Today, we'll be discussing the upcoming Xiaoshu period, which marks the beginning of the hottest days of summer in the traditional Chinese calendar. Xiaoshu falls around July 7th to 8th in the Gregorian calendar, and this year, it is observed from July 7th to July 23rd.
Xiaoshu, also known as "Minor Heat," is one of the twenty-four solar terms that divide the year based on the sun's position. In ancient Chinese culture, these solar terms served as important indicators for agricultural activities, and they still hold significance today in terms of weather patterns and lifestyle adjustments.
The Characteristics of Xiaoshu
During Xiaoshu, the weather in Taiwan can be described as stuffy and hot. The scorching sun dominates the sky, and the temperature rises to its peak. It is a time when people often seek relief from the intense heat.
In the afternoon, brief but heavy rains are common, referred to as "northwest rain" or "afternoon thunderstorms." These showers provide temporary respite from the heat, bringing some relief and a sense of freshness to the atmosphere. However, they also increase humidity, which can make the weather feel even more uncomfortable.
Staying Healthy During Xiaoshu
As with any seasonal change, it is essential to adapt our lifestyle and take care of our health accordingly. During Xiaoshu, it is advisable to reduce exposure to the scorching sun to avoid heatstroke and sunburn. Additionally, it's crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Proper nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining good health during this time. Chinese Medicine suggests consuming cooling foods to cope with the heat. One popular option is drinking cooling porridge made from ingredients such as lotus leaves, smilax glabra, mung beans, coix seed, poria cocos, alisma plantago-aquatica, and hibiscus flowers. This soup porridge can be prepared as a sweet or savory dish, depending on personal preference.
Benefits of Cooling Foods and Fruits
Eating more fruits is also beneficial in preventing heatstroke. Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe (菠蘿蜜/ bō luó mì), and cucumber (黄瓜/huáng guā) have high water content, which helps to hydrate the body. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals. However, it's important not to overconsume fruits as excessive intake can burden the digestive system and potentially lead to diarrhea.
To prevent potassium deficiency, it is recommended to include foods rich in potassium in your daily diet. Some examples include soybeans (黃豆/huáng dòu), strawberries (草莓/cǎo méi), peaches (桃子/táo zi), potatoes (馬鈴藥/mǎ líng yào), seaweed (海藻/hǎi zǎo), celery (芹菜/qín cài), and edamame (毛豆/máo dòu).
Mind and Emotions during Xiaoshu
During the peak summer season, it is equally important to take care of our mental well-being. The hot weather can make us more prone to emotional volatility, irritability, and decreased self-control. To maintain a stable mindset and prevent excessive internal heat, it's crucial to cultivate a calm and peaceful state of mind. Remember the saying, "a calm mind naturally feels cool."
Unhealthy habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can have a significant impact on our cardiovascular system, especially during hot weather. To protect the heart and maintain overall well-being, it is advisable to reduce or quit smoking and drinking during Xiaoshu.
In conclusion, Xiaoshu presents us with the opportunity to take extra care of ourselves during the hottest days of summer. By adjusting our diet, staying hydrated, nurturing our mental well-being, and being mindful of our habits, we can navigate through this season with improved health and vitality.
Thank you for joining us on this journey to wellness with TCM. Remember to explore the Moxa Acupressure App for personalized guided sessions that can help you manage stress, chronic pain, and promote natural healing. Stay tuned for more insightful articles on our blog to support your path to a healthier, balanced life.