My allergies are always at their worst during the fall season and the diminished daylight, dampness and cold usually lead to sinus infections and colds, lack of energy and seasonal depression. Over the past few years, I have paid close attention to what triggers these imbalances and what has helped to keep me healthy and productive as I navigate the shift from summer into winter.
While it feels good to get lackadaisical with our routines during the summer, I find that they are much needed in order to maintain stability during the fall. Establishing a regular sleeping, eating, working, resting, and exercise routine is key to staying healthy. As our bodies try to acclimate to the changes of the season, a regular routine assists in establishing a healthy rhythm.
In addition to planning, executing and maintaining a regular schedule, here are some of my tried and true tips for a healthy body, mind and spirit -
Getting more rest -
Going to sleep a little earlier, getting up a little later, or even giving yourself permission to take a nap in the afternoon is a great way to honor the natural slowing down we all feel as the days grow shorter. Additionally, stepping away from your desk to get some fresh air, taking a hot bath, or just curling up with a good book and a warm cup of tea is hugely rejuvenating.
Sinus Cleansing -
Neti Pots offer great relief for people with sinus issues. I use mine daily. A Neti Pot is a small ceramic pot that looks somewhat like Aladdin’s magic lamp. You can usually find one in drug stores, health food stores, or at an online retailer for between $10-$20. The basic gist is that you are pouring a saline solution into your nostril and allowing the fluid to flow out, essentially flushing out your nasal passages. It is a little challenging to get at first, but after a few tries, you will get the hang of it.
Oil Pulling -
Oil Pulling is an absolutely safe and simple way to cleanse your body of toxins. In the morning (I do this in the shower to maximize my time in the morning) put a tablespoon of sesame oil into your mouth. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SWALLOW IT! Swish the oil around in your mouth and back and forth between your teeth for about 15 minutes or once your mouth gets full. Then spit it out. Rinse your mouth out with water. And you’re done! Oil pulling has been noted to cure common diseases like allergies, colds and coughs, gum diseases, infections in the mouth, ear, nose, throat, eyes, and pains like headache, migraine, tooth pain, neck pain, back pain etc, allergic sneezing, lip cracking, and fevers. To read more about Oil Pulling go here: http://www.oilpulling.org/oil-pulling/
Eating seasonally -
In many places, farmer’s markets are at their prime. It is a great time to indulge in summer’s bounty by eating more root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes as well as squashes such as pumpkin, butternut, and acorn.
Switch out your morning smoothie for something warm and wholesome like porridge or oatmeal and be sure to eat foods that are warming and nourishing.
Energy Boosters -
Maca powder, raw cocoa nibs, and chia seeds have been my absolute go to for energy boosting during my more sluggish days. All are loaded with antioxidants and super energy boosting properties. In the summer, I add these to my smoothies. In the colder months, I mix them into my oatmeal in the morning.
Restorative Yoga -
It is really easy to get overstimulated in the fall, so when the weather turns cold, I begin doing more restorative and yin yoga.
My acupuncturist is a saint. I go for weekly appointments to stay in balance during the cold weather seasons. If you live in New York, I highly recommend him: http://harmonytcm.com/
Sunlight Therapy -
I just purchased a sunlight alarm clock. It is an alarm that wakes you up by getting gradually brighter. Completely key if you have a hard time waking up when it is dark outside. For others suffering from seasonal affective, purchasing a light box that mimics natural outdoor light is extremely helpful.
I will add more as the season continues. Please check back for more updates on staying healthy this season.