TCM Perspective on Autumn
Autumn has officially arrived. And as the colder weather starts to kick in, it’s time to talk about tips for a healthy fall.
This season is ruled by the element of metal, meaning that the fall season is marked by organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. Metal also represents the time to finish up spring and summer projects, making autumn the perfect time to take stock of all things in your life.
As the seasons shift, there come changes in our bodies, health, and mood. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn is associated with the lungs. Which is why you may notice more colds, coughs, and fall allergies. The energy of the lungs is “letting go”, so the fall is a good time to let go of anything we might be holding onto so we can make room for new experiences.
Every organ in TCM has a partner — one is yin, the other is yang. The lung is yin, and the large intestine is yang, and they work together to keep balance in the body. The large intestine is responsible for letting go of waste. Emotionally, this is why fall is a good time to take a look at things we might be hanging on to and working to let go of them.
Here are some tips to protect your lungs and large intestine and stay healthy this fall:
- Make a list of priorities or goals. Metal sets us up for organization, boundary setting and communication. Write a list of what to prioritize this season and what habits you want to form to help you gain clarity on your goals.
- Stay hydrated. The fall tends to be very dry and this dryness can damage the lungs. Try to avoid cold water as it shocks the body. Instead opt for warm water or tea like Line of Defense or Cold No More to aid digestion, protect the organs, and heat the body.
- Journal. Writing is a helpful tool to practice letting go. By spending some time journaling this season, you will cleanse your mind and help you to let go of negative thoughts.
- Go for a walk. One of the best ways to strengthen our lungs is to walk outside and breathe in the cool, clean air. This helps us connect with nature and relax our minds.
- Reorganize and clean. Fall is the perfect time to take stock of the things in your life, both literally and figuratively. Go through your closet and donate all the old clothes you never wear. Clean out your computer and delete anything you don’t need anymore. Organize your cabinets. These activities help to declutter our mental and physical space and aid in the process of letting go.
- Eat warm, cooked foods. Longer cooking times and heartier ingredients are used in the fall to help nourish the body and support the immune system throughout the colder months. Cooked foods are easier for your body to digest and more bio-readily available for your body to absorb the nutrients. When you’re cooking, add in pungent foods that benefit the lungs such as onions, ginger, or garlic.
- Sleep longer. Sleep is the ultimate way of letting go. It facilitates the cleansing and organization of your brain. Getting 8+ hours of sleep every night would help improve memory, increase our ability to concentrate and strengthen our immune system. To keep things simple, aim to go to bed an hour earlier or wake up an hour later.
- Keep warm. As the temperature starts to drop, it’s important to keep yourself warm. The lungs in particular are vulnerable to wind and changes in temperature and when exposed to cold weather, we can get sick. Break out a scarf or your favorite turtleneck to stay warm.
- Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing is important year round, but especially during the fall when your lungs are the most vulnerable. Deep breathing can be helpful for lung qi flow and preventing blockages. It is also a great way to calm the mind and body.
- Add herbs to your routine. As we move into the colder season, it is important to ensure that our immune system is strong. Incorporating herbs into your daily routine is a great way to boost your immune system. Try the Dao Labs Digestive Harmony to balance your stomach.
The metal element gives us a sense of self-worth, so this is the season to pay ourselves a little extra attention and practice more self love.