Taking stock of our lives may not be a practice we often explore, but the emotional benefits of doing just this can be a truly enlightening experience. The transition from summer into autumn is the perfect time for slowing down a little, and reflecting on where we are at.
Spend time in nature – breathing beautiful, clean air draws us back to the simple things. Spend some time walking or sitting in the natural environment and listen to the birds and the stillness. Why not try the botanic gardens, somewhere in the country or a beautiful national park.
Write a journal – start keeping a diary of your everyday thoughts and feelings. Bringing our attention to how we feel about areas of our life is a powerful way to reshape our lives for the better. It can also help to remind us how much we already enjoy about our lives.
Notice your breath – it’s innate in us, and thank goodness it is – but how often do you actually notice your breath throughout the day? As our stress levels increase so too does our rate of our breathing. Just by consciously observing our breath in moments throughout the day, we can become more centred and gain greater control in our day.
Meditate – sounds tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Meditation is really all about being completely present in our bodies. In a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your heart – feel the rhythm as it beats. Now move through your body from head to toe (or whichever sequence you like) and really feel every part of your body. It’s a subtle and peaceful feeling.
Draw a mind map – brainstorm all the key areas of your life and how they are working (or not ) for you. Draw a circle in the centre of the page and label it “My Life”. Then branch out from the centre with circles containing the major elements of your life (eg. work, family, health, relaxation/hobbies, etc.) and day-dream about how you would ideally like these areas to be. It’s a great way to get focused on what we really want out of life.
With Autumn comes the season for harvesting and reflection….
Organs: Lungs/Large Intestine/Skin
Emotion: Grief/Letting go
Common problems: Colds, allergies, sinus problems, bronchitis, asthma, hair & skin problems, unresolved sadness, tension, exhaustion
Recommended: cabbage, chives, cinnamon, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, leek, nutmeg, parsley, pepper, radish, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, turnip, spearmint star anise, root vegetables
Avoid: salads & raw foods
If we look at food in a holistic way, we can see that the foods we eat can have a profound effect on our wellbeing. Choosing to eat foods that are in season is one way to provide our bodies with the nourishment that they need to ensure we stay in optimal health. Autumn is the time to start cooking foods for longer on lower heat, as opposed to the quick and light cooking methods of Summer. It’s time for less salads and more soups.
Foods to eat in Autumn are those that strengthen the Lungs and Intestines and are said to have pungent flavours. Foods and herbs with a pungent flavour are important for the lungs, so it is particularly relevant to eat these in Autumn, when the lungs are most sensitive.
Eating seasonally is about following natural cycles, as energy moves down in Autumn, its also a time to eat more foods that also have downward moving energy, such as root vegetables.