"It's the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!"
Winnie the Pooh, Pooh's Grand Adventure
Living With Nature's Cycles
With the arrival of crisp air and the transformation of leaves into a brilliant spectrum of colors, we recognize the unmistakable arrival of fall. This seasonal shift ushers in a refreshing breeze against our skin and shorter daylight hours. As nights lengthen, a sense of mischievousness and celebration fills the air. The Earth gracefully alters its patterns, honoring the next step in its eternal cycle. If you seek to harmonize your life with these natural rhythms, step outside and follow the lead of our botanical companions.
Leaves release their vibrant green hue, unveiling a stunning sunset palette of yellows, oranges, and reds. Trees gently shed their foliage, redirecting their energy downward into their roots, fortifying themselves for the impending winter. Autumn extends an invitation to us as well—to release what no longer serves us, turn inward, cultivate gratitude, reconnect with our origins, and bolster our inner strength. Our plant allies demonstrate that this is the season to rest and nurture growth.
For our ancestors, aligning with the seasons was a matter of survival. Understanding how to harness each season's energy was a matter of life or death. In our contemporary world of year-round produce, climate control, and artificial lighting, the significance of seasonal living may seem diminished. Nevertheless, the primal pull of these shifting energies remains within us, no matter how disconnected we may be from the natural world. When we disregard these seasonal changes, feelings of disconnection and stress often emerge. We unwittingly wage a battle against our own inherent nature, sowing discord within ourselves. In contrast, living in harmony with the seasons bestows us with increased vitality, inner balance, and reduced stress. So, let us delve deeply into this transformative season, release the unnecessary, express gratitude for the present, and synchronize with autumn's essence.
While the autumnal equinox officially falls on September 22nd, seasons are more fluid than a fixed date. When you feel the call of fall, embrace the transition. Seasons flow, shift, and evolve continually, one into the next.
A note on the importance of ceremony
Though seasons do not switch on and off like a light, I find it meaningful to mark the transition with a personal ceremony, a kind of kickoff. This ceremony need not be grandiose; it should resonate with your heart. Whether it involves buying a cozy sweater, donning fuzzy socks, or simply lighting a candle, make it a personal act of significance. Decorating for fall, planning your Halloween costume, or taking a long walk on the first crisp day—all these actions can be your own way of inaugurating the season. Whatever you choose to do, pause for a moment to commit to living in harmony with the season. Take a deep breath and embark on your autumnal adventure.
What does living in tune with fall entail?
Autumn invites us to decelerate, to turn inward, much like our botanical companions channel their energy into their roots. It's a season for letting go of what no longer serves us, for practicing gratitude, and for reflecting on our desires. Autumn encourages us to become more introspective, to confront the profound questions: Where do we wish to be next year? What does our ideal life look like? How can we navigate the path to that destination? Fall is the time to sow the seeds of grand plans and to rest, preparing for future growth. Pledge to grant yourself the time to slow down, express gratitude, ground yourself, release what is no longer needed, and spend more time outdoors. Now that we've committed to these ideals, how do we put them into practice?
The Home- Setting the Stage
Your home is your sanctuary, a refuge from the world—a reflection of your inner self. As fall approaches, bring out those snug throws and woolen socks. Ensure your fireplace is ready for cozy evenings. If you enjoy seasonal decorations, adorn your space with fall wreaths and decorations. If you're like me, autumn beckons a visit to seasonal stores for Halloween delights, carving pumpkins, and roasting seeds.
The start of the season is an ideal time for a thorough home cleaning—a task that may not sound exciting but is profoundly rewarding. It not only prepares your space for the comfort of autumn nesting but also provides an opportunity to let go of what no longer brings joy. Embrace the spirit of Marie Kondo—if an item doesn't spark joy, let it go. If there's a closet or drawer that causes stress, declutter it. Dedicate your time to this endeavor. As you clean your home, envision the life you desire. What does it look like? How does it feel to live that ideal life? What steps are required to reach your goals? If any item in your home obstructs your path to that desired life, part with it. Make room for what is necessary to achieve your objectives.
While decluttering, also take the time to express gratitude for your possessions. Contemplate the treasures you've accumulated, especially those with sentimental value. Reflect on the relationships and memories attached to these objects. Once you've sifted through your belongings, gather items that evoke feelings of gratitude, love, and protection. These can be photographs, family heirlooms, cherished mementos, or quirky souvenirs. Arrange them in a dedicated spot—a gratitude altar. Each time you pass by, pause and express gratitude for the relationships, experiences, goals, and joys that enrich your life, no matter how small or significant. This altar serves as a powerful tool, particularly on challenging days when seasonal blues threaten to creep in. It encourages you to find even the tiniest reasons for gratitude.
Just last month, I shared various home care recipes—an excellent guide to naturally clean your home and prepare it for the fall season.
Spend Time Outside
Another way to attune yourself to fall is to immerse yourself in it. Step outside, feel the temperature drop and acknowledge the shortening days. Fortunately, there is no shortage of outdoor tasks to prepare for autumn, offering ample excuses to spend time outdoors.
Yardwork for Autumn: Autumn is the season of harvest. If you have herbs still thriving, it's time to gather and save their seeds for next year. Bid farewell to the remnants of summer plants in your yard. This is also an opportune moment to trim back trees or shrubs—do this before temperatures plummet to avoid shocking your plants. Engage with the earth by planting fall vegetables like carrots, lettuce, or kale. Consider sowing nitrogen-rich cover crops to ready your soil for spring. Don't forget to mulch your beds!
Build (or Buy) a Fire Pit: A backyard fire pit is a gift that keeps on giving. Ensure it's situated safely away from flammable materials. Fall is the season for connecting with friends and family, and there's something magical about gathering around an open fire on chilly autumn nights. It provides an ideal setting for making s'mores, sharing stories, and deepening relationships, while also allowing you to put yard waste to good use.
Shorter Days and Longer Nights
The shifting daylight hours represent one of the most significant transformations that the fall season brings. This change deeply affects both our physical and mental well-being. While we do have access to artificial lighting, the innate sense of the sun's presence or absence affects us profoundly. Unfortunately, not all of us can adjust our work schedules to align with the sun's patterns, but if you know of a boss who allows such flexibility, please share the secret!
This shift is where we often push ourselves too hard. Culturally, autumn heralds one of the busiest times of the year. Physiologically, the diminishing daylight hours call for a more measured pace and an increased focus on rest. It's no wonder that many of us grapple with various challenges during the fall. Striking this balance is indeed one of the trickier aspects of the season, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Let your Body Turn In
Our bodies inherently recognize the difference between the seasons, and it's crucial to honor these seasonal changes. As fall descends, our bodies crave more rest and downtime. Summer represents the peak of yang energy, characterized by activity, while winter embodies the most Yin energy, a time of dormancy. Fall serves as a bridge between these two phases.
The transition isn't about making an abrupt change to your daily routine. Rather, it's a gradual shift toward slowing down. Allow yourself to sleep in a little later and retire to bed a bit earlier. Space out your commitments more generously. With lengthening nights, our bodies require ample regenerative sleep to function optimally. Fall tends to be bustling—school begins, work picks up, and social events abound. Consequently, it's common for people to experience illness during this season due to overcommitting when what's needed is slowing down and turning inward. It's essential to honor your body's needs, even if you can't reschedule certain obligations.
I'm a devoted user of a planner, and I know it might seem Type A, but it's a crucial tool for avoiding overcommitment. When I start planning for fall, I intentionally leave more open space in my schedule. I allocate fewer tasks for each day and evaluate whether I can balance a new commitment with the necessary recovery time. A planner helps me pace my days, weeks, and months effectively, and I highly recommend this approach.
Diet- Eat Seasonally
Seasonal shifts don't only affect our sleep patterns but also influence our dietary preferences and needs. Adapting both your diet and sleep schedule to the fall season can lead to increased energy and better immunity throughout this time.
As the weather cools down, our diets tend to become heartier. With autumn's numerous gatherings and festivities, many of us find ourselves consuming more food than usual. Rather than indulging in party snacks and treats, consider increasing your intake of grains, nuts, and seeds. Embracing seasonal produce is an excellent way to align with the essence of fall. Seasonal foods are not only more environmentally friendly but also more nutritious.
Seasonal fall foods include squashes, potatoes, cauliflower, and beets. Root vegetables like carrots and leafy greens such as kale and spinach become readily available. Vitamin C-rich options like apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are abundant. Berries are also in season, offering a surplus of antioxidants. Nature provides precisely what our bodies require during this time.
Fall is also the season for mushrooms, which are an excellent source of Vitamin D, especially as we receive less sunlight. A lack of Vitamin D can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Preparing dishes like a mushroom and wild rice soup can be a delightful and nutritious fall tradition.
Warm Yourself Up
Adding a touch of spice to your meals is essential during this season. The popularity of pumpkin spice flavors is a testament to this. Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, and anise are all warming spices that aid digestion. They help us assimilate the heartier fall diet and support our overall well-being.
Warm beverages and teas are another welcome addition to your fall diet. Besides their deliciousness, they offer comfort and coziness. Establishing a nightly herbal tea ritual is a wonderful way to wind down early, express gratitude, and embrace seasonal eating simultaneously. Herbs like tulsi and chai tea, when used appropriately, are fantastic choices. Chai tea, with its caffeine content, is ideal as a mid-morning treat, and you can find herbal, caffeine-free chai recipes as well.
Just as sleep and diet require adjustments for the fall season, so does your exercise routine. As the days grow shorter and the season ushers in a quieter, more introspective energy, it's essential to modify your approach to physical activity.
Fall represents a transition from the high-energy, active season of summer to the more subdued, contemplative energy of winter. To accommodate this shift, consider shortening your workouts while intensifying their impact. High-intensity interval Training (HIIT) or sprint training can help you burn the same amount of calories in a shorter timeframe. Alternatively, yoga-based workouts align well with the fall's energy. If possible, engaging in these activities outdoors provides an added bonus. Activities that release endorphins, such as those mentioned, nurture both your nervous and immune systems—vital components of thriving during the fall season.
Fall also calls for adjustments in your social life. As you make more time for rest and introspection, your social engagements should reflect this shift toward a quieter, more home-centered focus.
This doesn't mean you have to become a reclusive hermit (unless that's your preference). Instead, prioritize quality over quantity in your social interactions. Reconnect with your roots, strengthening deeper relationships with close friends, family, and chosen family members. Fall is a season for honoring ancestors and celebrating blood and chosen ties. Consider hosting private gatherings or dinners at home with loved ones—a meaningful way to honor this tradition. Family-centered holidays that fall in autumn naturally align with these principles.
Food plays a significant role in socializing. Sharing meals creates opportunities for sharing traditions, stories, and fellowship. It's during dinner conversations that we catch up and deepen our connections. Hosting a dinner party at home with friends and loved ones is a multitasking marvel during fall. Preparing seasonal dishes, like an apple pie, not only fosters a grounding experience but also expresses gratitude for the abundance in your life. These gatherings provide a low-key and somewhat introverted way to celebrate the season.
Let Your Mind Reflect
Fall's essence invites us to slow down and reflect on the wealth of knowledge we've accumulated throughout the year. It's a time to evaluate our current state, assess our happiness, and determine whether we're on the path we desire.
Having already cleansed our physical spaces and cultivated a mindset of gratitude for our blessings, it's crucial to celebrate our accomplishments and consider what seeds we need to plant for the future. Fall is the ideal time to sow long-term goals, allowing them to gain strength during the winter months and emerge with vitality in the spring.
Affirmations For Fall
Affirmations are a powerful tool for setting our mental and emotional state. Here are some good ones that align with autumnal energies.
I open my hands to the gifts of change.
I let nature teach me the art of letting go to make way for renewal.
I grant space for real rest.
I allow my mind and body to naturally transform and evolve with the turning of the seasons.
It’s okay to slow down. I know that everything that needs to get done, will get done.
Blends that get you in the mood of fall
Marie Laveau. This blend radiates warmth and uplifts the spirit, offering relaxation and support for much-needed rest. It features a selection of seasonal botanicals, including Bergamot, Clove, and Cassia, which are all autumnal standouts.
Yemaya- Marjoram takes center stage in this herbal sedative blend. Yemaya is a nurturing elixir ideal for winding down, especially for those facing challenges with seasonal transitions.
Simbi Anpaka- A powerhouse blend boasting potent antimicrobial properties found in the plant kingdom. It also contains herbs that promote respiratory health, making it a valuable addition during the fall season.
Muladhara- This grounding blend reconnects you with your roots and helps you tune in to your body's true needs. It's the perfect companion for finding balance during the autumnal phase.
Maman Brigitte- A spicy and comforting blend enriched with seasonal powerhouses. Maman Brigitte not only warms the senses but also provides a protective shield to support you through the seasonal shifts.
Baron Samedi- An internal, grounding blend that embodies warmth and antimicrobial properties. This blend harmonizes well with reflection on your ancestors and fosters a connection with your roots.
"Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go."- Unknown
Fall is an invitation to embrace your inner Hobbit, to love and prioritize yourself enough to carve out the space needed for adequate rest. Slowing down and releasing can be challenging, especially in the midst of a busy season. Finding time for tasks like deep cleaning, home-cooked meals, or cozy fireside moments can seem elusive. Deepening relationships can also take a backseat in our modern, convenience-driven society. However, these acts are crucial investments in your future growth, benefiting both your mind and body.
Take moments to immerse yourself in the outdoors, watching leaves gracefully descend, and be inspired to let go of something that no longer serves you. As the sun sets earlier, allow yourself to decelerate, relax, and attend to your well-being. During the holiday season, as messages flow from friends and loved ones, cultivate gratitude for the remarkable people in your life.
Autumn possesses a profound energy. Use this time to decelerate, ground yourself, breathe deeply, and absorb the Earth's autumnal essence. Invest in your future growth by prioritizing rest and self-care.