As the gentle energy of Autumn settles around us, wrapping us in her hazy sunny days and crisp evenings it is time to prepare for the turning inward that naturally occurs as we approach winter. Autumn is a time of benevolence, when the activity of summer has slowed, when pastimes become gentler and more leisurely, when we turn our attention within to our own thoughts and dreams.
As the energies of Autumn contract and gather inwards, they cause us to also slow down in readiness for the stillness of the coming winter. The contemplative nature of the season allows time for inner reflection and awareness, providing a space to find clarity before setting plans and goals to initiate in the Spring.
In readiness for increased awareness and understanding, Autumn is a time to embrace peace and avoid engaging in personal dramas. This is the time to practice distancing yourself, to step back from conflict, judgement and other triggers in your life. It is the time to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to potential conflicts.
April is a time of transition for our whole body. As the evening air takes on a bite after the gentle warmth of the afternoon sun our bodies become more susceptible to health problems. Illnesses that have gone underground over the summer will re-appear and new coughs, colds and other infections appear.
If you don’t use this time to build your health and charge up your immune system, you may find yourself more susceptible to winter illness and less capable of throwing off any illness you develop by June.
Change Your Habits
By adjusting your lifestyle to align with the seasonal energies you can strengthen your whole system.
There are a number of changes you can make which all contribute to building your health.
Most people naturally change their foods when the weather cools and Summer salads make way for heavier meat and root vegetable stews and soups. But also adapting your life practices including exercise, meditation and sleep offers huge support through the colder months.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
One of the most important lifestyle changes to make for Autumn and Winter health is to recognise that your body needs much more sleep as it turns inward. Getting seven hours sleep every night is one of the best ways to protect yourself against winter illness. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t recover from a work-induced sleep deprived week by sleeping in on the weekend so it’s important to develop routines that make sufficient sleep every night a regular part of your daily health practice.
If you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, speak to your natural health practitioner now, before Winter, for advice and treatment to help you break this pattern.
Push yourself to rest whenever you need it and take it easy. Develop great bedtime routines to maintain wellness and keep ‘office illness’ away.
These Seven Surefire Ways To Get a Good Night’s Sleep will get you started.
As Autumn settles in it is time to treat yourself with compassion. Be conscious this is the season to be gentle, and wrap yourself with TLC. If you are someone who is constantly there for everyone else, now is the time to turn that caring inwards and say ‘no’ to others.
It is only by first caring for your own needs that you can adequately care for those around you.
Modify Your Exercise
Exercise is a great way to boost immune health.
It increases oxygen levels in the blood. A recent study has shown that there is no place on earth that does not have some level of air pollution. In major cities the level of oxygen in the air is significantly below normal. When you consider that most people also breathe poorly, and that many chronic diseases including cancer are associated with low oxygen levels, the importance of boosting oxygen intake becomes obvious.
Exercise makes you feel more alert, boosts your levels of endorphins to make you feel positive, as well as improving oxygen levels in every cell of your body. But during Autumn it is vital to tone down your exercise program to prevent your energy becoming depleted, as that adversely affects your immune system.
Yoga, t’ai chi or Qi Gong are very balancing and present the perfect exercise option for autumn. Deep breathing exercises and yoga stretching both serve your immune system as well as your respiratory organs through the Winter. Brisk walking and bike riding are other great ways to exercise in Autumn.
Avoid heavy aerobic exercise outdoors in the cooler autumn months, as it may reduce vital energy and weaken your system.
Susceptible Organs During Autumn
The lung and the colon are both organs of elimination and relate to your ability to “let go” on all levels. According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine if your immunity is weak these are the organs that will be affected during Autumn, with respiratory problems including coughs, breathing difficulties and sinus problems, or gut issues like constipation and/or diarrhoea.
These are the organs that are affected when you hold on to grief and sadness. If you are holding unresolved grief or sadenss they eventually affect the health and function of your lungs or large intestine, sending you the message that it is “time to let go”.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatments suggested on this site.