Fall has always been my favorite season, but also a very challenging time of the year. My constitution gets aggravated, I feel anxious, and tend to experience restless sleep. I am easily distracted, have difficulty focusing, and feel a compulsion to simplify, to escape to a cabin in the woods where I can sit by the fire, drink chai, and knit or read a riveting novel.
Staying focused while managing my tendencies towards windy, scattered, and ungrounded energy in a season that inherently creates aggravation is difficult. At the same time, I am in love with the scents of fall, the flavors, the crisp morning air and afternoon sunshine, the colors, the invitation to rest, to gather with friends and loved ones, to honor the harvest and abundance of spring and summer, and to be replete with gratitude.
Nature has a beautiful rhythm, manifesting in such incredible and unique energies through each season.
We, too, have an inherent rhythm designed to be in harmony with that of our world and with nature. Knowing and honoring that rhythmic nature while engaging in habits that allow for a fluid dance with the seasons allows for thriving.
Each season has its own particular elemental nature.
Fall, as a transition season, has the elemental nature of air and space. The qualities of air and space are cool, mobile, light, dry, and crisp. These elements are often associated with spirit.
In our bodies, air and space are found in every organ that holds space and everything that moves: the lungs, colon, joints, and elements of the mind. It is associated with hearing/sound and touch.
To work with the energies of fall, to bring balance to the extremes of the air/space elements, we are invited to engage in activities that nurture grounding, rooting, stability, warmth, and moisture.
The following tips will help bring balance to our systems in the fall and will allow us to delight in this incredible season, without feeling at odds and off-kilter.
Eat warm, cooked, and grounding foods —
Fall foods are rich in sensory delight. Squashes, root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, Jerusalem artichoke, ginger, and onions nourish the digestive tract. Dark leafy greens supply minerals essential for cultivating structure and the earth element. Soups, stews, and curries with the addition of spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, curry, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, and cloves invite pleasure and balance. Cooked apples and pears offer sweetness. Healthy oils also support grounding.
Reduce distractions —
A fall practice of waiting to look at your phone or computer until you have fully woken up and taken a few minutes for centering and gratitude is powerful medicine. Notice if you need to say no to something in your life or make time for rest. Perhaps even pick a few hours or a day each week to completely unplug.
Laugh, sing, play music, and dance —
Pleasing sounds nourish the air element. Play and dance bring us into our bodies, into our root center, our senses, and our sense of delight, joy, nourishment, and connection that settle the potential frenetic energy of fall. Laughter and singing move energy through our lungs, clearing stagnant grief energy and infusing joy. Engaging in pleasure and play invites a sense of safety — of being held and nourished by life. The greater our sense of safety, the less our bodies and minds need to be in a state of defense or fear. The adrenals thrive. We have more capacity to adapt and move through the transition seasons with grace and ease.
Be in bed by 10pm —
A healthy sleep routine nourishes the adrenals and brings grounding and rest to a scattered system. Reading, taking a warm bath, listening to music, gently stretching, or meditation before climbing into bed are a great substitution for electronics in the fall.
Take time to notice your breath —
To support fall’s lung energy, grounding presence, nourishment, and connection to your own rhythms, pick one thing that that you do on a regular basis (i.e., getting in your car, going to the bathroom, touching a particular door knob, picking up your phone) and allow this to be the reminder to take two deep, nourishing breaths. Notice what you are feeling and sensing in that moment, and repeat!
Dr. Amy Chadwick is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor at Four Moons Spa in San Diego. Trained in the intricacies of human physiology and Endobiogenic medicine, Dr. Amy offers individualized medicine, allowing her patients to develop self-agency and self-actualization through understanding by honoring their unique expression of disease and health, cultivating the patterns that invite a thriving life.