According to the 5 elements theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each season is related to a different element, certain organs, senses, cravings and emotions. Autumn is the time of year influenced by metal, which is associated with the lungs and the large intestines and the emotions of sadness or depression.
Autumn (early October right through to the solstice) is the season of letting go, the season to relinquish all the junk we don’t need in our lives: overflowing schedules, piles of to-do lists, and even relationships that drain you instead of nourish you. It’s time to take stock of what you can let go of, and where you can find time to relax, despite the chaos of the holiday ramp up going on around us.
In TCM, living according to the seasons is the surest way to a healthier body and mind. Read on for my tips on how to stay healthy during the metal time of year:
1. Foods to fuel your fall: Eating cooked root vegetables and whole grains will help to nourish the body and cleanse the large intestine. Add sour foods like apples or citrus to support your liver.
2. Style for self defense: Wear a scarf! When the weather turns cold, it’s a natural instinct to hike up our shoulders to keep warm. All of the tension we’re holding to protect ourselves from the cold causes a lot of strain in the upper back and neck. Wearing warm enough layers, and a scarf, can prevent a lot of that strain.
3. Breathe! Take 5 deep breaths and focus on your exhale, making it long and slow. Pause a moment before inhaling slowly again. This exercise takes only 1 minute, but even in that brief amount of time, you can begin to lay the foundation powerful changes within your nervous system. (Bonus tip: this is a great activity while on the go – during your morning commute or when you’re at a stoplight)