Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year. The leaves become these vibrantly bold colors while the air gets crisp. Nourishing fall foods fill the farmer’s markets and give the house such a rich aroma of sweetness when roasted. I love seeing kids playing out on their front lawns in jeans and a big sweatshirt; it triggers me to pull out my favorite sweaters and layer up. Then the leaves begin their descent from branches, dancing through the air as they gently fall to the ground.
Autumn is a season of visible change. All too often we don’t realize or recognize the changes occurring around us because this also happens to be a very hectic time of the year.
Think about it…
Late August/early September is back to school time. Prepping those kids (whether big or small) for a new school year can be lots of work. Their new schedule with school, homework and extracurricular activities is a transition. For many of us, work tends to get busy around this time of year with deadlines, late hours and more responsibilities. The stores begin marketing for Halloween which means sugary treats are tempting us at every place of business that we walk into. For most of us, this begins the severe sugar roller coaster ride that lasts through New Years when we’re determined to clean up our act for January.
Gathering for the holidays can be a wonderful time for some, yet a taxing time for others. It’s almost always a stressful time when it comes to holiday shopping, whether it’s financially or scurrying to get your holiday shopping done in time for get togethers…amongst all the other things you have to do. Throw a few work holiday parties in there with late nights, too many glasses of wine or pomegranate martinis and those not-so-healthy plates of food…it can cause dizziness even thinking about it all! We’ve somehow got it all backwards.
We live so fast nowadays that we fail to slow down and truly experience the change of season by connecting with our natural rhythm (because it aligns with nature’s natural rhythm!). By this I mean Autumn should be a time where we focus on slowing down, grounding and nourishing ourselves in preparation for the cold winter months ahead. Not speeding up and over-scheduling. It’s a time to quiet down, limit the amount of time you spend around or using electronics and embrace the sun setting earlier as an excuse for you (and the kids, if applicable) to get to bed earlier. It’s a time to enjoy grounding root vegetables that are grown deep within the Earth, that provide the true sweetness that our bodies are craving. It’s a time to get outside for a brisk walk to enjoy the fall foliage, fresh air and sunshine before the bitter cold keeps you indoors.
When we align our lifestyle with the seasons, we live in harmony with nature. When we live in harmony with nature, we’re healthier and happier. Living in harmony with nature boosts our immunity. For example, fall marks the beginning of the “flu season.” However, the flu is not a season; it’s an inability to adapt due to decreased sun exposure and water intake, combined with increased sugar intake, sleep deprivation and stress. In other words, we’re not taking the time to slow down and take care of ourselves during the season change…and we desperately need to!
5 Tips to Embrace Autumn Health
Nature knows best, and once we embrace it, follow it and observe it we can reap all of it’s infinite beauties. That being said, it’s a lot easier said than done! Here are a few tips to get you focusing on grounding this Autumn:
1. Avoid Schedule Overload
Just say NO. As fun as it may be to fill up your schedule with things to do or responsibilities, it can also burn you out! Start to say, “NO” to certain things that you’d usually say yes to taking part in or helping out with. This can even be applied to things like a TV show series, or time on Facebook. This may seem selfish, but it’s actually not. When you take the time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate, you’ll be that much more productive in your life (whether it be at work, in personal relationships, as a parent, etc.).
2. Go-Go Gadget Free
Designate a time and a place to go gadget-free in your home each night. For example, declare your bedroom, kitchen and living room a gadget-free zone after 6pm every night. The bright light from computers, tablets, phones and other gadgets confuse the body to thinking that it’s still light out stimulating it instead of preparing it for bed. This allows you to focus on those around you while you begin winding down from your day. Keeping the lights dim after the sun sets will help the body to understand that sleep is coming soon, and hopefully will let you sleep soundly.
3. Roast Up Those Veggies
After picking up some of your favorite fall vegetables (think butternut squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts, onions, potatoes, etc.), chop them all up into bite-sized cubes and place into a large mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle chopped vegetables with (melted) grass-fed butter (such as Kerrygold) or (melted) organic red palm oil, then toss with sea salt and fresh pepper. Roast vegetables on a large roasting pan for about a half an hour (more or less depending on your oven), flipping once or twice while cooking.
4. Schedule Self-Care
Make time to read a book that you’ve been meaning to, book a massage that you desperately deserve, journal, call a great friend that makes you laugh, or soak in a hot bath one night. Anything that will help you feel special while winding you down from the business of life will help keep you happy and healthy.
5. Get Some Sleep
Sleep deprivation can be linked to a number of different illnesses and diseases. It’s also what may be causing those intense sugar cravings throughout your day. A lack of sleep definitely compromises your immune system. Make sleep a priority by aiming to get to bed at 10pm (no later than 10:30pm). This may take some getting used to but you (and your family) will soon start to notice the positive effects it will have on your health!