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It's Autumn! Stay Healthy

Renee Lehman
Licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist

So how many of you have said, "Wow, look at the leaves on that tree!" "They are beautiful!"?

Well, I have too. Here we are, summer has quickly passed by and we are settling into the season of Autumn.

Autumn is nature's season of harvest. I hope that you have been gathering nature's products before Winter comes. In nature you can see the leaves changing color and beginning to fall. This will enrich the soil for next year's Spring growth, along with giving children piles to play in. Sap in the trees drops to the roots, light and warmth of the sun grows scarce, and there is an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Can you see how nature's energy is moving downward and inward?

Some of the gifts of Autumn include letting go and pruning; crisp, dry air that allows us to breathe deeply; acknowledging of nature's awe; and acknowledging the intrinsic value of everything of creation. How many of the gifts of Autumn do you identify with? Can you see the energy of Autumn within yourself?

How can you follow the rhythms of the Autumn season and stay healthy? By 1) being receptive to the harvest of your year; 2) deepening and clarifying relationships; 3) reflecting on your creative spirit; 4) general reflection; 5) exercising; 6) enjoying nature's bounty; 7) preparing for the cold and flu season; and 8) resting.

Receptive to Harvest. Take time to acknowledge all that you have done this past year. Also, acknowledge others for their accomplishments. Ask yourself, "What are my unique gifts, skills, and talents?" "How can I acknowledge the gifts and skills of others?" Try a card, letter, or gift/flowers. Who doesn't like acknowledgement?

Deepen Relationships. Autumn is a great time to deepen and clarify your love and family connections. So, ask yourself: "What are my needs?" "What are the needs of those around me?" "What are my important relationships?" Then listen to the answers that arise within you.

Reflect on Creative Spirit. Start a project/program that you can work on in the colder, darker months (more inward and home-oriented projects). This can help to improve motivation with new energy and excitement for life (and who doesn't need this as the days have less daylight).

General Reflection. You may not be aware of how many times you pause, take a breath in, and say, "The air is so clear and crisp" or "Wow, look at those leaves!" Autumn gives us the chance to acknowledge and be in awe of the beauty around us. It gives you time to reflect on the quality and value of your external and internal world. Why not take the time to recognize the value within your day to day routine, rather than viewing it as just another day? Surely there is something vital and of importance to you that you may be overlooking. Finally, ask yourself: "When am I most inspired and in awe of life?" "What am I doing when I feel that way?" Listen to the answers!

Exercise. As the weather cools, having indoor exercises that you can do is important. Stretching, yoga, tai chi, and qigong are great ways to keep you flexible, enhance vitality, and support your immune system.

Enjoy Nature's Bounty. Don't you just love stopping at all of the local fruit and vegetable markets? We are so fortunate to live in an area surrounded by orchards and farms. There is so much fresh produce available. (Go to for a list of local farms and orchards. Also, do an internet search for orchards in Frederick county, Maryland and you will come up with an abundance of choices). There are also so many types of beans, grains, and nuts available. As the weather becomes cooler, consume foods that have more protein and are heat generating such as: cooked grains and beans, soups, spicy peppers, ginger and cinnamon (2 spices that are "warming"), and try starting your day with oatmeal.

Prepare for the Cold Season. In Chinese medicine, the season of Autumn is related to the lungs and large intestines (think about breathing in crisp air and the letting go that you see in nature). Staying clean and clear this season, along with a healthy immune system will help keep you well. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Minimize touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands/fingers. Use a saline nasal spray to keep sinuses clear. If your sinuses are congested try a facial steam and breathe in an herbal mist (mints, rosemary, chamomile, and lemon verbena). Vitamin C, garlic, echinacea, goldenseal are all immune system defenders. Sneeze or cough into your elbow or shoulder instead of your hand. Drink plenty of water, and lastly, get plenty of sleep. Sleep is very important to your vitality.

Resting. This is very important, because the demanding holiday season is just around the corner. Don't burn out your batteries before November. Make sure that you schedule time during the week or weekend to "just be" or rest. Shift some of your focus to nurturing your inner self. You might just find yourself with less "winter blues" later on in the new year.

So, this Autumn, harvest the bounty that grew during the summer so that you can store up for the cold winter ahead. Let things be, and let things go. Be respectful. Be inspired.

Be in awe!

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman