Moving with the Seasons ~ A Guide to Thrive in Autumn
The warmth of the sun is waning, there’s a cool bite to the morning air and the days are becoming shorter.
It's that time of the year when the natural world almost seems to let out a long slow breath, the dizzying heights of summer have passed and we transition into Autumn.
Autumn is a time of reduction, the drawing inward of energy, with nature prompting us to release and let go of what is no longer necessary fortifying our bodies and minds for Winter. Fallen leaves and fruit return to the earth to nourish the soil for growth and expansion in the warmer months and aligning ourselves with this sense of returning to source acts as our guide when we think about supporting our physical, emotional, and spiritual harmony throughout Autumn in order to thrive.
Moving away from raw foods and transitioning to warming meals is key as we move into Autumn. During the cooler seasons, the body needs to generate more warmth to function. The less warmth that is directed toward digesting excessively cool foods, the more that is available to support other organ systems and bolster our overall physical resilience.
In Autumn we load up on:
Polyphenol and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices:
Sage, rosemary, thyme, rosehip, cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral foods:
Ginger, turmeric, onion, and garlic.
Prebiotic-rich foods to help lay the groundwork for a healthy microbiome:
Seaweed, flax, burdock root, cabbage, asparagus, and Turkey Tail.
Squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, silver beet, Brussels sprouts.
Oyster, shiitake, wood ear.
Lemon, grapefruit, persimmon, avocado, rhubarb, cooked apples.
White rice, and oats.
Nuts, seeds, and for non-vegetarians and vegans slow cooked meats are the way to go.
The medicinal mushrooms we turn to, to provide a strong, nourishing foundation throughout Autumn are:
To nourish and hydrate our fascia, skin and organs against the dry and cool air of Autumn. If a dry cough takes hold during the season, working with Tremella can be supportive to help soothe and lubricate the respiratory tract and lungs.
As the cooler weather descends it’s the perfect time to double down on practices that fortify our internal resilience and vitality. Our immune system is our first line of defence against pathogens and rogue cells. With the change of the seasons, it is more important than ever to keep our immune system healthy and look to ways to prevent catching a cold or speed up recovery time.
While all medicinal mushrooms have their individual benefits, one thing they have in common is their support of the immune system to varying degrees. Turkey Tail along with Reishi are two of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms when it comes to supporting immunity. To dive deeper, head to our journal entry on Medicinal Mushrooms for Immune Health here.
Reishi mushroom doesn't just shine when it comes to immune support in Autumn, we also love working with this beautiful shroom for its stress-relieving benefits and its capacity to nourish the spirit. Daoist monks and sages refer to Reishi as a Shen tonic, which loosely translates to a herb that nourishes the spirit, related to our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Reishi can be a gentle support to the quiet and sense of introspection that comes with the arrival of Autumn.
A warming and invigorating mushroom, we describe Cordyceps as a deep energy awakener. Cordyceps not only helps to support surface immunity it can help fuel our muscles and reserves of adaptive energy to keep us vital and moving over the cooler months. To dive deeper into Cordyceps’ ability to support physical performance head over to our Journal entry here.
Let It Go
Following the motions of the natural world, Autumn is a time to let go of what no longer is serving us. There's a sense of loss that comes with the end of Summer as we shift from an expansive way of being to a more introspective state. Being internally focused can bring up some challenges; feelings of negativity, doubt, and restlessness. Recognising what might be arising within ourselves provides the opportunity to work through these emotions and work where we can to release them and move towards refreshing ourselves with a new perspective. Many of the practices we hone in on during Autumn support this process.
Breathwork can be a powerful tool in calming our emotional and physical state and also supporting the process of release. This could be simply noticing how we are breathing moving from shorter, shallower stress-signalling breaths to longer, more relaxing inhales and exhales, bringing fresh energy to mind, body and spirit. We run through more specific techniques in one of our earlier Journal entries.
Working through our internal and external clutter can be a beautiful way to nurture a sense of release. This can be tidying up at home or at work, donating things you no longer need - rather than a Spring Clean, an Autumn Clean! Internally this could be journaling, meditating, taking time away from screens and external stimulation; whatever method resonates most with you to release accumulated disorder in your psyche.
Get Out into Nature and Bring Nature In
Prioritising our time in nature is thought to support both physical and mental well-being - reducing stress, reducing blood pressure and promoting feelings of happiness and contentment. It can be a great way to move from a state of feeling low or melancholy to a place of awe and inspiration allowing us to connect with the sublime. It’s also a great opportunity to potentially catch some time in the sun and support our vitamin D levels. Healthy levels of vitamin D support our whole body, mood and also immune health offering increased protection from colds and flu.
Additionally, bringing nature indoors with flowers, plants and natural light has been shown to have a big impact on how we feel.
While we’re conscious of slowing down a little during Autumn, coming down from the fast-paced energy of Summer we still want to keep our bodies moving and refreshed with new energy. Wherever you can it’s a good idea to continue with your regular exercise regime to help support optimal circulation, blood nutrient supply and keep the production of antibodies healthy, while also releasing the ‘feel-good’ chemicals dopamine and serotonin. High-intensity activity can be balanced out with slower, more intentional forms of movement such as restorative yoga and long walks.
Autumn brings dry air which can deplete our skin and the cooler temperatures can sometimes repress our thirst response. Our bodies depend on water to survive as well as regulate essential everyday functions like transporting nutrients, releasing toxins and hydrating tissues and organs. A glass of water with a squeeze of lemon is a great way to hydrate and tone the digestive system.
Dry Body Brushing
Dry brushing is an invigorating way to rejuvenate the appearance of your skin by removing dead skin cells and also mobilising the fluid beneath the skin's surface to promote lymphatic flow and increase blood circulation. The best time to dry brush is just before a shower with a natural stiff-bristled brush.
Get Some Extra Sleep
Most Aussies generally get around 7 hours of sleep a night. Moving with the transition of the seasons, the longer nights in Autumn can encourage us to clock a few extra hours on the pillow. High-quality, restorative sleep improves our brain function, muscle recovery, longevity, and helps to lower inflammation and cortisol levels. Cup of Reishi tea to relax before bed, anyone?
We hope working with some or all of these practices helps you to find your own rhythm and drop into a sense of coherence with nature and her cycles. We’d love to hear how you go and if there are any practices you’d add to this list.