up!
Give more attention to play, fun and humour. Look for ways to connect, share and have fun with others. Don’t take yourself, others and life too seriously. Consciously let go of trying to control situation, needing to be right and outcome. So more surrender.
3. Favour eating cooling foods
Especially in these hot summer months, it’s important to keep your body cool. One way is by eating foods that are cooling. You’ll notice how different you feel after eating a hot curry as opposed to a fresh salad.
In terms of the 6 tastes in food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent), try to stay away from salt, sour or pungent foods as these will only heat your body more. Instead favour sweet, astringent and bitter foods. Cool foods such as salads and cold soups are of course better than hot foods. Also eating a bit more raw food during this time can be a great way to cool your body.
Herbs and spices can also play a big role in helping to cool our body. Try to use some of the following herbs and spices in your cooking: Cumin, coriander (and coriander seeds), cardamom, mint and turmeric. Dairy products such as milk, ghee or butter are also cooling, as are olive oil and coconut oil. Try to avoid processed foods and stimulants such as coffee.
4. Get a massage
Getting a massage is great to help you get into your body and out of your head. Often times when we are out of balance we get caught up in our thoughts and this can lead to further imbalance. Different types of oil can have different effects on the body. Coconut oil for example is very cooling and good for those warm summer months. Sesame oil is slightly warming and also very balancing. There are also a range of Ayurvedic massage oils which combine herbs in the oil to help with balancing.
Self-massage is also a great way to balance and connect with your body. If you have a partner you can also massage each other as a way to balance, connect with your body and connect with each other.
5. Cleanse your system
Cleansing can also be a great way to get back into balance. If you’ve been feeling heavy, slow or run down, it could mean you have a build-up of toxins in your system. This can be especially true if you’ve been eating a lot of fatty foods and drinking a lot of alcohol.
Doing a cleanse can help detox your body which will leave you feeling lighter and with more energy. Here are some simple cleansing tips you can do to help detox your body now and start feeling great:
- Sip herbal tea throughout the day. Try this quick and easy tea recipe: In the morning, mix 1/4 teaspoon of whole cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of whole coriander and 1/2 a teaspoon of whole fennel. Add that to 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for a short time and then take it off the heat and let it cool down and steep, while keeping the lid on the saucepan. Then strain out the spices and poor into a thermos to sip throughout the day.
- Use spices like ginger, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek and fennel which are very helpful for opening up the channels in the body for detoxing the liver, colon, skin and urinary tract
- Dandelion root tea is great for detoxing the liver.
- Skip dinner or try to eat light before bed.
- Eat a diet of mung dhal or if not available red lentils and rice for a few days. The combination of lentils and rice is very easy to digest and contains a good balance of carbohydrates and protein to keep you going throughout the day (without feeling hungry). You can also add some of the herbs and spices mentioned above and also some ghee.
- Make some fresh juices. A juice blend of wheatgrass, ginger, beetroot and apple tastes great and also has detoxing properties. Beetroot is known to be great for detoxing the liver.
- Drink Triphala before going to bed. Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal formula consisting of three myrobalans (fruit species): Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). As well as being great for detoxing, Triphala has been shown to have significant immunostimulatory effects on cellular immune response, especially cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells. Triphala comes either in powder form or in tablets.