Keep Your Cool When Everything Around You is Heating Up
Feeling irritated, anxious or critical? Feeling uncomfortable and hot, even when the A/C is full blast? That was me last summer. Oh how I suffered. I started to wake up about mid-July realizing that I was part of the problem. I was making myself overheated and irritable by doing things that didn’t need to be done, while running around town in the heat and the traffic certainly didn’t help.
Summer is Pitta season and the bright, hot, sunny days of summer aggravate Pitta. To manage Pitta, the secret is to stay cool. I know you may be laughing right now at the seeming impossibility of that – it’s July! It’s not just about keeping your body cool, but more importantly, keeping your mind and emotions cool. There is good news. It can be managed! Plus a glass of white wine is part of the solution.
Pitta is one of three Doshas in the Ayurvedic System. Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga based on our mind body connection and the healing of the body by using the mind.
If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, check out our Detox & Yoga Retreats.
Awareness of your body is the first step to practicing Ayurveda. Once you’re aware, you can find mental, physical and emotional healing.
Awareness is the key to finding balance. My favorite thing about Ayurveda is it’s a lifestyle. It can be as simple or as complicated as you desire, I prefer the simple approach.
Signs Your Pitta is Out of Balance
Do the following describe your mental and emotional state?
- Frustration, anger, irritability, sarcasm
- Judgment, impatience, criticism, intolerance
- Excessive perfectionist tendencies
Are you experiencing the following physical symptoms?
- Rash, acne, cold sores
- Achiness or discomfort in body or joints
- Acid reflux, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn
- Loose stools
- Uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body
- Difficulty falling asleep
Balance Pitta with Wellness Habits
- Exercise moderately – enjoy a mildly challenging form of yoga, swimming or biking, but avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day.
- Balance your physical activity, with quiet time in meditation or soak up the soothing sights, sounds and smells of nature
- Self-massage several days a week with 1/2 cup sunflower or coconut oil before bathing. Add a drop of Mint Essential Oil for even more cooling.
- Surround yourself with soothing music, smells, scenes and company.
- Blue, green, silver and gray are particularly calming.
- Sandalwood, rose, jasmine, mint, lavender, fennel and chamomile promote a sense of wellbeing.
- Laugh – enjoy activities and friends to bring out your playful side.
- Journal – Observe your emotions and try to reduce judgment and criticism – of yourself and others.
- Let go – find surrender rather than control.
Incorporate the following into your Summer meals:
- Use Dairy in moderation to balance heat of Pitta. Limit yogurt, sour cream and cheese.
- Cooling foods, both energetically and in temperature,
- Fruits include watermelon, avocados, blueberries, grapes and limes.
- Vegetables include zucchini, cucumbers, asparagus, and jicama.
- Some of our favorite summer cooling recipes: Watermelon Jicama Feta Salad, Guacamole, Asparagus Tomato Salad – Get the recipes.
- Use cooling herbs and spices like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom.
- Oils are so important, choose high-quality olive, sunflower and coconut oils or clarified butter (ghee).
- Do not skip meals and do not wait until you are famished to eat.
- Eat in a peaceful environment. Limit distractions – TV, Social Media, Etc. while eating. Sit and relax for ten minutes after eating and before moving on to another activity.
- Indulge in occasional glass of white wine or light beer.
- Sip room temperature or cool water, never ice cold, to keep your digestive system functioning efficiently.
Avoid or limit the following:
- Foods that are pungent, sour and salty.
- Warming foods, both energetically and in temperature.
- Chili and cayenne peppers.
- Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, “TV” dinners or pastries).
- Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
- Red meat.
- Deep fried foods.
Here’s a full list of cooling foods and what foods to avoid.
Are you (like I was last summer), aggravating your Pitta imbalance by running around to social obligations and errands non-stop? Are you doing those errands in the heat of the day? Are you engaging with friends or family that set your teeth on edge? Do you vigorously exercise during the hottest part of the day?
You hold the solution to what ails you. You can choose to continue to live on the path you’re on, OR you can dial everything down.
Let go of social obligations right now – especially with people who irritate you. Let Amazon do your errands for you. Enjoy a soothing Yin class. Spend time in nature, early mornings or after dark. Enjoy alone time – in the cool comfort of your home or check out an art exhibit or an independent movie. Enjoy a meal of spring mix with blueberries, walnuts, a little bit of chicken and a splash of oil and vinegar. AND, a glass of white wine, for even more cooling.
Every path is a choice. Are you choosing the path of least resistance or are you fighting an uphill battle this summer?