7 Ways To Consciously Prepare For Fall
As the summer comes to end, the pace and rhythm of our activities begin to change just as the season does. In Traditional Chinese medicine, we move away from the outward expansive summer yang energy to a more inward and downward (earth) direction of yin energy in fall. It is associated with the element Metal, which governs communication, order, organization, setting limits and boundaries. It’s the last harvest of the year and brings in cooler, crisp air, colourful leaves and a radical change in our energy and surroundings. In fall, we find a balance in the light and dark within a day, giving us time to adjust to the light and dark within ourselves. The key themes of fall are balance, creativity, clarity and release.
Preparing for the change of season gives your mind, body and spirit the opportunity to shift gears and refocus your energy inversely. The great part about preparing for fall in Lebanon is the slow pace of the change of season, giving you time to prepare yourself before winter sets in. We thought of putting together a list of seven ways to mindfully prepare yourself for the transition of fall.
During the summer season, our energy is much more scattered and dispersed with long sunlight hours and late night outings. September is always an active month with kids back-to-school and work is back in full swing. The great part about September is we glide into a more scheduled life, so everything is much more ordered and structured to our daily routines. Although the busyness can seem hectic, there is an opportunity to gradually re-create routines by slowing down, and fine-tuning and reestablishing your objectives for the end of the year. Slowing down means fewer activities or outings until you flow into new routines that are firmly grounded, giving you time to reflect on new creations or complete those that have drifted far away. The best approach is to build upon things week-by-week, giving you time to incorporate each new activity gradually and consistently.
Morning meditation time
Now that your schedule is more defined, a new cohesive organization is set for everyone in the house even if you don’t have children. If you give yourself 30 minutes every morning to meditate, it allows you to gently start the day while the mind is still calm and the body is well rested. Committing to this morning ritual will not only benefit your physical, emotional and mental well being, but it also sets a graceful tone for the entire day. Who knows, it might even inspire you to end the day the same way.
Throughout the summer, our bodies sweat a great deal, releasing water and salt in the process. This increases the absorption of toxins in the body that need to be balanced through the proper intake of water. Early fall is an excellent time to detox the body as a way to reset and prepare it for the new season. The two main organs in Eastern medicine to focus upon in fall are the lungs and the large intestines. The lungs are a major detoxification pathway, which includes the bronchial tubes, throat, nose and sinuses. The large intestines are also important in the process of detoxification. When the body accumulates toxins, the lining of the intestinal wall eventually builds up mucus. The excess toxins of waste lodged in your colon will have an impact on every part of your body. The skin is the first place where we can see intestinal problems at work in the form of eczema, acne, blotchy skin or rashes.
Fenugreek tea is perfect to soften and remove mucus in the lungs and moisten the intestinal tract to prevent constipation. Both anise and echinacea tea are lung supporters, helping any bronchial complaints, respiratory viruses and asthma. You can also incorporate fall spices of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These spices, herbs and teas all support your intestinal and respiratory function while relieving excess dampness. You can also contemplate a colon hydrotherapy treatment to aid you in cleansing the bowel. The other option is a quick autumn detox for 3 days. In addition, gently cutting back on spicy dishes, cold and raw foods, which create dampness in the body, are all wise choices that follow seasonal temperatures with the aim to gradually move to cooked and warm foods as it gets colder.
Boosting your immunity
If you begin to boost your immune system now, you will be well prepared for winter, a time when we easily get sick, particularly if you have children. The best way to provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs is by eating plenty of garlic, root and green vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains. Consume less alcohol and ensure that you are getting enough sleep. It may seem frivolous, but sleep deprivation and excess stress both increase the hormone cortisol, which overwhelms immune function. Managing stress is vital as it is one of the most damaging forces on the immune system. Make sure you get regular exercise, fresh air and sunlight to keep your vitamin D levels high and maintain your physical vitality.
Dry Body Brushing
Dry brushing has been practiced by different cultures for centuries all over the world including the ancient Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, and Scandinavians. It may be one of the least expensive ways to revitalize your skin and it feels incredible while increasing your energy levels simultaneously. It stimulates vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping the body to detoxify naturally. It also aids the process of exfoliating dead skin cells and assists the skin in absorbing moisture and nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Although people claim that brushing reduces cellulite, there’s really not much evidence to support it, but it does make the skin softer. Try it; you just might make it a regular self-care ritual in the morning and it’s not only for women, but men can also enjoy it too! You can additionally massage coconut or sesame oil afterwards to further stimulate lymphatic drainage while helping to hydrate your skin.
A short video about dry brushing:
Letting go of all things that no longer serve you
The lungs in Traditional Chinese medicine are associated with the emotion of “letting go.” Just as the leaves begin to fall and prepare for winter, we too are following nature’s ability to willingly change, transform and let go. Letting go of things that no longer serve you allows you to channel your energy wisely, release past hurts and resentments, and find clarity with a new outlook within and without.
Since we are dealing with the themes of cleansing and detoxing, it’s the perfect moment to consider releasing all negative and destructive habits that may be blocking your energy, demotivating your spirit, or otherwise harming you. Cleansing and eliminating any toxins in the body is not only a physical process but likewise a psychological one. It gives you an opportunity to clear your mind in order to find clarity and balance. Often, we have mental thought patterns that bring our spirit down, magnify our insecurities or reveal deep limiting thought patterns. Pay attention to any or all thought patterns that may be impacting you in negative ways. Most of us are simply unconscious of these mental patterns that are destructive emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
Complete unfinished projects
We are three quarters way through the year already and often summer is the season we are most distracted and allow ourselves to spontaneously drift in all directions. Autumn is the perfect time to check-in with yourself to see if you have dropped the ball in terms of projects or objectives that you set for yourself earlier in the year. Reflecting now on what you would like to complete before the year ends enables you to use your time wisely and meet those deadlines. It sets the tone and agenda for a constructive and equally productive fall and winter.
That’s all, folks! We hope that these simple mindful practices will help you gracefully transition into fall by finding your balance, clarity, and vision for the end of the year.
Here is a bonus video on Qi Gong for detoxing the lungs and large intestines:
Autumn leaves image: http://acupunctureandbeautycentre.com.au/tips-for-healthy-body-in-autumn