The days are getting shorter and cooler. We’re slowly moving away from the hectic, fun, careless days of summer to fall back into a routine, a slower pace of life. Leaves are starting to change colours and to slowly make their way to the ground. Fall has started to settle in already, as a reminder of the endless rhythm of life, its constant evolution and impermanence.
Today I’d like to share 5 simple self-care practices to help you find balance, health and energy during this time of transition and into the new season.
1. Make time for you
While summer is my favourite season, it’s also the most overwhelming. In between vacations, dinners, activities and time spent with friends and family, there’s very few time left alone. Thankfully, things start to slow down in September, leaving more room for self-care practices and healthier routines.
Take this time to reconnect with your body’s needs and signals and establish a self-care ritual. Re-introduce practices that you might have left out during summer, or create new habits you might be curious to try.
It can be as simple as drinking a cup of calming tea every night, going for a short walk, reading a few pages of a good book, taking a hot bath, diffusing essential oils, trying dry brushing, or simply sitting eyes closed for a few minutes to observe your breath.
2. Review your priorities
It’s usually when Fall approaches that I go back to the intentions and goals I had set at the beginning of the year. As we’re moving into the last trimester of 2017, it’s time to reevaluate our priorities.
Revisit your list of resolutions or goals (yes, the one hidden in your drawer since January 2nd). See which goals you’ve managed to accomplish and which ones you haven’t. Be gentle and honest with yourself, and let go of the pressure to do it all.
Which goals have you accomplished yet? Which ones do you still need to work on? Are some goals not relevant anymore? Do some of them simply need to be revised? The objective here is not to put pressure on yourself or feel guilty because you haven’t yet accomplished what was on your list. It’s about celebrating your wins but also holding yourself accountable.
There are still over three full months left to the year. Now is the time to take concrete actions towards achieving our goals, to help you get closer to the person you want to be at the beginning of the new year.
3. Get rid of the old
The change of seasons is the perfect time to declutter and simplify. Give the revolutionary Konmari method a try and say goodbye to the things that don’t belong in your life anymore.
Start with a small corner of your house (like your bedside table or closet). Pick up each item and ask yourself, “does this spark joy?. Throw away things that don’t serve you anymore, to leave room only for what’s truly meaningful.
Get rid of a few things and notice how it makes you feel. Do you feel liberated? Lighter? Perhaps a little happier? Move onto the next room and do your entire house if you can.
Try to apply this philosophy not just on physical possessions but also in your work, relationships and occupations. Make room for things and people that are truly important for you and that bring happiness to your life. You will soon notice that by letting go of what doesn’t serve you, you will create more space in your body and in your mind, allowing you to design a life that will be more in line with who you truly are.
4. Boost your immune system
The Autumn Equinox coming up this week will mark the beginning of the shorter and darker months of the year, as well as the beginning of the cold and flu season. This means less vitamin D and an immune system more at risk.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, start strengthening your immune system now to avoid getting sick this year. Now is a good time to start taking probiotics and a vitamin D supplement (which is very hard to get from food alone). Eat lots of foods that are rich in vitamin A and C (bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, citrus, berries, tomatoes). Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night and drink lots of water (and herbal teas).
I like to start drinking chaga tea again around this time of year. Chaga is a powerful medicinal mushroom that’s known for its ability to strengthen and regulate the immune system.
5. Progressively shift your diet
The late summer/early fall season is the most amazing time of the year, when the market stalls are overflowing with the most gorgeous veggies and fruits. Make the most of what’s available now to get as many nutrients as possible and maybe experiment in the kitchen too.
While some people move straight to pumpkins and warm soups, I prefer to slowly shift my diet. I like to build my plates with a portion of raw and cooked vegetables. Heartier salads composed of greens, a cooked grain (quinoa, farro, millet) and roasted veggies are perfect at this time of year. As the days get cooler and cooler, start to incorporate more substantial meals, like stews and soups. Add warming spices like ginger, chili pepper, garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg to your dishes.
If you were used to having smoothies in the morning, try to gently warm them up and serve them lukewarm instead of freezing cold. Replace your overnight oats by warm oatmeal or quinoa porridge. These will be gentler on your digestive system and more pleasant to eat during those colder days.
Do you have some self-care practices of your own to help you during this period of transition? Share them by leaving a note in the comments below!