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Autumn Health and Harmony

It’s fall! We have passed the equinox, there is a bite in the air and a bright and sharp quality to the light. It’s time for harvesting, getting back to business, and settling into a routine that helps us feel nourished. It is also time to make some seasonal adjustments to how we are eating and our routines to help us to be more in harmony with what is happening in nature. These adjustments will help support immunity and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Below you can see our recommendations for easy dietary and lifestyle changes to help you feel more grounded this fall.

1. Eating for Fall Wellness

As the weather cools down, it is important to use food to help keep you warm. In the Chinese tradition, warming foods are not just cooked foods, but foods that have been determined to have a warm nature. For example, lamb is considered to be warming while fish is more cooling. Certain spices and aromatics can also be warming. In-season foods are also preferable during this season with a focus on foods that have a slightly sweet flavor.

Consider increasing or adding the following foods to your diet over the next few months.

  • Lamb

  • Ginger

  • Cinnamon

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Turmeric

  • Root Vegetables

  • Seasonal Squash

  • Soups and Stews

  • Herbal teas

2. Building a Routine That Supports Wellness in the Fall

In my mind, there is an essential paradox in the fall. On the one hand, there is a great sense of organization and productivity (related to the Metal element in East Asia medicine). On the other hand, there is a desire to slow down, get cozy and prepare for the great hibernation of winter. How can we manage both of these seemingly separate states of being at the same time? Focus and clarity are key (more relations to the Metal element). We must know what it is we truly need to accomplish and work on with great clarity and efficiency so that are able to start the seasonal shift of moving more inward and slowing down. It is easy to get worn down this time of year and to feel pulled in different directions and overwhelmed. Being too busy and stressed often leads to catching a cold. The frequent change in weather and temperature can also impact our immunity.

To avoid illness and overwhelm, here are some ideas to help you shift towards a harmonious balance in your daily routine.

  • Go to bed and wake up a bit earlier.

  • Dress in layers and try not to get chilled. Consider wearing a scarf or hat.

  • Journal before bed.

  • Spend time outside every day.

  • Expose your arms and face to 15 minutes of sunlight a day when possible.

  • Do some moderate exercise every day.

  • Make sure to take breaks every 60 to 90 minutes when you are working.

  • Try skin brushing or contrast showering to support the lymph and immune system.

  • Give yourself 10-20 minutes of quiet alone time every afternoon.

  • Eat warming and nutritious foods to nourish your body.

Bringing more warmth, personal time and reflection will help you to feel more grounded and will also support your immune system. It’s time to let go of summer and make the shift towards enjoying the calm and brilliance of fall.

Anna Master, LAc, MSOM

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