Change With The Seasons - Autumn
The sniffles are back and daylight is lessening with each day— certain signs that Autumn has returned to once again sweep us up into her brisk embrace. For many, this transition out of Summer means battling lowered spirits and viruses while nature prepares for the quieter, colder months of the year.
It's easy to forget in this hi-tech world, yet we are inextricably tied to the patterns of nature and should start to prepare for this shift in seasons.
To stay in harmony with this transitional period—beyond vitamin c and cold tablets— let’s take a cue from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
TCM approaches wellbeing with a holistic and preventative manner and believes we should live according to our connection to nature and flow of the body’s energy, or Qi (chee). In TCM Autumn is recognised as the season of grief and melancholy, highlighting the importance of the lungs and large Intestine, and characterised by an inward, conserving energy - much less lively than summer.
If you are beginning to feel out-of-whack and the cold-weather blues setting in, there are simple things you can start implementing into your commute and work day to combat these uninspired feelings:
Connect to your lungs through deep breathing to bring more Qi into your body. You’ll be rewarded with many benefits, one of which will be feeling less stressed. There are many types of breathing practices but if you don’t want to get too technical, simply pay attention to how you breathe throughout the day. Aim to breathe with your belly, lengthen the exhale, and a longer inhale will naturally follow.
Wave goodbye to Summer as Autumn brings a slow, quiet value to your life
Mirror the slower rhythm of this season and look inwards through self-reflection or meditation. There is no need for incense, complete silence or a spiritual inclination. Simply give yourself a few moments—even where you are now—to feel yourself in your body and in the space where you sit. Watch your thoughts and your reactions to them as they arise. Stop intentionally (or absent-mindedly) doing things for a few moments and allow yourself to be. You may even benefit from choosing an easy to use, modern-looking app such as 1 Giant Mind or Headspace if you’re new to finding your Zen.
Just as leaves are shed in Autumn, a new season is a good reason for you to be (more) minimal and let go of what you no longer need. You can start small with your work space and you might find yourself gradually de-cluttering your whole home. It’s natural to have a strong emotional attachment to material possessions, which can make it hard to rid ourselves of not only objects but the emotions associated with them. Evaluating what you own by whether it has a purpose in your life or simply takes up space, is a good way to help if you struggle with attachment.
As the seasons change so do the seasonal foods and these foods can be used to make meals appropriate to the climate. Autumn yields vegetables like cabbage, kale, broccoli, onions, leeks, beans and pumpkin which are all Large Intestine-loving prebiotic foods you can easily incorporate into a satiating, warm stew. Cold-weather recipes like these are easy to make in big batches, leaving you left-overs for an affordable and healthy work lunch. If you’re feeling adventurous, take some time this weekend to find a farmer’s market where the produce will be in season and local, allowing you to get more abundant and fresh nutrients for your dollar.
Living in tune with the natural world is not easy in a world full of distraction, yet by implementing a few self-loving and conscious-eating practices it can be easier to wave goodbye to Summer and accept a slow, quiet value to your life this Autumn.