Autumn Self-Care Routine
Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons. There's nothing I love more than warm (but not humid) days with cool nights. I always say that If I could find a place on earth that existed in an eternal state of autumn, I'd pack my bags today. Aside from the crispness of the air and leaves, I love the colors – it's one of the reasons I love living in the Northeast and spend as much time as I can in New England. I love these beginning stages of hibernation – more reading, more writing, more contemplating and cozying.
However, my energetic constitution is just like the fall season – dry, cool, rough, mobile, changing, irregular. In Ayurveda, we try to balance our unique energetic blueprint with that of the world around us. So for me, these qualities go into overdrive in the fall. My dry skin and hair get drier; circulation cools/slows down, my airy mind wanders off more than usual; the lymphatic and digestive systems slow to a dawdle. Our bodies all are undergoing this process – syncing with the season – but if you're like me and experience these kinds of discomfort already, it's wise to take up some tools for balancing the body and mind, so you can enjoy this beautiful season...
Dry brushing: Improves and stimulates circulation and lymphatic system, which slow down as the days get shorter and cooler. Our nerve endings are in our skin, so using a dry brush rejuvenates the nervous system, creating calmness overall. Before you shower, start with the dry brush at the belly, brushing in the clockwise direction (when you look down), and in the same direction on your back. Brush the arms and legs starting from the bottom to the top, toward of your heart. You can also brush the bottoms of your feet, your booty, your neck, and your scalp.
Self-massage with oil/Abhyanga: Helps relieve stress and fatigue, enhances sleep, and soothes your nervous system which leads to less inflammation and signs of aging. Body oil and improved circulation are especially important in the fall to prevent dry skin and to keep blood flowing. I recommend sesame oil for drier skin, and coconut oil for less dry skin types. Using long strokes, go up and down the legs and arms, starting at the lower leg/arm and upward to the thighs/armpits. Do small circles around joints like knees and elbows, and go in the same direction of dry brushing around the belly (psst: this is the direction the colon moves in). For best results, use warm oil.
Beauty products: I move toward oil and cream-based products for the fall and winter, to keep extra moisture in my drying skin. I swap out a gel facial cleanser for a coconut oil based one. My favorite make up products are RMS since they are natural, organic, GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and not tested on animals... plus so wonderfully pigmented and creamy. I wash my hair less this time of year – usually 2 times per week, which I can get away with since my mane is thick, curly, and dry. This is to allow the oils in my scalp to work their magic, but I also douse my hair in coconut oil once a week the night before I shower (leaving it in for approx. 12 hours).
Herbs: Some of the best herbs for stimulation during this more sluggish time of year are cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, You can also find many teas with these ingredients, but be sure to read the label for organic and full leaves instead of oil (i.e. you want "cinnamon" not "cinnamon bark oil"). Another great herb I take especially during the fall and winter is Triphala to keep my digestive system up and running. I take it as a supplement, but don't eat or drink it because it tastes horrid.
Fall veggies: Nice and cooked, preferably in your favorite oil – I usually use extra virgin olive, walnut, or coconut. Root vegetables, quite literally, keep our energy rooted during this time of year. And the use of oils increases moisture when we begin to dry out. Eating with the seasons is one of the simplest ways to keep our bodies in harmony with the season we are in – they grow at a certain time for a reason! Nature knows exactly what we need. Some of my faves to cook with are brussels sprouts, kale, sweet potatoes/yams, all kinds of squash, carrots, and turnips.
Grounding: There's a reason we want this feeling – the highly airy quality of fall tends to sweep up our minds just like it does the leaves. Once it gets really cool out, I opt for heated yoga classes, bundled-up strolls outdoors, less social obligations and nights out, more cooking soups at home, and lots of days writing with a pot of tea. After the hot summer, it's what the body and mind need.
I just wrapped up leading 16 amazing women through the 3-week Autumn Abundance program where we covered all of this and much, much more. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed about the next seasonal program offering and my tips on the blog.