With the winds of change in the air and decreasing summer warmth hinting at the coolness of winter to come, fall is a season of transition and can be as airy as its cooling winds. Therefore, from a seasonal self-care standpoint, grounding practices and routines are called for … not to mention warmth to ease the transition and give our bodies and minds strength. Here are a few ideas to get you started with a fall self-care routine.
1) Listen to your body. This may sound basic but it’s the very essence of developing a good self-care routine. How can you know what your body wants and needs if you don’t listen to it? Listening can be as simple as taking a few minutes to take deep breaths a few times a day and check in. What are you feeling? What do you need? All too often we get swept up in the hustle and bustle which fall with its holiday promises of Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. can tend to exacerbate. We gather and mingle and run about and eat sugary treats and then wonder why we feel run down and under the weather. A deeper form of listening might be a body scan (which we’ll go into more details in the meditation section) by tapping into and asking the wisdom of your mind-body-spirit connection to guide you and let you know what you need to fill your vessel.
2) Routines matter. Of course, this is true in all seasons but it is especially the case in fall… With airiness at its height (in Ayurvedic ancient healing science fall is Vata, i.e. air season) routines will be all too easy to float out of grasp and it is all the more important to stay focused on them. Pick a daily self-care routine that works for you and commit to it; ideally doing it at the same time each day which will help to turn the practice into a habit, a routine that over time will become just as easy as breathing and eating and sleeping. It could be as simple as starting each day with 5 to10 minutes of slow breathing and gentle stretches plus a cup of warming tea (ginger tea can be great in the fall if you’re looking for ideas). Don’t let perfection get in the way of just starting. You don’t need to meditate for an hour each morning (I mean if you can, great, but it’s not necessary); just breathe for a few minutes and ground your energy.
3) Slow down and watch the leaves fall – and better yet play in them. Transition seasons like fall can speed by in an instant. One day the air is cooler and you anticipate the change of colors and the next the leaves are vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red and yet the next they’ve fallen and winter is upon us. So slow down and take in the falling leaves, watch their dance and better yet embrace your inner child and jump and play in a pile of leaves, surrendering to and rejoicing in the change of seasons and the ephemeral gift that is fall.
4) Drink warming beverages. With fall cooling off, it’s important to mirror that change in our food and drinking habits. While summer had us clamoring for refreshing and cooling drinks, fall calls for warming teas. Ginger is my fall tea of choice especially for cooler evenings. Also, maple lattes and chai teas for the mornings. The pumpkin spice craze may be commercialized but underlying could be an understanding that as the seasons shift we need warming beverages to keep us grounded and our inner fires tended.