Transiting in autumn: How to look after ourselves and strengthen our immunity in autumn
Autumn is upon us. The beautiful golden leaves of elms, orange displays of maples, red flushes of oaks … paint a beautiful picture of the autumn landscape. Almost everyone loves the beauty of autumn and the freshness in the air.
Do you know that the colour changes in plants signify a transition to the coming winter? In plants, there are many changes occurring during this time. We, the human, as part of the nature, too experience changes. As the night temperature drops, the day gets shorter plus the finishing of summer daylight saving, there are more darkness and coolness around us.
In Chinese medicine there is an increase of Yin elements in the nature during this transition. Most people will feel tired, some have disturbed sleep, some may experience increased pain and a small percentage, less than one in 100, could experience depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The seasonal cycle has greater impact on people who are sensitive to changes and people who are middle age or above. At Geelong Chinese Medicine, we see an increasing number of people suffer from the above mentioned symptoms in the last a couple of months.
In Chinese medicine, this is a crucial time to help body transiting to the next phase through balancing Yin and Yang that is specific to the season of autumn. To overcome the increasing Yin in the nature, we need to increase Yang activities in our life, if we have not done so.
- Do some exercise, preferably after sunrise;
- Expose to sun light every day for 30 minutes. The best time to do this is in the morning or after 3pm. The sunlight during this time not only help boosts your Vitamin D, but also the angle of sun helps regulate the sleep cycle. This is particular important for those who experience sleep disturbance during this transition;
- Keep warm by adding a couple of layers of cloth to protect neck and shoulder and low back as those are the areas being sensitive to temperature changes. For those who have neck pain, a scarf or shawl would be perfect if you go out or sit in a cold office. You can match the thickness of scarf to your preferred temperature. For instance, for women at peri-menopausal phase and feeling hot, a silk scarf will be perfect to protect your neck from cold and wind without overeating you.
- Eat warm food and drink warm water. People tend to ingest cool food and drink in summer. Autumn is definitely the time to change this practice. Autumn is dry, people tend to have dry cough. Sipping warm water helps moisturise your throat.
- Take Vitamin D (Vit D) daily. More than one in five Australia are Vit D deficient. 1000 IU per day is the preferred dose. Supplementing Vit D is particularly important for people who suffer from joint pain, sleep disturbance, with darker skin or stay indoors most time of the day. Learn more about Vit D and its health benefits here.
We hope this information helps.
Mother’s day is coming. We wish that every mother will have a lovely day with family, friends, community and / or yourself. A beautiful scarf adding to the autumn colours could be a perfect, thoughtful gift to a mum.