Month: September 2021

Time to slow down!

Physically, energetically, and mentally, late summer is a time when life should be easy and we should aim for the middle path. Not always simple to achieve when this season can actually get quite busy! Follow along below for a few easy ways to bring more late summer self-care into your life.

Physically, energetically, and mentally, late summer is a time when life should be easy and we should aim for the middle path. Not always simple to achieve when this season can actually get quite busy! Follow along below for a few easy ways to bring more late summer self-care into your life.

The Late Summer and The Earth Element


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are five elements – Metal, Wood Water, Fire and Earth. Each of these elements are linked to a season of the year. If you are wondering how this could be, when there are only four seasons, this because in TCM, there is a fifth season: Late Summer. This is the season of the Earth element.

Beginning in late August and ending during September at the Autumn Equinox, this short season is of particular importance because it marks the transition from the yang into the yin time of the year. We can often feel this shift ourselves with noticeable changes in the light and air, and even in the kinds of foods our body might crave.

The late summer is connected to the earth element and is a short season marking the transition between yang (spring and summer) and yin (autumn and winter).

Late summer is a crucial time of transformation, harvest, and nourishment. The Chinese character for the earth element (pictured above) expresses two important aspects of the earth element. The top horizontal line portrays the top of the soil (nourishment), and the bottom line represents the undersoil or bedrock (stability). Our central task with the earth phase of the cycle is to build stability, create balance, and reap the abundance that’s on offer.

The organs of Late Summer are the Stomach and Spleen. The food we eat is one of the ways Qi comes into the body (known as grain Qi). The Stomach (yang organ) is known as ‘the Sea of Nourishment’ due to its crucial role in digestion and it works alongside the Spleen (yin organ) to achieve this.  In Chinese Medicine, the Stomach and Spleen also supply nourishment to our minds as well as emotional and physical stability.

Being the proverbial worry wort, I was interested to discover that the emotion associated with the Earth element is worry; the unending stream of thoughts about anything and everything that could go wrong. But, we can find stability and balance to support the Earth element through our yoga and our lifestyle.

This means taking into account a balance between giving and receiving. Nourishing practices like Yin and Restorative Yoga are very grounding. Practicing lovingkindness towards yourself as well as to others to enhance self-worth is equally supportive.

So, this Late Summer reflect on how you are nourishing yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally and consider incorporating some yin yoga into your life. This is not to say that yang, or more active practices are bad. We need both yang and yin to be in harmony in our bodies and minds. When we have this harmony, then contentment, better health and happiness can follow.

Happy New Year (yup, you read that correctly!)

In the world of wellbeing, September seems to be the new January these days – with good reason. It’s a far better time of year for a health reset than the freezing winter months. In September you can smell the back-to-work vibe in the air as children return to school and routine is somewhat restored. Plus, you don’t have to wrap up in multiple layers or face depressingly dark mornings when you leave the house.

This September, I feel, will be a big one. As mask wearing begins to lift and a slither of normality returns, we are left staggering through the aftermath of the past 18 months. Even aside from the actual virus, the pandemic has taken its toll on our general wellbeing. And as we emerge from survival mode, we start to look at ourselves again. You may have got into comfort drinking habits; perhaps you have fallen off the exercise wagon or lie in bed until 8.48am because your home working day starts at 9am. Whatever you want to change, here are some small steps to tackle Covid-induced bad habits.

1 Be kind to yourself

Don’t beat yourself up. ‘Remain compassionate with yourself,’ says Kathryn Dombrowicz, psychotherapist and addictions specialist at mental health clinic ‘We have been through tough times and lost structure in our lives. It’s natural that we have wanted to make ourselves feel better in a time of anxiety,’ she says.

 September is a good time of year for a wellbeing reset

2 Take baby steps

‘It can be overwhelming to tackle everything at once,’ says nutritional therapist Nicola Moore ( ‘Start with the one thing that’s bothering you most and focus on that. Consistency, not striving for perfection, is the healthiest way to make changes.’

3 B.L.A.S.T bad habits

A habit is something we do again and again to the point where we are not actually experiencing it any more but going through the motions. You can break the pattern by consciously interrupting that habit. Kathryn uses the B.L.A.S.T. technique. ‘Ask yourself if you are bored, lonely, angry, stressed or tired,’ she says. ‘Then think of healthier ways you can nurture yourself instead.’

4 Don’t ditch ‘drink o’clock’

It could be that your daily glass of wine (or two) is more to do with the ritual of drinking and what that signifies emotionally rather than the drink itself, explains Nicola. ‘You don’t have to ditch that time in the day when you enjoy a relaxing drink,’ she says. ‘But try replacing it with something non-alcoholic while keeping everything else the same. Keep the wine glass and connect to the act of drinking it, which can elicit the same good feelings as you’d get from a glass of wine.’

5 Don’t go OTT on exercise

Going from sofa surfer to gym bunny will set yourself up to fail. Instead, says Kathryn, walk for 20 minutes four times a week. The next week, add an exercise class or make the walk longer. Doing something is better than nothing and a daily short walk will have an instant impact on your wellbeing.

6 Replace bad habits with good

‘By repeating a bad habit you will have created a neural pathway,’ says Kathryn. ‘You can override it with a positive habit by keeping at it,’ she says. ‘Some studies say it takes 21 days to break a habit, others say 40. I think it’s somewhere in the middle.’