August 29th, 2020
Eat, Reflect, and refresh your way into the fall season!
Fall is a favorite season of mine. Is it one of yours too?
The colors, new smells, and above all, a different pace. Summers heat makes the season feel fast, and as a result we feel as though we must move fast too. Fall sets a different and slower pace.
One of the classical texts in Chinese Medicine, The Yellow Emperor says,
“Don’t rush, and you will avoid autumn’s injuries.”
As we begin the gradual transition into fall, use these three practices to welcome in the fall season with ease.
The seasonal change is an invitation to reap the benefits of natures cycles and rhythms.
When I lived in the mountains of North Carolina, where I studied Chinese Medicine, I experienced fall in a whole new way. This new experience was mainly due to my connection to the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine. The five elements are all around us. They are fire, earth, water, metal and wood. Each element shines during their associated season, yet plays a roll in each.
We just left the fire season of summer, where we drank cooler drinks and enjoyed raw foods. Now we’re move into the cooler temperatures of the metal element. Winter will give us water, and spring shows us wood. The ground we walk everyday is our earth element.
Now that you know a bit about each element, let’s go further into the Metal Fall season!
1. Prepare Your Body
We welcome cooler weather with the Fall season. Its chill is first noticed in the early mornings and late evenings. As our external environment cools, our internal environment cools as well. We can no longer rely on the heat of the summer to warm us. As we prepare for fall, we now need to rely on foods and beverages to provide our body with the warmth it needs. Yes, this means that we need to say goodbye to raw fruits, vegetables, and cold drinks like smoothies and juices.
Warm up with these foods:
- Mustard greens
- Sweet and white potatoes
- Black beans
- Aduki beans
- Fresh ginger
- White peppercorn
During the fall season, it is best to enjoy foods that are baked, sautéed, or cooked in a Crock Pot.
Let’s not forget, fall equals soup season!
A common symptom we can experience as the weather cools is cold hands and feet. This occurs because the warmth in your body is being sent to protect your organs. Therefore, there’s not enough internal warmth to circulation to our extremities. In order for our body and our organs to function properly, they need to be warm. Our organs take priority, and as a result our hands and feet feel cold.
We alleviate cold hands and feet by adding more warmth to our internal body. When we add more warmth, there’s enough for our internal organs and our extremities (hands and feet). When there’s enough to go around, all part of our body feels warm!
The foods listed above will warm up our body. Pick your favorites from the list and enjoy! I tend towards warm soup, a cup of ginger tea, and a simple bowl of rice, broccoli, and beef.
Due to the cooler temperatures, our physical body often struggles to keep up. This means that we are more susceptible to colds and flus. Now is the time to boost your immune system. This can be done by following the dietary recommendations above and also with herbs and supplements. Read more here within this post!
2. Reflect on Months Past
As we transition into fall, we’re nearly three-fourths of our way through the calendar year. By this time, much has been accomplished and experienced in our lives. Rather than putting it all behind us and carry on, I encourage you to reflect on the previous eight months.
This process of reflection is an opportunity to acknowledge and honor our experiences. It also leads us towards appreciation and gratitude for all that we have been through. Where we are now is because of where we were then.
As the fall equinox approaches, I feel a sense of settling. The fiery summers season that once warmed my body has come to a close. The shorter days and cooler temperatures lead me to slow down. I’ll take an evening or two to acknowledge my accomplishments, disappointments, major events, frequented emotions, and where I spent most of my time. I write while I take myself through this reflection. The process of writing solidifies the past few months and encourages a deeper sense of recognition and understanding. If writing isn’t for you, any art form or creative process will do. Let your art be a reflection of your months past.
Chat with friends and family about your own reflection and theirs. Laugh, smile, cry, feel heaviness, and peace for all that has come and gone. We cannot go back, but we can go forward with a better understanding of our choices.
Personally, this past year has welcomed a new journey in a twice familiar city. Before arriving, I left a city I never expected to fall in love with. I became an aunt. I said goodbye to old relationships and slowly welcomed new ones. In these past 9 months, I doubted myself, and felt confused only to then settle into stability, freedom, and curiosity.
What have you experienced this past year?
3. Refresh Your Home
One of my favorite ways to prepare for and welcome the fall season is by refreshing my home. Similar to spring cleaning, fall encourages us to reduce and eliminate. It’s the perfect time to make physical space for what will be needed this winter.
My personal refresh often takes place over several weeks. I’ll do a little here, and a little there. I rarely commit a whole day(s) to this refresh because I want to feel at ease during the process, as well as a sense of discernment.
I like to clean out junk drawers, the refrigerator, pull clothes for donation, dust, vacuum under the beds and coaches, and reorganize. In addition to reducing and eliminating, I’ll refresh my home by inviting the cool fall air in by opening the windows. I’ll also move furniture around, bring out cozy blankets, and maybe spring for a new rug, lamp shade, or plant.
This refresh is all yours! To help you along, check out this book on Feng Shui. In the meantime, here are a several questions you can ask yourself while refreshing your home:
- When was the last time I used or wore this?
- Would someone else get better use out of this?
- Can this item be placed somewhere else for better access and use?
- Why I am holding on to this?
- If I had more space, what would I want to fill it with or would it be better empty?
- Is there an area of my home that is crowded or cluttered?
- Would it be possible to move more easily through a room by reorganizing it?
- If I could add something new to my space, what would it be?
Share your home refresh experience with friends and family. It’s something different to do. I love to incorporate others’ suggestions, especially when it comes to design and organization. By sharing this process with your friends and family, you’ll add a pieces of them into your home.
before you go! Here’s one more way to prepare.
Wear a scarf!
By wearing a scarf, you protect yourself from the wind. Chinese culture and Chinese medicine believes that the wind heralds a thousand diseases! That’s reason enough to wear one for me. If you’re traveling, where a scarf on the plane, train and even in the automobile.
Prepare and welcome in the fall season like you never have before!
Fall is the season that invites us to prepare our physical bodies for colder months and one that makes space for reflection and a refresh.
I hope you found this post useful and will considering preparing for fall one, two or maybe three of the ways that I like to. Let me know how do you like to prepare into fall!
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.