There is no denying it, the transition to autumn is well underway here in Nova Scotia, and with it comes a change in how most of us feel, as well as our susceptibility to colds and viruses–and when you are living in the middle of a global pandemic, those are two things you definitely don’t want.
Today I wanted to share with you 5 things you can do to help support your health during the transition to autumn. These are 5 things you probably haven’t thought about or heard of before, but they can really make a big difference in how you feel over the next few months.
If you would rather listen to the information, go ahead and click play below and listen to this week’s podcast. If you are in more of a reading frame of mind, I’ve included the condensed version of the episode below!
5 ways to support your health during the transition to autumn
1 Bedtime foot massage
This sounds good already doesn’t it? During the transition to autumn, or in Ayurveda, the transition from Pitta season to Vata season (learn more about this in the podcast linked above), it’s important to provide your body with lots of opportunities to ground itself during the air, dry, and movement focused season of Vata.
Offering your feet a foot massage using an oil that has a heating effect on the body is a great way to do that – plus it just feels GOOD.
When I say a heating oil, I don’t mean one that physically heats up your skin, but rather an oil that has a heating effect on the body. An oil like sesame oil (not toasted – we don’t want the brown nutty oil you put on your food) is warming in nature and when you use organic sesame oil (this is the one I bought on Amazon for $5.99* affiliate link) there is no scent at all. If you can’t find or don’t want to buy sesame oil, you can use olive oil. It is a neutral oil (neither warming, nor cooling) so it will work better than coconut oil (which is cooling).
Once you’ve chosen your oil, put a few drops (I use about 5 from a dropper bottle) in the palm of your hand, and add a drop of your favourite warming essential oil if you like. Then rub your hands together to warm the oils up and massage your feet.
Make sure to spend some time with each individual toe, rub up the side of the arch of your foot, across the ball and entire underside of the foot. I like to spend a little bit of time around the ankles as well, and finish off with some ankle circles. The whole process takes about a minute. Then I repeat on the second foot, put on a pair of socks to soak up any residual oil, and go to bed.
Recently, I’ve been using doTerra Adaptiv for my foot massage, but you can use whatever oils you like (or none at all!)
2. Morning exercise that focuses on circulation and flexibility
Have you ever noticed that you feel stiffer in the mornings this time of year? It’s not your imagination, it’s a real thing! The air is dry and cold and that is mimicked in your joints. So to help combat that, adding a little extra movement to your mornings, especially movement that focuses on circulation and flexibility will be your friend. Go for a walk, enjoy a short yoga practice, whatever your preferred method of exercise is–try and squeeze a few minutes into your mornings. And if that is just not possible, don’t stress over it. Enjoy your evening or afternoon exercise instead and make sure to add one or more of these other suggestions to your day instead.
3. Alternate nostril breathing
No matter the time of day, year or season in your life, alternate nostril breathing is going to help. It balances the body, is grounding, and it’s a wonderful way to help combat anxiety and stress.
Alternate nostril breath can be complicated, but I just want you to do it so I’m taking all the fancy bits out.
- Start by closing off your left nostril with one finger
- Breath in through your right nostril
- Close off your right nostril and breath out your left
- Breath in your left nostril
- Close off your left nostril and breath out your right
- Continue in this pattern
I like to set a 2 minute timer and practice this style of breathing at least once/day. If you feel like you don’t have time, do it in the bathroom! Put down your phone and stop scrolling Facebook and instead practice alternate nostril breathing until you are done your business. 😉
4. Keep warm at night
Even if you are like me and turn into a total furnace at night, this time of year it’s important to make sure you are staying warm. I’m still sleeping with a fan pointing at me, but at the same time, I’m also huddled under a pile of blankets when I get a little chilly because there is little better than being cozy in a cold room at night. The night is your body’s time to rest and repair, digest and take out the trash (or at least get it ready to go out!) and if it has to work to keep you warm at the same time, it won’t get all of its chores done. This time of year is also a great time to work on going to bed a little bit earlier. Sleeping more during the hours it is naturally dark will help you stay more in tune with your body’s natural preferences and can make a huge impact on how you feel.
5. Eat seasonal foods with a focus on cooked foods and warming spices
Now is not the time for big salads. Our digestion is naturally the weakest in the Vata season, so it’s more important than any other time of the year to consume your fruits and veggies cooked. Yes, I know a freshly picked apple is delightful, but your digestion will work a lot better if you go for the freshly made apple sauce with some cinnamon and nutmeg instead.
Stews, soups and cooked grains are wonderful this time of year and are what most people naturally gravitate towards because they are warm, easier to digest, and add much-needed moisture back into the body.
And that PSL? It’s almost a health food come autumn, what with its cinnamon, nutmeg and warming spices.
There you have it, 5 things you can do to help support your health as we transition into autumn. So tell me, which one are you most interested in trying?