Autumn is officially upon us and we are more than ready for the falling leaves and unlimited cups of hot tea. As the temperatures shift, so do our internal seasons. The colder months represent reflection, inner preparation and change, making this time of year a perfect opportunity to slow down, look inward and re-evaluate your life. When you tune into your natural rhythm, you will instinctively begin to move at a quieter, leisurely pace.
In honour of this glorious season, I've compiled a few tips to keep you balanced and warm when the cold weather feels more like an intrusion than a celebration of abundance.
Nature knows what our bodies need and, therefore, produces food that sustains us during the colder months. Fuel up on vegetables, leafy greens and fruits such as yams, red cabbage, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, artichoke, kale, lettuce leaves, apples, pears, figs, blackberries and pomegranate. Avoid summer fruits and cold drinks during the Autumn/Winter months for optimal nourishment. Visit your local farmer's market and satisfy your appetite with locally grown produce.
Drink Hot Tea
Not only is drinking hot tea warming to the body's system, it also gives you a chance to slow down and relax. Get into the habit of taking a few minutes out of your day to enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea in solitude or with a loved one. I quite like chai during the cooler months because of it's beautifully flavoured combination of herbs sure to nourish you from the inside out!
Get Some Rest
Animals hibernate during the winter because they are in sync with the seasons. Shorter days and longer nights mean more hours of darkness, creating a perfect environment to get more shut eye. Go to bed early and nap when you can fit it into your schedule. Deep sleep (and plenty of it) will boost your immune system and ward off the common cold (among other illnesses) that runs rampant this time of year.
Moisturize Your Body
The cooler temperatures usually show up with dryer weather, which is a recipe for dry, flaky skin. Try slathering coconut oil all over the body and face after a warm shower (we love the smooth, silky effects it provides the skin) and invest in a natural lip balm and hand cream for additional moisture.
Get Up and Move
Stay active throughout the year, even when the winter wind begs you to lounge all day in your pyjamas. The body still needs to move and break a sweat when it's cold outside. Throw on your workout gear and take a hike. Practice yoga in the comfort of your home or seek out a class that inspires you to get on your mat regularly. Enrol in a fun dance class. Make love (and lots of it!) with your partner. Carve out time to take care of yourself and keep your blood pumping through those cold, wintry days.
Even if your internal temperature seems to run warmer than those around you, it's a good idea to avoid getting chilled during the winter. Carry a sweater (and other layers) in case of unexpected cold fronts, snow or extremely low indoor temps at a restaurant. Wear your favourite scarf. Snuggle up to a loved one. Light your fireplace. Make a pot of soup with fresh, seasonal vegetables. Bake a cobbler with local apples, pears and cranberries (all autumnal fruits). Take a warm bath.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Unlike the sweaty summer months, cold weather can make it much more difficult to detect dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water, which helps prevent dry skin, headaches and fatigue, so drink up!
What replenishes you when you feel depleted? These slower, quieter months are a great time to ask yourself this question and learn the answer. Read a good book, write in your journal, meditate daily, take deep breaths, get a massage, see your acupuncturist, visit an old friend, indulge in your favourite hobbies. Your senses heighten and creativity flourishes when you take time out for yourself. If you are looking for an adventurous getaway, book your stay at a health retreat geared toward both movement and reflection.