Autumn is the season of letting go, allowing the big, bustling energy of the summer to begin to stall, so we can slow down and prepare for the still, quiet winter. We thought it might be helpful to share some of our favorite autumn self-care practices with you, so you can be like Humpty Dumpty and have a great fall!
With social distancing still in effect, this autumn presents a beautiful opportunity to find some stillness and reflect. Needless to say, it has been an absolutely crazy year on a global scale. But what has this year meant for you, personally? For better or for worse, what has this year changed for you? What are you grateful for? And is there anything you would like to let go of?
Whether it’s a habit, a mindset, a burden, or something else entirely, there are many beautiful practices you can use to help let it go.
For your Mind
When the trees are ready to let go of their leaves, they drop them to the Earth to be recycled anew. You can practice doing the same! Find yourself in a comfortable position, ideally seated or standing. Begin to slow the breath, focusing on each inhale and each exhale. As you inhale, call to mind the thing you’d like to let go of, feeling it build and swell into a ball in the chest, along with the breath. Then, as you exhale, imagine pressing and releasing that ball downward, through your feet or your seat, into the Earth. Repeat this over and over as long as you’d like, gradually letting it go, reabsorbed into the Earth.
Another helpful practice is affirmation. This is especially helpful for letting go of something that is bound up in negative thoughts in your mind. An affirmation is a positive statement that takes whatever it is you’re trying to release and flips it on its head - an opposite statement.
For example, if you want to let go of worry, you might choose, “I am fearless” or, “everything is going to be okay.” It is important that your statement has no negatives, even if it’s a statement that you don’t believe in the moment. So, I wouldn’t say “I am not worried,” because that still makes “worry” the center of my statement. Even if I don’t believe that I am fearless, I can still use it until I do!
Once you have an affirmation that feels good, all you need to do is repeat it. Every day. As often as possible. There are no rules as to how to repeat it. You can: write it, think it, speak it, whisper it, scream it, meditate on it, sing it, make it into art, or anything else you can think of! Just keep repeating it, and one day you will find that, without even noticing, you have let your burden go and replaced it with your affirmation. It really is that simple!
For your Body
It's not very common practice in our culture to adjust our diet with the seasons - aside from
the pumpkin spice craze, of course. But the seasons affect what food can grow, so it’s deep within our nature to change our dishes along with the shifting weather. This fall, try slowing down on the "summer foods" like fruits and cold salads, and eating more “fall foods,” like dark, leafy greens, squash & root veggies, beans, and grains. (Here are some great recipes!) Your body will thank you as it uses those hearty fall foods to build up nutrients in preparation for winter.
In Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with the lungs. Supporting and strengthening your lungs will help to support your whole body through this phase of the year. Breathing practices (even ones as simple as the “letting go” meditation described earlier) can help center the awareness around the lungs and the breath.
You can also support the lungs with acupressure points. Earlier this year, we shared a Covid self-care blog that included some great lung-related points to massage. Click here to open that blog, and scroll down to the row of three gifs for a refresher!
And of course, the only thing better than an acupressure self-massage is an acupressure self-massage with CBD! We recommend applying our Massage Oil, or any of our topical CBD products, to these points for additional body balancing. And while you’re at it, give a little rub to anywhere that’s achy. Regular CBD self-massages will help your body let go of its burdens, too, so your whole self can ease into autumn.
For the Bees
What you decide to let go of this fall is entirely up to you. But I do have one suggestion to add to the list... if not for you, then for some little creature-friends who need your help.
It’s your lawn perfectionism.
I’ll spare you the rant on why lawns are the worst (only ‘cause I already wrote about it here). We’ve all been spoon-fed an expectation and a standard for a perfect, even, glowing green lawn - and along with that, a loathing for leaves.
But the dropping of deciduous leaves is tradition far older than time, and those leaves have been put to good use by nature. American bumble bees, several species of butterflies, salamanders, snails, and tons of frogs and toads - just to name a few - rely on the leaf litter to survive. When we rake and bag it all up, we are threatening the survival of many populations of crucial creatures.
I’m not saying you have to let the leaves lie and kill all your grass (although that would be, like, really cool if you did - and you can find some ideas for lawn alternatives here). Instead, simply rake the leaves into your garden beds and leave them there for the leaf litter critters to enjoy. Once the bulk of the leaves are relocated, you can mow through any late droppers on the lawn to mulch them up so they can remain in the grass without suffocating it. The leaves will decompose over the winter and create a natural compost for your gardens and for your lawn. Not to mention, Mother Nature will thank you!
We hope these tips will help you breathe and breeze your way through autumn. With some simple daily practices, we can set up our minds, our bodies, and our natural world for a peaceful winter. All we need to do is relax and let go.
With love, warmth, & a deep breath,