Autumn is a time of natural transformation
A time of letting go and inevitable loss. The abundant crops of summer are dying back and the deciduous leaves in their vibrancy fall to the ground to decay. There is a natural shift of energy from the unrestrained heat and long days of summer to a more contracted, inward, solitary and contemplative time.
Chinese medicine assigns both macro and micro correspondences to the seasons
We have correlations and associations to the cosmos and elements, as well as bodily organs, emotions, and food tastes. Autumn is the season of the metal element. Metal energy is the inevitable handoff of freedom and outgoingness as we gather the harvest and prepare for a more private and measured stretch. The fall and metal energies invite us to take the time to reflect and ponder our personal accumulations.
It’s during this auspicious time of the year that we can choose to reorganize our inner life and terrain. It’s the time to purposefully chart our boundaries and real needs while also allowing ourselves to eliminate what is no longer needed. It’s when we have the capacity to set down and walk away from the habituated luggage we carry around without remembering if the contents still fit, or are germane to our present self. It’s the time to apply the Marie Kondo principles to our inner life!
The emotion that is referenced with the autumn and metal element is grief. There is loss in letting go, and the energetics of sinking in and down allow us to acutely feel what must be left behind in order to spread the current bounty of harvest and nourishment over the winter. We can think of tears as the leaves we shed to leave ourself vulnerable and exposed.
Perhaps this grief is even more poignant in 2020 with its unextinguishable fires, unrelenting swells of water, invisible pestilent factors that keep us isolated and masked, and deep scarring divisions that buckle the warp and weft of our social fabric.
How do we honor the season, its invitations and fated loss? Do you fight against the uncomfortable feelings or do you sink into the quietude, abandoning the busyness and avoiding the unimportant elements that keeps us preoccupied? The fall is a time to center and return to caring for self.
Here are some reminders of what your body needs during this time of year in order to feel in sync:
- Regular Sleep: Going to bed and waking up at the same time, no matter the day of the week, is the easiest way to regulate sleep. As the clocks turn back, get more rest and restore every cell and organ system with extra time to heal and renew.
- Exercise: Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is a proven way to lift depression and anxiety. If your exercise can be done outdoors, allowing you to take in some fresh air and sunshine, all the better.
- Healthy Eating: When stressed or feeling down, people often crave sweets. These provide a temporary moderate lift, but that rush is typically followed by a physical and emotional crash. Switching to whole grains, legumes, tends to negate erratic blood sugar spikes and keep your brain and body in a happy balance.
- Hydrate: Increase your water intake and cut back on alcohol and sugary drinks that can contribute to or lead to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, tooth decay and more.
- Eliminate unhealthy habits. Quitting smoking or other tobacco use will improve your health and minimize the risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and other tobacco-related illnesses.
- Maintain relationships. Though social distancing requirements have put in-person gatherings on hold, there are still plenty of ways to stay in touch with the people who boost your soul. Socialization fends off loneliness and reminds you of your place in the world.
- Practice gratitude. There are many ways to do this, but simply keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to significantly improve wellbeing and life satisfaction.
- Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine: These modalities within Chinese medicine are a potent balm to curb anxieties and depression. They do far more than simply sustain us: rather, they increase our mental and physical nourishment, providing us with a wealth of reserves that bolster our health in body, mind and spirit, and fine tune our energies until the renewed promise of spring.
Caring for yourself is always important, but especially so during seasonal shifts. Empirical Point is here to support you through the information provided here on our website as well as through in-person and virtual treatment options.
Sharon Sherman has been licensed to practice acupuncture and Oriental Medicine since 2001 and holds the highest credential available from both the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has deep knowledge and understanding of how acupuncture and herbs can provide relief and numerous benefits for the unique range of symptoms experienced by her patients, and her expertise allows her to select and employ the best therapy for her patients’ unique presentation