In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) autumn signifies the transition from the active and flowering spring and summer to a more passive season. This is the time to harbour your resources while getting rid of any excesses. Imagine it as your body’s way of preparing for hibernation after a season of hunting and gathering.
Last month I advised you to bring forward your health resolutions instead of waiting for deepest, greyest January to implement a new exercise regime. Here in London at least, it seems even the nice sunny weather was trying to encourage a bit of activity.
The Lung needs our attention during the autumn when the conditions are dryer and hence the moistening foods from last month’s wellness tips. In TCM we view the Lung as responsible for typical respiratory functions as well as the skin. As the weather gets colder and wind picks up, you need to defend yourself from respiratory infections and protect from dry skin. I always recommend wearing a scarf at this time as the neck is especially vulnerable to invasions of cold and wind.
While all the back to school promotions in shops have filtered outside of schools with people getting down to business and the manic chaos of London Fashion Week in the papers, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be overexerting yourself either. Plan and prioritise if you tend to find yourself swamped or make sure you set some time aside for social activities.
Shops are already selling Halloween decorations (and the treats which we will promptly ignore) and you can look forward to pumpkins and squashes which are in season later on in the month. Soups are probably the easiest way to take advantage of these warming vegetables which help nourish the qi, but you can also try them in stews. Last year, in a moment of madness, I made pumpkin pie fit for an American Thanksgiving meal. I added in nutmeg and cinnamon and it gave off a lovely aroma that was also warm and nourishing. Remember not to over do it with the cream or ice cream.
Photo credit: Erik Solheim via flickr
You might also like: