For many of us, life is shifting into high gear as the summer fades and the last months of the year approach. School has resumed, vacations are over, play time makes room for work time and the preparations for holidays already start to loom.
Paradoxically, as the days become cooler and shorter, our natural inclination is to recede and start a journey toward the quieter, introspective months of winter. Modern urban cultures often don’t acknowledge these seasonal cycles. We adjust our thermostats, turn on our lights and watch the transition through our windows, as if it’s all occurring outside of us. However, these cycles do affect us. Seasonal illness, melancholy and overwhelm are only a few of the symptoms of a bumpy ride into Autumn.
There are some simple ways to honor our changing needs and take care of ourselves that allow us to experience the joys of Autumn to the fullest.
- Don’t wait until the sniffles start to grab the hot tea and honey. A warm cup of ginger tea can relax your mind, warm your body, strengthen your immune system and support your digestion. Green tea, peppermint or an immune support blend are also beneficial.
- Enjoy Autumn harvest. Eating the seasonal foods of your environment is one of the most proactive steps you can take to balanced health. This time of year, the seeds fall off the trees and the root vegetables and squash ripen. These foods provide us with the concentrated energy needed to support us into cooler, drier days. Many of them are also rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants.
- Listen to your Mother and wear a scarf. Our daily temperatures can fluctuate from seriously chilly in the early day to almost hot under mid day sun. These dramatic changes can be a shock to our system and immunity. Even though its tempting to endure the chill, it can easily lead us down a road to illness. Layering your clothes and keeping your neck warm will help you avoid the respiratory illness notorious in these months.
- Move and stretch your body but consider before initiating an intense new regimen. Exercise is invaluable for our muscles, heart, lymphatic system and mind. However, our energy starts to deplete during this seasonal transition and if we expend more than is available, we feel it. If you are starting a new exercise program, start slowly. Long walks outside have an eternal romantic connection with the days of Autumn and are an ideal form of exercise during this time. Not only does it provide for us physically but it also allows us time to contemplate (an innate part of the season), breathe, cherish the hours of sunlight and experience the beauty of the changes of Fall. It literally allows us to “walk in step” with the natural cycles.
- Detox gently. Herbal and dietary detoxification programs have become very popular over the last several years. The benefits to overall health are wonderful. Done consciously, a seasonal cleanse can support the immune system and create vitality. If you choose to commit to a cleansing program during this transition, care is important. If interested, you can refer to our previous blog article on gentle seasonal detoxification.
- Let go of what doesn’t benefit you. This is always a goal in life but right now the entire cycle of nature is supporting your decision. It’s the time to let go. Trees don’t hold onto seeds, thinking they may still need them in the future. If they did, there would be no more trees. Obligations that are starting to overwhelm, emotions that haunt, material possessions that clutter can all depart smoothly during this season. It cleans the slate in preparation for all the new and exciting growth of the future.
Acknowledging the seasonal transition is in itself a powerful was to align with all the changes. This year our Equinox is early in the morning on September 23rd, the time when the length of the day and night are equal. The hours of daylight start to diminish in comparison until December 21st when we reach our Winter Solstice. Cultures throughout time have gathered on this day to say farewell to the summer and prepare together for harvest and the winter ahead. Take a few moments this week to contemplate this shift and how it affects you. Make some personal plans to take care of yourself and experience all of the gifts of this beautiful, inward moving season.photo credit: Michal Koralewski