It snuck up on us, didn’t it? It appears that summer has officially arrived, just when we thought we finally had our spring self-care routines figured out. As our part of the world gets hotter, seasonal vegetables and herbs change over, and spring rains dye down, our bodies need time to adjust. Once again, Freed’s herbalist Karen Culpepper has some tips to help you weather the seasonal transition.
Keep managing allergy symptoms. A mild spring like the one we just had typically means we’re slammed during the summer, so some allergens will continue blooming (or start doing so) later than usual. Per our earlier post on seasonal transitions, make sure you focus on good gut health to keep inflammation at bay. You can also incorporate anti-inflammatory plants like stinging nettles into your diet--they are still growing in abundance right now, and are tasty when sautéed like spinach with garlic, and onions. Also consider raw, local honey to sweeten things up, which helps with some pollen allergies.
Bring on the cooling foods. Start with culinary herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro, all of which thrive in the summer gardens. You can also get creative with herbs like dill, fennel, and parsley, and the abundance of fresh leafy greens to be found in warm months. When you’ve perfected your tomato-basil pesto recipe and figured out the perfect ratio of mint and lemon to water for afternoon sipping, you can also start building in extra hydration by eating foods like watermelon, cucumber, and sweet bell peppers, which all have high water contents.
Care for your skin. In addition to wearing sun block that’s appropriate for you skin type, make sure you’re washing your face and sweaty areas regularly to keep irritation at bay. If you get burned, you can use tried-and-true aloe vera, or try an infusion of lavender in olive or grapeseed oil (just don’t wear oil outside in the sun!). When you have the time, make yourself a bath scrub of brown sugar or sea salt, coconut or olive oil, and a couple drops of your favorite essential oil and rub it on your skin before you shower, making sure you moisturize afterward.
Travel with a plan. Many of us travel more than usual during the summer months. Plan ahead to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and self-care time, whether that’s an hour of yoga, a short run, or a chapter from your current read. Bring some lavender oil along to help you sleep if you have trouble doing so in new places, and some peppermint oil to ease cramped muscles after a long drive or flight.
Look out a few months from now for part three of this series on surviving seasonal transitions!