The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the trees are changing color. Mother Nature is making the 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 my over all general well-being. Nature won’t adapt to us so we must adapt to nature. Today I would like to share a few simple tips on how to support and nurture yourself during seasonal changes and other times when the body may become stressed.
In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and medicine, each season has a quality about it. Summer time 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. Seasonal changes often leave us unbalanced and in need of some self-care and attention. How many of you notice that kids start getting colds as soon as school is back in session at the end of summer/beginning of fall?
The basic thing to understand about our bodies and the world around us, according to Ayurveda, is that LIKE INCREASES LIKE and OPPOSITES BALANCE. It’s really quite simple. When it is hot in the summer time, we restore balance by staying cool. When we move from the dormancy of winter to the electrified, alive energy of spring, we detox and begin to move our bodies to get in sync with the world around us. Does that make sense?
Fall time is characterized as being cold, dry, light, rough, dispersing, moving and quickly changing. And if we consider the basic principles listed above, we would want to balance those qualities out with opposite qualities of warmth, moisture, nourishment, smoothness, slowness, regularity and focus. Transitions are sometimes hard on our bodies, and extra care must be taken to stay healthy and vital. Let’s take a look at some simple tips to make the change of seasons a little smoother.
Tips for Transitioning into Fall
#1 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. Watch what influences you are inviting into your world. Write. Meditate. Practice gentle, restorative yoga. BREATHE!
#2 Focus on a warming, nourishing foods:
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. Take a look a round and notice what foods come into season in the fall. Winter squash, pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes, root vegetables and dark leafy greens. While we may enjoy light salads and cold drink in the summer, fall time begs for highly nutritious, warm, cooked foods and drinks. Adequate protein intake and high-quality oils are essential. It’s good to minimize all dry, rough, cold food. Dry, cold breakfast cereals and raw foods only aggravate the imbalanced going on. Warm, wet, deeply nourishing foods like soups, stews, and properly prepared porridges invite in the qualities we are looking for. Add some warming teas and stewed apples to your diet. Using warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric brings in the qualities we are trying to embody in fall time.
#3 Create rhythm your life:
Sticking to regular meal and bed times 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 early and rise early. You will feel better. We need extra rest during times of transition. Eat your meals at the same time every day. Have you noticed that the garden is happiest with regular watering? Don’t skip meals. Eats lots of nourishing, nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. If you give your body what it needs when it needs it, you will feel balanced and strong.
#4 Give your skin some love:
Fall time is a common time for the skin to get dry. Ground yourself with daily self-massage. I like to use warming sesame oil in cooler weather. Start with the soles of the feet and work up the body to the head in sweeping strokes along muscles towards the heart, and circular movements around joints. Leave the oil on for 10 minutes then shower/ bathe. Daily massage helps dilate the skin surface, move toxins and keeps the lymph moving. Creating daily self-care rituals is a beautiful way take charge of your own health.
#5 Clean out the old:
A little cleansing and purification is recommended during the change of the seasons. Out with the old to make room for the new. I’m not talking about some crazy detox where you drink nothing but lemon water, honey, and cayenne for 10 days. I’m talking about taking a bit of time to support your liver’s natural ability to remove toxins from the body. The best way to do this is to make sure your digestion is running smoothly. Having at least one healthy bowel movement a day is essential for proper elimination of wastes and toxins from the body. If this is an issue, you may want to take a look at your diet, change the position you poop in, and consider adding a bit of magnesium to your diet. Read more HERE about keeping things moving.
Some other simple things you can do to support your liver are:
- Drink water with lemon in it every morning
- Add a titch of apple cider vinegar to your morning water
- Eat dark leafy greens (arugula, kale, basil, spinach, chard, parsley, cilantro, etc.).
- Eat your beets ( a great natural liver detoxifier)
- Do a little detox yoga (get some ideas HERE)
- Use a dry brush every day to keep the lymph moving and to remove toxins.
- Gently daily exercise
- Detox baths (try adding 2 cups of epsom salt or a cup of apple cider vinegar (or both) to your bath for gentle detox)
Be sure to check out 6 Gentle Detox Routines for Better Health that you can be doing daily at home to support your health.
I hope that you find some of these tips useful. I will continue to share seasonal recipes and health tips to keep us on the road to balanced and vital health. Happy fall, everyone!
For some great fall time ideas check out my recipes for Curried Butternut Squash and Greens, Heavenly Sweet Potato Pudding, Savory Shepherd’s Pie, and Greens and Yam Soup.
photos by: kennymatic & Micky**
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