It’s FALL AGAIN! Absolutely my favorite time of the year.
The leaves are turning to bold oranges, yellows, and reds. There’s a chill in the air. And the sky is that perfect, crisp blue that only shows up during the fall season here in the New England states.
There’s a lot to be grateful for this time of year: relief from the blistering heat and humidity of summer, the bounty of harvest, new beginnings, football season, and more! But along with all that, of course, comes the shorter, darker days and the influx of colds, flus, and allergies.
In Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the Metal element, the Lung organ system, air, dryness, and grief.
Using these concepts, let’s break-down a few tips to help us navigate our physical, mental, and emotional changes this fall.
1. Clear Excess + Consolidate Focus.
The Metal element controls strength, decision making, and letting go. This is the time of year to shed our leaves, to harvest our bounty, to LET GO of the work we’ve done, the experiences we’ve had, and to turn inward to rejuvenate and rest.
This season, we should take extra care to let go of anything that no longer serves us and focus only on the people, work, events, and things that are truly necessary. We should really take the time to evaluate that need and cull anything from our life that doesn’t nourish us.
- The STUFF in our house, our closets, our cars. Do a good clearing of what you no longer need and donate, regift, or toss the rest.
- The STUFF in our heads. Do an inventory of mindsets or left-over feelings, resentments, etc. Try to get rid of anything that no longer serves us.
Know there may be some grief associated with the letting go process, and that’s ok! Try to feel the emotion, consider why it’s there, where it’s coming from, and how you might come to peace with it. Journalling and talking with a loved one helps. Sometimes some deep, belly breathing and sitting in stillness does the trick.
2. Welcome Warmth + Nourishment.
This season shifts us into cooler, dryer weather which affects the Lung organ system directly. If you think about it, our breathing connects us directly to the air outside. The Lungs, then, are our first defense, our first responders to pathogenic factors, as we call it in TCM.
And the Lungs are particularly sensitive to cold, wind, and dryness. A challenging combination this season.
Here are some things we can do:
- Bundle Up. Don’t hang on to the flip flops and tank tops of summer. Dress appropriately, using layers to help navigate the warm and cold temperatures.
- Wear a scarf. In TCM, the back of the neck is known as the Wind Gate, the location where pathogenic factors enter the body and create illness. So, keep it covered!
- Use a neti pot or sinus rinse regularly. Keep those sinus passages moisturized and clear.
- Hydrate. Preferably with room temperature, warm, or hot beverages. The Lungs like moisture and warmth, and we’re fighting against dry and cool environmental elements this season.
- Eat Seasonally. That means, try to avoid overdoing the COLD and DAMP quality foods (i.e. too much raw food, too much dairy, too much processed sugar). Instead, eat what is in season right now: hearty root vegetables and squash. Make soups, stews, and cooked, warming meals. Use garlic, onion, and ginger. Use warming spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, or even cayenne pepper.
Most importantly, though, we should spend some time in gratitude for what we DO have, for the blessings we enjoy in our lives. Curl up in a cozy sweater, grab a nice cup of ginger tea, and write down some of those things you’re thankful for.
I promise, you’ll feel the deepest nourishment when you do.