We are fully in the midst of fall. One of the coziest seasons for so many reasons. While some may be mourning the end of summer, a new season is a great opportunity to tap into the state of our physical and mental health and reconnect with surrounding nature, mirroring its wisdom in our own lives.
The transition of seasons from vibrant, outgoing and active of spring and summer, to the more passive, inward and less vibrant seasons of fall and winter directly connects to our health, wellbeing, and daily habits.
Fall is all about letting go. Just as nature starts to release the bounty of summer, we too cleanse ourselves of what we no longer need in our lives. Cleaning, clearing and organizing your surroundings is a great way to connect with this energy of making space to manifest what we want to enter our lives come spring. This is a time to finish up old projects, tie up loose ends, harvest the bounty of your waning garden and begin to make space to imagine and dream what you want to bear into fruition.
Once you have let go of the old, it is time to incorporate practices that will help you get the most out of this wonderful season.
Nourish with Seasonal Foods
Look outside. Do you see the yellows, oranges and reds of nature? Do you see life begin to root back into the ground? Take that as your cue to mirror what is happening outisde. This is the time to warm our bodies with organic soups and organic seasonal vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, roots and dark leafy greens. Mother Nature provides all the ingredients we need to nourish our bodies during the cooler months! And don’t forget the seasonal plants like turmeric and ginger: perfect to make your own spice blends. As the saying goes: "root down to rise up."
Eat Warm Foods
This is connected to the previous point of eating in season and nourishing your body with broths and soups. Fall is the perfect time to step away from raw, cold ingredients and eat warm, cooked foods. Try eating oatmeal or porridge for breakfast and trade raw salads for oven-roasted root veggies for larger meals. When you’re cooking, add in pungent foods such as onions, ginger, garlic, or mustard. If you want something sweet, stick to seasonal fruits like apples, pears, figs, and persimmons with aromatic warming herbs like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom.
Stay Hydrated with Warm Water
Fall weather tends to be very dry, and this dryness can damage the lungs and dry out our skin. It’s especially important to stay hydrated throughout fall to keep the lungs moist and moisturize the skin. According to TCM, the Lung organ is also paired with the large intestine, which can cause digestive issues if the body isn’t properly hydrated. Avoid cold water and cold drinks which can shock the body and drink room temperature or warm water to aid digestion, protect the organs, and heat the body.
Moisturise Your Skin and Move Your Lymph
When you have hydrated from the inside out, turn to hydrating from the outside in as well. Dry skin benefits from a skincare ritual. However, ensure you are using organic and natural skincare products and nourish your skin every day. This is also a wonderful way to turn your attention inward during this season and really care for your body. Dry brushing and massage are also wonderful ways to move your lymph and any stagnation in the body from less movement during this season.
Wear Scarves and Sweaters
Do you see a trend here yet? With the chilly temps approaching, it’s never a bad idea to keep a sweater, scarf, and socks on hand. TCM experts also say they’re particularly important for the Lung organ, since this organ is the first line of defense against cold, wind, germs, and bacteria. Protecting your chest and neck with an extra layer of warmth will guard the Lung organ so it stays healthy and active throughout fall. Also, walking barefoot is a no-no! Make sure you wear socks around the house and avoid sitting on cold surfaces.
Boost your Immune System
Your immune system needs support during the seasonal transition into fall. You can do this by drinking plenty of water, washing your hands often to prevent sickness during flu season, and eating nutritious foods such as broths and soups. Natural remedies and supplements may help you as well! Enter mushrooms, rosehips, cacao, turmeric, ginger, elderberries, hawthorn berries and other immune-supportive herbs and tonics. Bonus if you turn them into yummy warm elixirs and beverages.
It can be easy to just stay at home all the time over the cooler months, but it’s important to get in some movement throughout the day. Inactivity slows down our circulation and metabolism and weakens our immune system. So, make sure you keep your body moving and take advantage of the beautiful golden sunsets and brilliant foliage outdoors.
Sleep with the Cycles of Nature
Shorter days and longer nights mean that we get to extend our sleep in this season. Take nature's cue and wind down as the light disappears. Also, consider incorporating herbs, tea and natural remedies to your routine to improve the quality of your sleep but also the quality of your waking hours. If sleep is disturbed, consider adding Shen tonics like rose or calming herbs like lavender and chamomile to your pre-bedtime routine.
Practice Self Care
After summer and the holidays, our bodies are naturally slowing down. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Learn to manage stress and try to find a moment of peace each day: just brew a relaxing cup of tea, practice meditation or run a relaxing hot bath! Keeping a daily journal is also really helpful. Writing for 20 minutes first thing in the morning is a great act of purification and cleansing, a major theme of the fall and winter months.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake decreases when the days are shorter and the weather is colder. If you find you are not getting outside much, a Vitamin D supplement can boost your mood and immune system. Another way to get that sunlight you crave is to invest in a SAD lamp in order to boost your mood.
Here is an herbal broth recipe for you to make and nourish yourself. This broth is full of minerals and vitamins and is an amazing ancestral medicine. If you would like to add more goodness, feel free to add chicken or beef bones. Enjoy!
1 head garlic (sliced in half)
4 large celery sticks
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
small handful fresh parsley
small handful fresh thyme
small handful fresh sage
3 bay leaves
100 g shiitake mushrooms
100 g maitake mushroom
1/3 cup astragalus root, slices or chopped (or dried astragalus)
1 small piece turmeric sliced in half (or dried turmeric)
3 inch piece of ginger root sliced thin (or dried ginger)
2-3 pieces kombu seaweed 5 inches in length
4 litres/quarts water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Scrub vegetables clean
- Peel and dice onions, chop the carrots and celery into small pieces, peel and slice the garlic cloves, slice mushrooms thin.
- Add a glug of extra virgin olive oil to the stock pot, then cook onions, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms until softened.
- Add all other ingredients to stock pot and cover with 4 litres/quarts water. Cover, bring to a boil, slide lid half off, and simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove from stove top, let cool, strain through a sieve into a second large pot.
- Pour into sterilised glass jars, cap and refrigerate. If freezing, fill glass jars 3/4 full to avoid the glass breaking.
Let us know what you think of this yummy soup! And don't worry, if there are herbs you don't have, feel free to substitute them for other herbs or leave them out. You will still get a healthy broth.
For herb sources, our favorite companies are Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals and Frontier Coop. Of course, Amazon also has many of the herbs.