Ease yourself through the late summer blues with our simple tips for a warm and balanced welcome to autumn.
As the days grow shorter and the summer glow begins to fade, witnessing the falling leaves is an undeniable sign that change is upon us. The buzz of summer can make time feel flexible and endless, so when the first signs of fall begin to show in September, we often feel pressured to jump back into the routines and plans. As we begin to cool off, some may feel the loss of light, fun and freedom, while others may feel soothed by the return of the structure and coziness of autumn.
What is undeniable, regardless of the emotion, is that we are in a period of transition. This change of pace between summer and autumn can feel jarring, and can often throw us (and our self-care routines) off balance.
At Iremia, we know that having practical tools to assist us in navigating life’s seasonal changes can help us stay grounded… and a calm mind is an integral component to calm skin. To stay connected to that inner calm, let’s learn more about seasonal transitioning, and how some simple lifestyle tips can help you stay centred and balanced.
Why is Seasonal Transitioning Important?
Seasonal changes reflect large shifts in the energy around us, which is especially noticeable during spring and autumn. Humans, however, are notoriously resistant to change. We are creatures of habit that are constantly creating new ways to remain secure and comfortable - which can often be at odds with the reality of nature outside our windows. From importing off-season foods to committing to the same workout regimen regardless of rain or sun (whether that is the forecast or our moods), much of how we structure our routine is intended to defy nature’s changes.
Seasonal transitioning recognizes that just as nature goes through its ebbs and flows, that our bodies also are affected by the changing energies. Instead of resisting the changes, seasonal transitioning suggests that using cues from nature, we support ourselves by taking extra care through times of change.
In Ayurveda, summer moving into autumn is seen as one of the most important transitional periods of the year: ritu sandhi, or the gap between seasons. Sensing the shifting seasons can make the body stressed, but taking time to notice the world around us can give us some ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy as we move through this transitional time of the year.
The basic concept for understanding how to nurture the body through nature’s cues? Like increases like and opposites balance. We intuitively know in the heat of summer that we restore balance by staying cool, and we often feel the urge to detox and move our bodies to become more aligned with an awakening world in the springtime. Therefore, in the autumn (cool, dry, airy, releasing, quickly changing), the balanced solution is found in the opposite qualities: warmth, moisture, nourishment, regularity, slowness. Incorporating these concepts can help make the change of seasons a little smoother and more enjoyable.
3 ways to transition from summer to autumn
1. Eat plenty of hearty, seasonal foods
Paying attention to the change of seasons is not only talking about the climate - the foods that are naturally available to us are exactly the foods we need to move through the season with ease. Mother Nature always provides, and remember: it’s in season for a reason. Using seasonal foods and spices in our diet allows us to utilize nature to boost our immunity, which is important for the allergies, colds, and unsettled feelings that can accompany autumn.
Take a moment to think about what foods come into season in the fall… squash, corn, pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes, oats, root vegetables, and dark leafy greens. These seasonal foods are not only grounding and comforting but are also loaded with minerals and vitamins that will boost your immune system throughout the colder months. Making sure you get adequate protein and high-quality oils is important, too.
For meals, autumn invites us to think about deeply nourishing foods like soups, stews, and homemade porridges, which add some much-needed warmth and moisture to this cooling and drying season. Try using warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric in your meals: earthly foods help to ground us in this airy season, and these spices help calm the nervous system.
2. Move with the earth’s rhythm
When autumn comes upon us, there can be an urge to quickly switch from the total exuberance of summer to the deep hibernation of winter. Instead, take your cues from nature andslowly begin to draw your energy inward. We can begin to cultivate stillness without completely withdrawing from the world: take a barefoot walk, go swimming in a natural body of water, hike in the forest, stargaze.
Allow yourself to flow with the fluctuating days of autumn and remain attentive to the shifts in your needs. Adapting your self-care practices in a time of transition can be formal and consistent (meditation or fitness practise) or can be intuitive and in touch with your moods (cooking, reading, dancing, playing music). The goal is to honour and balance your extroverted and introverted energies - stay in tune and flexible.
Regular meals and bedtimes can be a huge support in helping you feel grounded while in the autumn transition. Humans do best when in rhythm with nature: we follow a circadian rhythm that requires consistency, and our bodies seek to adapt its rhythm as sunlight becomes less available. Try setting a bedtime and a wake-time that are reasonable in the context of your life, and if possible, adjust your sleep time during the winter months to maximize your morning sunlight exposure. If adjustments are needed, make them gradually: move your sleep and wake times back by 15-minute every few days until you reach your goal.
3. Find a balance between downtime and connection
As the endless stream of summer activities comes to a close, you may feel in need of alone time to relax and recharge.Or you may feel the absence of social connection as people begin to draw inwards and the social invitations decrease.
Transitioning gracefully into autumn requires you to decide how you want to spend your time and identifying (and creating) healthy connections - both between othersandyourself. And, as with most things, both downtime and connection come down to quality over quantity.
It’s true that by embracing and prioritizing the introverted, downtime energy of autumn, you can avoid burning yourself out. Especially in cultures that place an emphasis on action and accomplishment, allowing balance through downtime as the days naturally shorten can positively link autumn to a time when you can savour the slow and calm. However, many people think of downtime as watching television, running errands, or scrolling through social media - be intentional about choosing activities that give you peace and fill your proverbial cup. Reading, a hot bath or a guided meditation are all great, nourishing options.
As we begin to focus more on our internal world, it’s important to not forget about the restorative benefits of quality connections. Research has demonstrated that having strong social connections are a huge component of emotional and physical well-being. It can be as simple as sharing a healthy meal, taking a walk, or attending a community event with friends or family. As the season ask us to pare down to the essentials, we can surround ourselves with loved ones who support us in the transitions - or seasons - of our lives. We do better when we flow together.
Seasonal transitioning recognizes that just as nature goes through its ebbs and flows, our bodies are also affected by the changing energies. Instead of resisting the changes, we can use cues from nature to support ourselves. Eating well, staying in touch with our bodies, and honouring our connections are all essential tools to navigate not only times of intense change but also to gently support us through all of life’s fluctuations.
Autumn can also bring about changes for our skin - be sure to check out our tips for a fall skincare routine, and if both your skin and your home need a little extra autumn TLC, check out our amazing Renia Soothing Set with Luz Candles: a soft, lavender-scented candle paired with our Soothing Lotion and Restorative Facial Oil. A downtime routine that dreams are made of.