Children have gone back to school. Leaves are falling from the trees, the wind carries a faint chill, and we know Fall is upon us. The transition from long hot summer days to cooler, darker fall and winter can bring up lots of emotions. In Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the metal element, which “governs the lungs”, and is associated with grief. In the fall, as darkness comes earlier, many can start to experience a seasonal depression. The grief that we continue to carry with us affects us more during this time of year, and our “lungs,” that is, our respiratory systems, suffer from diseases like colds, flu, and allergies.
The trees shed their leaves in order to prepare for winter hibernation. Letting go of possessions and relationships that no longer serve you will keep your stress lower and help you feel more in harmony with your surroundings. Do a “fall cleaning,” saying goodbye to things that are no longer needed, and tidy up your house so that everything has a place. Assess the value of your possessions and your relationships to determine what to keep and what to let go.
During the fall, dryness predominates as the summer rainstorms decrease. Keep yourself nourished and protected from dryness by drinking plenty of tea and water, using a neti-pot regularly, and stashing some hand lotion in your purse.
Wind increases in the fall, and can give you chills, fever, sore throat, and body aches if you aren’t protected from it. Dig out your scarves, and keep your neck covered during this windy time of year.
With grief and sadness coming to the surface, this is a great time to start journaling. Take time each day to write down your thoughts and feelings. This will help you to understand why you feel the way you do, and it will assist you in letting go of emotions that are no longer serving you.
Any time of the year, transitions prove challenging. Maybe you’ve found yourself starting a new job, moving to a new city, getting married, or becoming a parent. Each of these major life transitions can be, on the one hand, amazingly exciting and happy. On the other hand, going through any big change is not to be taken lightly! Give yourself time and space to adjust to these major changes just as you might allow yourself to grieve a loss. Whether good or bad, change is change, so be gentle with yourself through transitions. As the seasons change, pay attention to how your mood, your body, and your lifestyle shift to fit your new environment.
Here are some more of my favorite tips for keeping your sanity during transitions:
1. Stay active. Take time EVERY DAY to take a walk, do some yoga, stretch, ride your bike, and get outside. Activity stimulates your feel-good hormones and increases your energy levels.
2. Maintain your routines. Get up at the same time every morning and go to bed on time each night. This is not applicable if you have a newborn, but don’t neglect your sleep if you’re a new mama—sleep when your baby sleeps and let others take care of things like laundry and cooking. When you stick with a schedule, you keep your sense of purpose, which propels you forward rather than letting you stay stuck in your low mood.
3. Explore new foods, and cook for yourself. Check out your recipe books, pick new meals to try, and eat clean. Sugar, alcohol, and fried foods are not your friends right now. Here are some recipes I love:
If you don’t feel like cooking for yourself, that’s ok too! Pick restaurants and ready-made meals with organic ingredients.
4. Set a new goal. Now that change has happened, give yourself some clear direction! Write down some new ideas for travel, career, family, and self.
5. Get acupuncture. During times of transition, nothing beats acupuncture to get your body and mind connected in a way that will give you the positive outlook you need to
rock this new phase of life.
It’s okay to feel however you feel. I hope you’re now inspired to find the good in each day, and ask for help when you need it. We’re here to accept and support you through all of your transitions, great and small, happy and sad. Schedule an appointment here.