By Jordan Douglas, HHC

Life seems to speed up for us this time of year (hello, holidays), while nature slows herself down. To cultivate balance, we can follow her lead by taking a moment to root ourselves and connect to the world around us. Autumn is the season of letting go. This is the time to prepare ourselves — physically, mentally and emotionally — for the winter ahead. We clear out that which no longer serves us and focus on nourishment, in every sense of the word.

As we move towards winter and the season of inner contemplation, we take this opportunity of the changing seasons to pause and reflect on the year thus far. Autumn encourages us to re-evaluate our purpose and recommit to what is important to us so that we can cultivate clarity. How are we thriving in our lives, work, relationships? What can we release that we no longer need? How can we show up with respect and integrity for ourselves, our friends, coworkers, families and fellow humans navigating this very complex world? What steps can we take to consolidate our essentials and release what no longer serves us?

As we let go and release what we no longer need, we simultaneously recommit and ground in ourselves. Root medicine, through food or herbs, is ideal nourishment for this process. Winter squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric are all great friends here. Warming spices (think: black pepper, spicy condiments, chili peppers, horseradish, mustard, cinnamon) can be an excellent addition to food and drink to promote circulation, stimulate digestion and help keep the immune system strong during cold and flu season.

Energetically speaking, autumn is dry, light and sometimes sharp. Imbalance can manifest as dry skin, anxious mood, constipation, gas and bloating. These imbalances serve as cues as to where our body needs a little extra love and attention. For many, autumn is a great time to return to rhythm and routine to keep us grounded, and to keep imbalances at bay. Try experimenting with:

  • Regular mealtimes consisting of warm food and drink.
  • Practicing self-massage with warm oils, such as almond and sesame.
  • Turning off the screens an hour or more before bed.
  • Dedicating five minutes a day to sit quietly with yourself.
  • Taking time to relax and get extra sleep.
  • Spending time in nature.
  • Giving thanks.

This week many celebrate Thanksgiving. As you enjoy abundance with delicious food, good company, warmth and cheer, allow gratitude to percolate into everything you do and everyone you meet, through this holiday and beyond.

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