It’s official – we are in autumn! I even broke out my for real autumn-winter wear boots this week. In Chinese medicine we take it seriously that us humans are a true reflection of nature, and this includes the seasonal changes too. Thus, one of our measures of “health” is how well we weather the weather. In the treatment room we tend to take note of how people do from season to season, looking for patterns that illuminate where some of the imbalances are occurring at varying times of the year which are influencing issues like overwhelming fatigue, allergies, sleep difficulty and even who gets a cold, flu or sinus infection when it comes around and how hard it knocks them over.
So if the open windows, chilly feet or even the leaves that are just now beginning to fall to the ground haven’t inspired you to take nature’s hint to let yourself fall into autumn, here are some things I like to do to make sure that I am in alignment with the seasonal changes. These kinds of practices help secure well-being in autumn and also winter and spring as well.
1) Wear layers and keep your neck and feet protected. It’s windy out now and that wind and chill in the air can seep into our bodies, especially through our necks and even our feet. As hearty as our feet are for walking around, and as much “weight” as our necks hold up, they are still delicate parts of our bodies, susceptible to the climate. If you ever had a grandmother-type tell you to cover your neck or put on real shoes, and the famous “don’t leave the house with wet hair!” it’s because she was giving you years of collected wisdom from generations of folks who were working to keep from becoming ill during the cold wet months of the year. In this transitional weather it’s good practice to have a scarf or collar you can easily pop up, shoes that cover your feet and jackets and other layer-able items to help deal with the ever changing temperature outside and the fabulous autumn breezes.
2) Consume warmer foods and beverages. I like iced tea as much as the next person though this time of year is better suited for the hot stuff. Swap out iced drinks for room temperature ones; these are easier for your body to assimilate anyhow as cold drinks can ask too much of our metabolic fires and tire our digestion. Use warmed-up foods in salads like cooked sweet potatoes, grains, greens, and meats or swap out salads in favor of soups.
3) Get some more sleep! It’s lovely when the night breeze comes through the windows and I am snuggled up under the warmth of my covers. Though do make sure that breeze isn’t getting you in the back of the neck (see # 1). It’s getting darker earlier which means it’s time for an extra bit of shut-eye (and for that matter a bit of slowing things down in general). Head to bed 30 – 60 minutes earlier and start filling up your internal energy reservoir for the busy holiday season. It will be here before you know it.
4) Let it go, let it go. People love spring cleaning though I love fall cleaning! The trees let go of their leaves, the planet let’s go of long days of sunshine and it’s a great inspiration for me to let go of the junk that’s clogging up my closets, desktop and my mind so I can slow down and breathe easier. Yep…we have a lot of crap running circles in our brain-space and I for one do not need to keep it hanging around. Clear out the stuff you don’t use or value dearly and then write down all of the garbage-thoughts you’ve been chewing on and them burn them in a fire-safe container with a strong intention to say farewell to the unnecessary!
5) Get inspired! What does it for you? An amazing book, a motivational speech, the best concert you’ve ever seen your favorite musical artist perform, or even math problems!? Whatever your turn-ons are as far as inspiration goes, now is a great time of year for pursuing them. Especially now that you let go of the junk renting space in your mind, there’s more room in that gorgeous brain of yours to make more of that inspiration.
Enjoy this gorgeous season! I’ll be thinking of you while I enjoy my mug of hot apple cider.