Come February and we start worrying about summers. What starts with increasing fan speed, installing coolers, switching to A/Cs , ends with gulping down chilled water, bottles of refrigerated tinned fruit juices and aerated drinks etc. This is how most jet-set professionals are programmed to live through summers. And kids follow it. People do slow down after experiencing poor physical and emotional health but by then it is slightly late in the day to reverse the conditions.
Technology helps us to stay cool inside four walls, but people who have to go out in the sun, travel to work or kids who go to school have to face the sun. What are their options to keep cool (AND keep their cool) during summer heat? As per Ayurveda the best way to deal with the rise in temperature is to stay cool from within, physically and mentally.
For kids or adults, the common problems during summers include excessive body heat, dehydration, sweating, skin rash, sunburn, acne, diarrhea, irritation, lethargy, short fuses and so on.
Golden Rule: Cold Water Herbal Bath
Boil mint leaves (fresh or dried) in a few glasses of water for half an hour. Strain the water and let it cool. Last rinse while you bathe should be with this water. Before dabbing your body dry, especially areas where you tend to perspire more splash this water. Mint is a natural coolant; the refreshing & astringent properties will work on your body and relax your mind.
There is another type of bath where you use rose petals soaked in the bucket overnight. Rose’ refreshing & cooling properties work wonders for the body and mind. Rose fights sun burn, exfoliates skin, and makes it softer and radiant.
Nothing quenches your thrust like water at room temperature or from earthen pot, Matka. This summer try not to reach out for chilled bottled juices or carbonated beverages, as they weaken your digestion and damage immunity. Instead opt for fresh fruit juices blended at home & stored at room temperature. Drink shakes & juices of grapes, watermelon, bel, panna , lassi, which make for healthier choices. Water & natural fresh fruit juices keep your body hydrated for longer and offer a hundred other benefits.
Diet: To stay cool inside out consume sweet, juicy, bitter fruits and vegetables; water melons, pears, cherries, mangoes and grapes; likewise, vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, cucumber are known to be natural coolants for the body. Avoid hot-spicy food and instead go for mint, fennel, aniseeds and cardamom. Tomatoes, peppers, radishes, onions, garlic and spinach create heat in the body and therefore should be avoided during summers.
Exercises is Super Coolant:
Swimming keeps your body cool during summer. Water cools, plus tones muscles. Morning/evening walk amidst the green works equally well, relaxing your body and mind. Learn to do Shitli Pranayama, under proper guidance. It is a easy breathing exercise with amazing summer benefits, you can do it even in office. It helps to absorb coolness and keep your body and mind cool.
Over exertion and stress aggravates heat in your body, the affect feels more so during summers. If your work is deadline-oriented; involves long commute, constant work pressure, makes life worse during summers. Such individuals should manage time better and learn to balance work with leisure. Guard your weekends, switch off watsapp! Take vacations, practice meditation to de-stress.
If you have to go out in the sun, make sure that you protect your skin & hair from direct exposure of the sun especially between 12pm and 4pm, which is supposed to be the hottest part of the day and also it is believed that sun-rays during this time cause utmost harm. Use a 30+ SPF sunscreen. Drink sufficient water to keep your skin hydrated.
Ayurveda considers summer a season when Pitta in body dominates & energetic principles of fire and water are the strongest. Pitta during summers aggravates due to solar force. Take pitta pacification steps to balance the dosha, talk to an expert.