I may be slightly biased, but July is my favourite month. Sure there is my birthday (the excitement doesn’t wear off with age, I assure you), but it’s also the most relaxed month of the year. As a child, it’s when you finally settle into the long summer vacation and as an adult it’s when most of us take a little break to recharge and refresh.
This particular July has been quite dreary and grey in London. The constant drizzle and decidedly un-summery weather means
I still haven’t retired my scarf and coat. My poor arms haven’t seen the sun in ages!
Since the weather isn’t pulling its weight, I have been cheering up the flat with colourful flowers and fruit; the nectarines this year have been exceptionally delicious and juicy.
1. Some brave souls have rebelled against the climate and are waltzing around town in flip flops (well, at least they won’t get wet socks). Unfortunately, these extremely flat shoes (including fashionable sandals) just aren’t that good for our feet.
2. The damp we’re all feeling can be quite tiring, literally. In TCM too much damp can affect your body, and a weakness in your system can lead to damp, a bit of a catch 22 situation. One way to ward off the effects of damp such as lethargy, a sense of heaviness, headaches etc, is to strengthen your TCM spleen which really dislikes cold and damp. Fellow acupuncturist Carlo St. Juste Jr. describes 5 ways to prevent spleen qi deficiency.
3. I’m optimistic the weather will turn though. As Elaine Fox, a psychologist at the University of Essex in England writes: “Optimism is not so much about feeling happy, nor necessarily a belief that everything will be fine, but about how we respond when times get tough. Optimists tend to keep going, even when it seems as if the whole world is against them.” Read more on how to make optimism work for you or as Dr Fox calls it: how to strengthen the “sunny” brain, and weaken the “rainy” brain.
4. While short term stress can be good and have beneficial effects, chronic stress is bad and can siginificant harmful effects on our bodies and health. We can’t eliminate stress from our lives, but you can shift bad stress into good stress. Dr. Firdaus S. Dhabhar, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford, explores how practicing compassion could prove effective in reducing or eliminating chronic stress.
5. For my birthday treat this year, I got to see the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of the human body at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace. It is truly awe-inspiring to see such detailed and thoughtful sketches that are 500 years old.
You can see all the images here but if you’re in London, I urge you to see the actual exhibition in person.
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