by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.
After spending the day at Talent Harvest Fest, my heart was warmed by community and my body was exhausted. The festival happened on a perfect sunny day following our first stretch of cool rainy weather. Everyone was so happy to be savoring the last days of summer. I chatted with many people about how they just wanted to be outside; prolong going home to laundry, work related projects, and making dinner. It felt like as a community we were eager to harvest every drop of “fun” from summer, yet there was a tangible taste of fall in the air. After the festival, I realized my heart was in summer and my body was ready to rest in Autumn.
My personal experience speaks to why the change of season tends to make our health unstable. Switching from the “expansive” spirit of summer (think travel, going out more, and staying up late), to autumn a more “contractive” time of going inward, being at home, and sleeping more can be a challenge. Adjusting our lifestyles to the changing needs of the season is something most people do not consider, it simply is no part of our cultural consciousness. However, learning to honor the changing needs of your health in relationship to the season is a wise way to improve your health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine associates autumn with the metal element and the Lungs. This season governs organization, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. The energy of the lungs is “letting go”, autumn is a perfect time to let go of anything that you may be holding on to. Special attention is given to Lung health as they are the most vulnerable during this season. Emotionally, the lungs coincide with feelings of grief and sadness. Unresolved grief, sadness, and difficulty with letting go will stagnate the lung meridian and make one more susceptible to illness, often causing symptoms of chest tightness, cough, or low immunity.
Awareness is the first step in making changes to your health.
The practice of cultivating awareness that your lifestyle needs to adapt to the change of seasons is a huge step for your wellness and quite intuitive when given attention.
5 ways to stay healthy this Autumn
1. Breathe deeply
-take the time to breath deeply and fully exhale…letting go all the way of the breath. Come back to deep breaths all day long.
-take advantage of Autumn’s energy of letting go to forgive others and yourself
3. Purge /Give away
-purge what you do not need in your closet, shed, heart…relocate things to friends. Make room for your inward work.
-the ultimate letting go. Aim for 1 more hour of sleep per night.
5. Take immune tonics
-Recommit and stock up on your immune tonics; Vitamin C, D, Tonic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, etc.
Cheers to gracefully transitioning from an external to a internal focus, to letting go of what you don’t need anymore, and to embracing Autumn.