We are all tied to the seasons. In summer we spend time outside, we eat lighter, and we tend to be more active.
Historically, people around the world celebrate harvest or fall with fasts (Ramadan, Yom Kippur), reflection about their own lives, or making amends. It's also a traditional time to focus on balancing the body.
Here are some easy steps you can take in the next few weeks to prepare your body for the harsh winter, to prevent diseases, and to stay strong and happy:
1. Do a guided fast.
Every culture and major religion fasts, to help followers purge months of debris, toxins, and excesses. Today, detoxes and fasts are really popular, but you must be careful, especially if you’ve never tried one and your diet is not as clean as it should be.
You can check out my book Cleanse! for a guided three-day juice fast or a 21-day food-based cleanse.
2. Massage your feet.
Do you start to feel like your fingers and toes are cold even when the rest of you feels warm? Massaging your feet before bed and first thing in the morning with sesame oil can keep your feet warm and, according to Ayurveda, it’s a great immune-system booster.
3. Sleep more.
Yep, you need more sleep when the days get shorter. It’s not just you.
Almost everything in nature, including animals and plants, need more rest during fall and winter. Stop fighting it and make sure to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
4. Use warming herbs.
For your daily meals, use herbs and spices that increase warmth to the body like pepper, cardamom, horseradish, cinnamon, and garlic.
Embrace warming teas like chai instead of drinking coffee, and use moisturizers infused with warming herbs to keep your skin smooth and healthy.
5. Embrace the outdoors.
Sounds counterintuitive because the weather is colder and your instinct is to stay indoors and cozy up. Resist this urge, bundle up, and do some hiking; get some crisp fresh air into your lungs and keep your body moving.
Trust me, this was hard for me at first, too, but now it’s an important part of my fall cleanse routine.
6. Supplement with vitamin D.
When your diet is varied and full of colorful foods, you might not need to supplement, but in fall and winter you’re not getting enough sunlight, so your vitamin D levels may decrease. I prefer taking a supplement in pill or powder form rather than having sugary drinks that are fortified.
Want more ways to gear up for fall? Start here: