Do you fancy this time of year? The days fall shorter as the mornings grow longer… a chilly breeze inspires knitted hats and nights around the fire… and a moment of stillness after Halloween leaves us questioning whether we should be busier preparing for the holidays.
The change in temperature from warm to cool that comes with the fall season can make us feel vulnerable to change and susceptible to sickness. The loss of sunlight reduces the body’s physical vitality, while the increase in moonlight invites repressed uncomfortable thoughts and emotions from our subconscious to surface.
It is important to listen to our own needs and make space around dark or depressing feelings or thoughts as we depart summer and approach winter. Below please find five overall tips for creating emotional and mental resilience, boosting the body’s immune system, and embracing change as the only constant this fall.
1. “Up with the sun, down with the moon.” This is the mantra for Ayurveda, or the life knowledge that we consist of the same five elements found in nature. In astrology, the sun represents our individual identity and life-force energy. When the sun goes down, it is time for the ego to rest. The moon represents our subconscious, which needs time to process repressed phenomena and experiences from our day. If you are going to sleep before 10p.m. and rising before 6a.m., you are on the Ayurvedic clock.
2. Cool it down after a hot shower. Perhaps a less obvious way you can support the body and mind in embracing change and boosting immunity is to end your shower with a burst of cold water. By cooling down the body’s internal temperature, you are eliminating its ability to grow potential harmful bacteria, stimulating blood and lymph circulation, and rerouting stagnant or stuck neuropathways toward adaptation, spontaneity, and aliveness.
3. Begin the day with lemon or herbal water. Many of us start the day with a good ‘ol cup-o-joe, but this could actually be adding to our body’s stress levels. Caffeine tells the nervous system to contract the muscles of the body, including the heart muscles. By replacing coffee with warm lemon or herbal water, you are preparing the nervous system for an open and relaxed approach to the day. In addition to lemon, other warming herbs for this time of year include basil, sage, jasmine and honeysuckle. (I like to purchase dried petals and leaves for steeping at The Herbal Path on Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth, NH).
4. Light incense to bless your surroundings. Creating a sacred space for your morning experience and blessing your home environment inspires feelings of spaciousness, gratitude and connection. Purchase a stick of palo santo or sage (herbalpath.com), make sure there are no fire detectors nearby, and as you go about the corners of your room, give thanks. I like to create a small offering to deities including Mother Nature and leave it on my front steps outside my home before meditating.
5. Rub-a-dub down with sesame oil. Similar to the effects of a cold burst of water at the end of your shower, administering self-massage using a warming oil like sesame promotes circulation, stimulates tired or sore muscles, and offers the opportunity to connect with yourself. After your shower, use organic sesame oil (Banyan Botanicals) and rub on yourself in this fashion: long strokes on long bones, small, circular motions on joints and small bones. Offer thanks to your body as you do so.
* If you are further looking to boost your immunity and promote the mind-body-heart connection, I highly encourage you to check out our exciting workshops offered this month at Ride the Wave.