The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the trees are changing colors.
Mother nature is making her transition from the heat of summer to the cooler, windier days of fall. One thing I have learned about staying vital and healthy is that taking a little extra care during times of transition goes a long way in maintaining my immune system and overall well-being.
In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and medicine, each season has a quality about it. Summertime is hot and active, fall and winter have a cool, windiness about them, and spring time moves from dormancy to coming alive after a long rest. Taking time to notice the world around us can give us some ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy as we move through our year.
Ayurveda says that most diseases are born during the changing of the seasons. This is seen as children begin to go back to school, and the sniffles and sneezes of fall sets in.
Seasonal changes often leave us unbalanced and in need of self-care and attention to one’s own well-being.
The basic thing to understand about our bodies, minds, and the world around us, according to Ayurveda, is that LIKE INCREASES LIKE and OPPOSITES BALANCE. It’s really quite simple, when the weather is warm during the summer time, we restore balance by staying cool.
Fall on the other hand, with its characteristic of being cold, dry, light, rough, dispersing, moving, and quickly changing, to bring the mind and body into balance, an individual needs to balance these qualities out with opposite qualities. The opposing qualities include warmth, moisture, nourishment, smoothness, slowness, regularity and focused.
Transitions are sometimes hard on our bodies, and extra care and upkeep must be taken to stay healthy and vital. Let’s take a look at some simple practices you can do to support yourself and make this transition into fall a little smoother.
Get Grounded: As the seasons shift, it is an excellent time to begin to cultivate some stillness in your daily life. Take time to connect with yourself. Make it a point to reduce the amount of rushing, traveling, and running around that you are doing. Just like mother nature is preparing for a long winter’s rest, begin to draw your energy inward. Start to focus in on your home life. Stay in more, make your home cozy and warm. This is a good time to take note of how much time you spend watching TV, on your computer, or on your cell phone. Setting aside time each week to get into nature, will provide your mind and body the space to slow down and ground.
Eat Warming Food: Many ancient practices, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, advocate being in harmony with the environment. The seasons affect us not only in how we react to the outside climate but also by the foods that are naturally available to us. If you take a look around, notice what foods come into season in the fall. While we may enjoy light salads and cold drinks in the summer, fall time begs for highly nutritious, warm cooked foods and drinks. Here, you can find one nourishing fall recipe that includes one of my favorite Cured spices! Ensuring you are nourishing yourself with warm and wet foods like soups, stews, and properly prepared porridges invite in the qualities we are looking for. Other warming foods that you can include to your grocery list this season include sweet potatoes, squash, beets, hearty grains, clove, and cinnamon. Pumpkin spice, anyone?
Close Open Loops + Create Rhythm In Your Life: Although it can be scary to think about how the year is flying by, autumn presents an opportunity to slow down and settle back into a routine after the indulgences of play during the summer. A practice to close those loops that may still be open from the first part of the year is to look back to the goals and intentions you set at the beginning of the year. How far have you come? What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year? What mindsets and actions will help you get there? Sticking to a regular meal and bedtime can go a long way in creating balance and in helping you feel grounded. Our bodies do best when in rhythm with nature. Go to bed when the sun is down, and rise when it begins to rise. Finding a grounding, quiet work space – such as a cafe or library – can inspire you to shift into back-to-school mode and motivate you to make progress on any projects that have been on the back burner.
Let Go: Just as the trees shed their leaves, letting go of what no longer serves you or what you’ve been trying to move past can be scary, yet liberating. Seasons are proof that nature is cyclical! Embracing this concept can provide reassurance – as there is always something new to look forward to. A little cleansing and purification is recommended during the change of the seasons, Out with the old to make room for the new. This can be both to your external environment you are living in, as well as your internal environment that may be holding on to a few summer toxins.
Get Cozy: Seasonal shifts provide a wonderful opportunity to whip out your favorite sweater (perhaps some grounding earth tones) and cozy up with a serving of CBD, a good book, and a cup of tea. Autumn is about feeling warm and fuzzy! Channel that energy by incorporating soft throws in your din or lounge areas, lighting candles, having your tea kettle on hand, and setting your table to welcome friends and family into a vibrant environment!