According the Chinese calendar, we’re coming to the end of autumn so this blog is on the late side (hmm, remember that one about procrastination?).  It’s one of my favourite times of year – I love the autumn colours, and the clear, crisp days when you can see for miles. In the north east, those days have been a bit in short supply.  It feels like we went straight to the soggy, mouldy stage but we’ve had the odd glimpse.

Many people speak to me about their dread of this time of year, with the encroaching dark nights and cold weather.  Winter is just around the corner and it can be a time of increasing isolation and introspection.  For some, this is difficult.  Personally, my years as an acupuncturist helped me to see the value in every season and to take gifts from each one.  And if a season is particularly difficult, it can be powerful indicator that we are living out of synch in some way, or  carrying around some unresolved baggage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the season of autumn is all about letting go of what we do not need and gathering and collecting what we do – taking in and letting go. Think of the leaves shed from a tree – not only making room for the growth of the following year, but also, as mulch, providing the nutrients and enrichment the ground needs to power that growth.

Autumn is the time to prepare for the challenges of winter.  It is the time to start saving, rather than spending, energy.  It is a time to nourish and cleanse.  Get those unfinished projects done, declutter your life, declutter your home, gather and store extra food and fuel and make sure that you are physically and emotionally prepared for the cold, dark months to come.

So how to we do that?  Here are some autumn self-care tips, based on the teachings of TCM:

Autumn Self-Care Tips:

  • Protect yourself from the cold, especially the wind

  • Tweak your exercise routine to include more “working in” than “working out”

  • Eat warm, seasonal foods

  • Do an “autumn clean” – it’s a far better time to declutter than spring

  • Get organised – declutter your life and routines

  • Get out into the sunshine and fresh autumn air where possible

  • Create time for slow, deep breathing

  • Drink plenty of water – autumn is a time of dryness

  • Let go of old hurts, resentments, prejudices and jealousies

  • Resolve difficult issues or make some peace with them

  • Take part in the autumn festivals for light, warmth and social interaction

As always, I appreciate that this stuff isn’t always easy to do and I’m more than happy to help you make it happen.  Many people know that coaching is a great way of getting organised.  It’s can also be so valuable in helping to shift emotional baggage and resolve difficult issues, once and for all.