When I was younger, I didn’t pay much attention to the seasonal transitions. More specifically, I noticed the seasons changing but I didn’t notice how those changes impacted me. I definitely didn’t change my behavior or what I ate or how I took care of myself just because it was a different season.
I remember eating ice cream with one of my best friends in the middle of winter when I was high school. We’d walk from her house to the movie theater a few blocks away and the ice cream shop was on the way. The ice cream was sweet and cold and delicious. No matter whether it was July or December, if we were going to the movies, we’d always stop and get ice cream, too.
I was a fairly healthy kid but I was prone to some pretty nasty chest colds, especially through the late-fall and winter months.
When I was in college, I’d always volunteer to work extra shifts at work in December. In addition to end of semester projects, I’d load myself up with work because lost of people were always looking for time off during the holidays and I didn’t care. I was happy to work.
When I finally did take a break, either because I was going home to visit my parents or because the place where I worked would close for the holidays, I’d immediately get monumentally sick. I felt utterly awful and would often be too depleted to do much of anything during my vacation.
In my thirties I started to get wise to these patterns. I discovered Ayurveda (“the science of life” in Sanskrit) and started paying attention to the seasons.
Actually, I didn’t just pay more attention – I started studying the seasons and the unique energy signature of each one.
I noticed that late winter through spring had a damp, earthy quality to it. Both heavy and light, it’s the season of rebirth and renewal, these months move slowly and in their own time as they unfold.
I noticed that summer through early fall was bright and hot, full of intensity. It’s a season of high expectations and desire. And it moves with more speed than we want.
I noticed that mid-fall through winter is dynamic and full of big shifts. The air and the earth start to dry up, while also putting on a pretty spectacular and colorful show. It’s cooler, darker, and a little fragile.
Once I made these observations, I realized that I also had to shift my actions and behavior according to the seasons if I wanted to stay healthy and well.
The most tenuous time for me was during the transition into Autumn.
Autumn is vata season, which means it’s more full of wind and space, so it’s already a little less grounded energetically. I used to ignore this and try to push to do more, to be busy, and to spread myself too thin. I’d eat whatever, even if it was cold and dry and gave me goosebumps.
Now, I align myself more with the season and allow myself to adjust to the transitions, moving with them instead of pushing back against them.
I don’t get sick and I feel less depleted as a result, which is helpful as a mom of 3.
These are 3 of the ways I handle the seasonal transition into Autumn
1. Eating Warm, Cooked Seasonal Foods
As the weather gets colder, eating cold foods becomes less appealing. Plus, it lowers your body temperature, making it easier to get sick or for viruses to take root. It’s also way harder on your digestion. In the warmer months, you body can handle the cold foods because you naturally have more heat. In the colder months, your body has less heat, making digestion slower.
Eating warmer, cooked foods is easier for your body to digest. Basically, your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard.
You can deeply nourish more easily with foods that are easier on your body, while warming you up.
I have a couple of great recipes for the transition into deeper Autumn.
Here’s my newest and recent favorite.
2. Daily Movement that is Strong, Powerful, and Steady
Fast-paced movement would definitely get your heart rate up, but it will also make you sweat more. This is actually great in the spring and summer, but less so in fall and winter. Sweating can actually deplete your body when you are most in need of water and heat.
Slow, steady, and powerful yoga that works your muscles without wearing you out is a fantastic way to keep your body healthy through autumn and winter.
I have a 10-minute yoga practice that is perfect for this.
Check out Daily Hips: 5 Yoga Poses for Hip Strength, Stability, and Freedom.
3. Focusing on my Foundation
What this actually means is a spend a lot more time on my feet. I give my feet a daily rubdown before getting into bed every night. And sometimes during the day, I do this, too.
While this seems like a small, maybe insignificant thing, your feet are what connect you to the earth. Feet are often shoved into shoes all day long. Sometimes you’re standing on them and sometimes you’re ignoring them because you have a hundred other things that are more important in that moment.
But your feet need love.
Reconnecting to your feet will help you stay more grounded and supported as the season transitions.
What do you think of these suggestions? And which one seems most doable for you to try? Let me know in the comments how you will handle this seasonal transition more smoothly this year!