Right now, we are in the middle of a seasonal transition. The days are getting shorter (less light!), kids are going back to school, the weather may be changing, seasonal foods are changing. In Chinese medicine, we are moving from summer’s fire element energy (expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, creativity) to fall’s metal element energy (inward activity, harvest, storing up fuel, study, planning for the stillness of winter).
We’ve talked about energetic sensitivity for a few days now and those of you who realize you are energetically sensitive may be feeling the shifting, changing energy of nature right now. Everything in nature is folding in preparing for colder weather. We move from bouncy and bright to preparation for moving into a deeper, more contemplative place. There’s an inward, downward motion to the energy as we prepare.
To some, it can feel like a sad time. Things are changing, there’s less sunlight. For those who get sad during the fall and winter (often called Seasonal Affective Disorder), you may actually be responding deeply to the change in light. Some people’s bodies love the light and it really supports their serotonin levels (happiness hormone). Remember, when serotonin gets low, some people may want to self-medicate with food. Starchy, carby, sweet foods raise serotonin. Like a thirsty body that wants water, serotonin-deficient bodies crave sweets big time. This does not make you bad or wrong. It does not make you someone who has no willpower! This is a physiological drive. Just like thirst.
So How Do You Support Your Body During These Times?
- Go outside in nature and give thanks. Change is stressful and often, we respond to stress by trying to do more or numbing the pain. Or maybe, you are caught in the turbulence of change and blame yourself for feeling “off.” It’s time to reconnect with nature. Nature vibrates at a slower, healing frequency and reminds you how to walk in balance. Go outside, take off your shoes and stand firmly on the ground. Or lie down and feel your body sinking into the earth. Give thanks for this support that is always there for you, always holding you. This support that offers of herself to nourish you. Gratitude is one of the most healing energies we have. In Iroquois culture, we give thanks to all of life at every ceremony and during the 13 lunar calendar months of each year. It’s this gratitude, or thanksgiving, that reminds us how much in life supports and sustains us.
- Meditate. The stillness of meditation allows you to slow down, slowing your mind. Remember, nature is slowing down and going inward. This can feel challenging if you love the busy, light activity of summer. However, if you allow yourself to feel the beauty of stillness, you may find, deep in your heart, that the comfort of still, inward moving energy is deeply nurturing. This is transition! The body often rebels in transition. Like a colicky baby, it needs to be nurtured and supported through the change. Getting still helps.
- Keep your blood sugar stable. The past 3 days of posts have tons of ideas for how to do this. This helps keep your willpower, decision-making, energy sensitivity balanced. It helps reduce cravings. It helps keep your serotonin more stable.
- Eat seasonal foods. Remember that your taste buds connect to your right, intuitive brain. When you eat with the seasons, you are sending the language of the earth’s energy into your body. You are connecting with the earth where it is in this moment and allowing your body to transition along with it. Examples are: small amounts of sour foods, like sauerkraut and raw cultured olives (no vinegar); rose hip tea, lemons and limes, apples, plums and grapes. Root vegetables, like burdock root (which balances blood sugar and helps reduce stress), red skinned potatoes, butternut squash, plenty of sea salt or Himalayan salt (no table salt!), soups, like bone broth and vegetable broth.
Slow cooking methods (low heat, slow cooked for fall) also help your body transition into the fall season.
If you live in a dry climate, you might want to emphasize foods that have a moistening effect in the body, like millet, apples, pears, seaweeds, almonst, pine nuts, honey, eggs, herring, shellfish and mollusks (clams, oysters, crab, mussels), and spinach. Sea salt added to your food helps with this as well.
- Drink water, sip broths and make sure you are hydrated. Minerals aid hydration. As you sip, thank the water. Remind yourself that water is life and you’re returning life to your body as you drink. Water is sacred and you are taking that sacred energy into your body.
- Affirmations: It’s only change, I am safe. All is well.
- Light Boxes – there are light boxes sold on the market for fall and winter months. If you have low moods or depression in the fall and winter, light boxes are a wonderful way to support your body in getting the light therapy it needs. This often means sitting in front of the light box for about 30 minutes in the morning.
- Using food strategically to build serotonin: Consider having a protein with tryptophan in the early morning as a snack or for lunch (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, shellfish or eggs) with vegetables and then around 3:00 pm for a snack or for your dinner, include a healthy starch, like red skinned potatoes or butternut squash or a gluten free grain/seed (millet, buckwheat, rice, quinoa) over a bed of greens. This can help move serotonin from your gut (where it’s made) to your brain.
Choose one or more of these actions based on what you feel drawn to. All of them will help reduce the need to grab processed foods to self-medicate in times of change (and turbulence that often comes with it).
Are you experiencing turbulence or the energy of change?
What’s supporting you in navigating the change in seasons?
What tips have you tried or would you like to try?
Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.
**All change creates transition – trips, job changes, kids leaving for school or home, anything new or different. Learning to support your body and mind during these times often requires slowing down and taking things off your to do list. These are times to be extra gentle and loving with yourself!
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