Each season affects nature in such powerful ways, from the different flowers that bloom to the vegetables that harvest, so it makes sense that the switch from summer to autumn would have a bearing on us, too. You might notice your energy levels ebb and flow from season to season, some people flourish from autumn through winter, while others feel their best during the spring and summer.
Whether you want to maximise your good feelings or you’re in need of some TLC, living a life that’s in tune with the seasons makes a lot of sense. So from eating soul-nourishing foods to using sounds to ground you, below we reveal how to feel your very best this autumn.
Eat Soulful Foods
Any change can take its toll, you may be feeling anxious or unable to sleep, while the colder weather could cause your skin to dry out. In Ayurvedic tradition, it’s important to nurture your body with soulful, seasonal, foods. This reduces your chances of eating anything that has been grown artificially or doused with unwanted pesticides. And, where possible, eat locally-sourced fruits and vegetables to do your bit for the planet too.
“In autumn there are a number of green vegetables that are a great source of Vitamin C,” says Joie Risk, Lifestyle Medicine + Wellbeing Coach and MD of Sunlighten UK. Vitamin C is wonderfully immune-boosting, so it’s the ideal time to factor it in. “Kale and cabbage are great choices. Kale, in particular, is also high in calcium and potassium.” Both these nutrients are believed to help reduce high blood pressure, calcium is crucial for strong bones, while potassium can help with water retention. “However, if you are planning to eat a lot of kale, make sure that it is lightly blanched or “massage” it with apple cider vinegar prior to eating to avoid any possible thyroid concerns or gut issues,” notes Joie.
Try this nutritionally-dense and tasty Kale salad recipe.
Antioxidant-rich root vegetables should be your friend come autumn. “Soups, casseroles and roasting root vegetables are a warming way to enjoy them at this time of year,” says Sana Khan, nutrition consultant and founder of Avicenna Wellbeing. “Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa are also great to experiment with during the autumn months as these contain a range of B Vitamins that are essential for energy production. B Vitamins are also great for cellular turnover.”
These soul-warming soup recipes are perfect for autumn.
Eat for Sleep: “In autumn we want to focus on nurturing the body and helping to regulate circadian rhythms. After the long days of summer, adjusting to short days and different sleeping patterns can be tricky,” says Joie. “Adopting shorter eating windows will help to maximise the quality of sleep (so eat little and often), taking care not to overeat (nor drink alcohol) at least 3 hours before bed.”
Take Bathing to the Next Level
If you love summer and being in and around water, be sure to factor bath time into your self-care routine come autumn. Not only is a bath or shower warming to body and soul, but many people find that when they are immersed in water their creativity flows. Make the moment special by lighting candles around your bathtub and adding two to three caps of The Ritual of Hammam Bath Oil to the water. The skin-softening argan oil with the uplifting eucalyptus will leave you feeling like a new person—inside and out.
Prefer showers? Elevate the moment by tying fresh eucalyptus above your shower head. The steam will release the naturally-scented oils from the leaves creating a beautiful aroma in your bathroom. Select The Ritual of Ayurveda shower oil with sweet almond oil and Indian rose, it will soothe your skin and lift your mood.
Afterward, take the time when you’re wrapped in a cosy dressing gown to relax with a cup of herbal tea and a good book to extend your bathing experience into a truly soulful moment.
For many of us, being surrounded by friends, family or like-minded people and doing the things we love is what brings us true moments of joy. If you know the shorter days, colder temperatures and darker mornings make you feel a little down, be sure to schedule in things that make you feel happy. That could be a dinner party with friends, a games night with family or a workout with someone that loves Pilates as much as you do!
Listen to Sounds to Ease Stress
Have you heard of binaural beats? It’s a relatively new form of sound therapy. Joie says “I find that binaural beats therapy can be an incredible way to keep the emotions balanced during times of transition and stress. You can listen to these on a playlist via headphones which is key.”
So how does it work? Well, we naturally receive slightly different frequencies of sounds in each of our ears, but our brain registers them as one. So, by playing these varying sound frequencies via headphones, our brain tunes in to the one frequency it registers and winds down. Binaural beats are often used to help people sleep, but also to tackle anxiety. One study found that day patients who were having a general anaesthetic for an operation were less anxious when they listened to binaural beats beforehand.
You can find Binaural Beats playlists for different things like sleep and deep relaxation on Spotify here.
Try Lunar Living
In Japan, the moon is an incredibly important symbol and is celebrated each autumn. “Just as the moon turns the tides she exerts the same gravitational pull on the watery inner world of our emotions, intuition, dreams and the call of our soul,” says Kirsty Gallagher, Moon Mentor and author of Lunar Living: Working with the Magic of the Moon Cycles.
Take notice of the moon this autumn and how it could be affecting your mood. Here Gallagher reveals what the upcoming moon cycle could mean for you…
Virgo New Moon: 17th September
The Virgo new moon can bring a ‘back to school’ feeling with it and that’s just what this moon is here for - to bring you back to reality and, in many ways, to gain the knowledge and any missing information you may need to move things forwards.
Use this moon to plan what you want from the end of this year, and beyond into the beginning of next. The Virgo moon will help you to get things off the ground, push along new projects and make any changes that need to be made. Efficient, detail-driven, hardworking Virgo will help you to plan, tweak and drill down into details until you get it just right.
Get very clear on what it is you want and what it will take to get there. Make lists. Put steps and deadlines into place. Give yourself a clear focus. Be realistic about what you can achieve and by when. It’s time to do the work.
Aries Full Moon: 1st October
The Aries full moon brings with it huge energy, that will either feel incredibly positive or hugely emotional. "Adding fuel to the fire" is a good way to describe this full moon and so whatever you are currently going through will be intensified.
The first full moon after the Autumn Equinox, this moon is here to help propel you forwards into change, of season, of direction, of life. This full moon is a huge release point, and as autumn is all about taking inspiration from nature and shedding and letting go, this moon is here to kickstart this process. Under this full moon you can gain huge clarity on emotions, beliefs, relationships, identities and everything else that you need to let go of. It's a moon of deep inner healing.
Aries will help you to be assertive, put yourself first, shamelessly self-promote and to shine as brightly as the moon in the sky. It’s a full moon for starting over, and finally releasing all that’s in the way.
Libra New Moon: 16th October
Change is definitely in the autumn air with this new moon. All around you Mother Nature is shedding and drawing inwards and inspiring you to do the same.
Balance, balance, balance is what this new moon is calling you to, but initially, this new moon can feel wobbly and overwhelming as you see the scales of your life tipping.
Have you been struggling to keep on top of things? Finding it difficult to commit to decisions in your life, procrastinating with moving forwards? Are you allowing something or someone to take up too much of your time and energy? This new moon is here to show you the truth and bring you back to balance. The more you can slow down, draw inwards, and take care of yourself, the more you will be able to get aligned with what your heart truly wants. Self-care is a must through this moon to help you to find balance in your life moving forwards.
That ‘back to school’ feeling means work often seems more intense after summer. Taking the time to exercise is key right now, in the morning to help you feel energised and at night to help you wind down.
Get ready for sleep with author and yoga teacher Lisa Sanfilippo’s Simple Sleep Sequence (you can also practice along with Lisa on Movement for Modern Life.
“I do the sequence every night, as regularly as brushing my teeth and washing my face! It sweeps out any tension and nervous energy that I’ve not dissipated during the day and prepares my body for sleep,” she says.
Try these simple leg stretches tonight:
- Lie on your back and lift your right leg so your knee is slightly bent and your foot is parallel with the ceiling. Gently pull your thigh back so you feel a gentle stretch down the back of the thigh.
- Now send that same leg out to the right to gently stretch your inner thigh and groin.
- Then cross that leg over the other and gently twist your upper body in the opposite direction to release your outer hip and upper back.
- Repeat on the left side.