Fall is here! I love this season. I sort of feel like October and the beginning of November are the calm before the storm of holiday craziness. Here are some of my feel good tips for Fall to keep you centered and your immune system up and running!
- Get enough rest and sleep in one day a week! Figure out what your perfect number is, 7 hours, 8.5 hours, whatever and make a commitment to get to bed nearly at the same time every night. Creating a sleep schedule will help you get more rest and better quality rest. Sleep is our mind’s way of processing our lives. Similar to a computer, when we sleep restfully and long enough our hard drive (our brain) defrags our memories, thoughts, feelings and lessons and stores them away in the appropriate places so we can quickly access them later, when we need them. Without this we are often left feeling spacey or scatterbrained and disconnected. Sleep is also our body’s way of restoring itself after the physical and emotional demands of each day have pushed us to the limit. If you can manage an extra 30-45 minutes in bed one day a week to just peacefully sleep or daydream it will leave you feeling a little indulged and supported.
- Keep your feet, low back and neck covered! You probably read that and either thought, “huh?!” or “duh!” I once went to a Chinese medicine doctor and she scolded me, quite sufficiently, for wearing ballet flats without socks and no scarf in the middle of November. Let’s start with the basic premise of this instruction. In Chinese medicine the saying goes that wind is the harbinger of 100 diseases. Usually it is because of what the wind carries with it. In the case of your body, having your neck, low back and feet exposed to the cold can cause all sorts of tensions and dis-ease. First the cold causes us to tense up to stay warm, which is why keeping your neck and low back warm can be especially helpful to keep the muscle tightness and kinks at bay. Secondly, cold is going to prohibit fluid movement, warm of course encourages it which is what you want. Keeping the bodily fluids, waste, lymph, blood, saline, etc, moving ensures that you’re staying properly hydrated and free from waste. Lastly, the kidneys are an important organ to protect, along with others of course! I won’t get into all the science here but the kidneys are thought of as one of the most important organs in your body. Having strong kidneys helps to ensure the rest of your system is strong. The kidneys are located under the diaphragm near your low back and the beginning point for one of the major kidney meridians is in the bottom of your foot. Keeping these areas covered and supported will help protect the kidneys and your immune system.
- Develop a consist daily practice! It doesn’t really matter what you focus on but doing something daily is shown to create positive results. Whether it is a daily meditation practice, pranayama, yoga, gratitude practice or journaling. Having even 5 minutes each day for quiet and reflection will help you stay more present in the rest of your day. And before you begin to protest, everyone can literally find 5 minutes. Even if it is just a few stretches while you are snoozing in bed before your alarm goes off or a few forward folds before your shower. Maybe you can sit in your car for 5 minutes before heading into work and just take a moment to breathe. Adding in a consistent practice will have far reaching benefits.
- Clean house! People think of spring cleaning as the time to get your house in order but really we use spring cleaning to air out our homes and add some newness to our lives. Now is the time to CLEAN HOUSE! Take some time to inventory what you have and if you still need it. Whatever you can easily part with, donate it ASAP. If you are uncertain about an item or attached to it, take some time to consider your resistance of letting it go. I just posted a meditation about clearing out clutter in our hearts. Try the meditation and see what comes up. Releasing old patterns, emotions and experiences helps to free up your energy and make space for all the new things waiting for you. Similarly, making space in our homes creates space for new and wonderful things!
- Eat for the season! Ayurveda and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) both have suggestions about eating for your individual needs as well as seasonally. Because it is starting to get colder, especially where I live, it is important to eat fortifying and warming foods. Having a salad every day for lunch might make you feel better about your eating habits but by nature raw veggies are cooling and you want warming foods to stoke your internal fire and your metabolism. There are lots of resources online as well as the FREE upcoming Ayurveda Summit in two weeks. Also consider adding spices to your daily foods like turmeric and cinnamon. Every morning I add cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and coconut oil to my tea. It helps stabilize my blood sugar and it warms me up!
- Take time for YOU! Pampering and nurturing yourself is most important this time of year. Our bodies are preparing for winter and we are ramping up for the holidays. To keep the blues at bay and the holiday anxiety from setting in, make a commitment to pamper yourself at least once a week. It can be ANYTHING that makes you feel good. For me it is a nice hot bath, a glass of my favorite red wine or low key evenings snuggling on the couch with my cats, my partner and a few episodes of Downton. Whatever it is for you, do it!
I hope that these tips will add a little bit of freedom and support to your days as we move deeply into the season of Fall! Namaste
While still in bed, bring the knees into the chest and then drop them over to the right side for a few breaths. Inhale them back to center and then to the other side for a few breaths. Inhale them back to center and then reach your hands up over head as you stretch your legs out, flexing your feet and pointing your toes. Slowly roll to one side and use your arms to push yourself up to sit. Sit for a moment and take a few natural breaths. Close your eyes and complete 3-5 rounds of alternate nostril breathing.
Slowly and gently stand. Close your eyes and feel the ground beneath you for a few breaths. Inhale the arms up overhead and open your eyes. Slowly and gently come to a forward fold and with knees gently bent sway from side to side. Repeat 3-5 times. On your last round inhale the arms up overhead and exhale hands to heart center. Set an intention for your day. Namaste and have a great day! 🙂