With the winding down of summer, nature’s settling down and preparing for the winter.
Before she retreats however, nature thoroughly celebrates her harvest time, releasing her bounty of summer gifts and making way for new growth to be sown and nurtured.
With her abundance of colors and still-kind sunlit days, I’ve always found autumn a wonderful time to re-establish routines, set goals and create good habits for winter coming.
I’ve already seen a good few autumns coming in and love to share my top seven tips for flowing into fall:
1. Acknowledge your Abundance.
It’s time to sit down with nature, collecting all the goodness the year has brought us so far. Take some time and a mug of tea, and follow your train of thoughts.
Looking back at spring and summer, what great things have come into your life? What did nature bring in? What did you bring about yourself?
Pen down all the wonderful things you were given and all that you accomplished yourself.
Take your time, read over your notes, slowly and consciously savoring the harvest of your year. Experience your abundance with the fulfillment of a farmer at the end of the season and feel your heart open to the new season.
2. Clear your Grounds.
Nature’s clearing her grounds, and so are we by using the 15 minutes egg-timer trick.
Take an egg-timer, go to your space, put the egg-timer on 15 minutes—no more—and start (15 minutes per space).
Use the FACT system by making three stacks:
File: Keep and put away.
Act: Do something with it.
Toss: Throw it out, right now!
Sift your summer clothes into two piles—donate or store—and welcome your fall wear into your closet. Wash the clothes you’ve put on your donate pile and put them to good use.
Recycle those out-of-date goods and get rid of the processed and junk foods that somehow sneaked into your pantry.
Consider the rule of thumb of making sure you eat most of your foods out of the refrigerator—lean meats, fish, fruits and veggies should really make up the bulk of your diet—and welcome those great autumn treats of ripe pears and sweet carrots.
Make your space ready for a long winter nap.
If you like your bed cozy, get your winter linen out of storage. Change from light cotton sheets to warmer flannel and swap your lightweight bedspread for a heavier duvet.
Clear the clutter and set up a simple nightstand that encourages you to wind down with a comforting book and soft reading light.
Your living room:
Go through your living space with William Morris’ rule in mind:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Gather what you feel no longer applies and sell, donate or ditch.
Go through your bathroom cabinet ruthlessly—ditch those old mascara tubes, stubs of lipstick you didn’t know you still had and that sticky sun protection from two summers ago.
“When in doubt, throw it out.”
Most of the stuff you have in your bathroom is used on your body. This is one room where it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Replenish and Nourish.
As the weather becomes chilly, it’s our natural tendency to drink less.
Maintaining optimal hydration is essential for the body (and mind) to function. So let’s make a conscious effort to drink more and incorporate juicy fruits and vegetables in our diet.
Start your day with a large mug of tangy herbal tea to rev up your system.
Put a large pitcher of water on your desk and spice it up with some slices of lemon, lime or other tangy taste.
More into sweet? Add a handful of raspberries and pomegranate for that great gulp.
With the arrival of the new season, embrace the delicious, moist foods that Autumn offers. Try something new on your stove. Think creamy pumpkin soup, roosted parsnips, winter squash, caramelized pears, fig treats with elderberry tea and apple scones with cranberry jam.
4. Establish your Energizing Routine.
As daylight shortens and life retreats indoors, we all tend to move around a little less.
Fortunately the winding down of the busy summer makes a good time to consciously create energizing habits for the upcoming months of winter and the holiday season.
Take up an old love of yours like the yoga you used to practice. Try out something new like the latest trend of kickboxing. Or, finally establish that weekly Wednesday running team you’ve been thinking about—just do it!
Plan it, arrange it and put it on your calendar. Yes, right now—because you know, later always turns into never.
5. Connect to your Source.
Autumn is the time to slow down and enjoy some internal reflection.
Allow this season to be a chance to nurture yourself and connect to your Source. Find your way to deepen your connection—meditation, prayer, yoga, reading, journaling, a gratitude jar, walking into nature, personal development classes—whatever works for you.
Just make sure you take your daily moment of resourcefulness.
Volunteer. Put yourself to the service and benefit of others. There’s no greater way of connecting to our Source than through taking care of our community. Even better—volunteer together.
Already taking care of loved ones? Give them that extra squeeze.
6. Bring the Outside In.
Now that we close the patio doors, it’s time to bring the outside in.
Our connection to nature is an essential ingredient of our health and well being. Adding a little nature to our lives is a wonderful way to put a few more deep exhales into our daily routine.
Think plants—they can improve indoor air quality significantly and help you sleep.
Fresh cut flowers, proven to boost happiness in the home.
A variety of kitchen herbs in small pots for a quick tisane (fresh basil or thyme make delicious herbal tea).
Consider a water element in your home. A glass bowl with a floating flower is a beauty to the eye and a soothing for the soul.
And if you’re into it, place a few nice rocks around—either pebbles you collected on that sunny afternoon or some healing crystals to clear and heal.
7. Shed your Skin.
The air is getting crispy, and although the sun is not very harsh, we still need a sunscreen.
But as the sun fades, so does our summer tan. Time to polish up and take of those layers.
Scrub and exfoliate—your body and your face—and prepare your skin for some deeper moisturizing. Invest in a good facial moisturizer with sunscreen for that great autumn glow.
Oil your body (an effective way of deep moisturizing the skin while at the same time pacifying and balancing the mind).
Massage your body with warm sesame oil, nurturing, strengthening and balancing the dryness, especially after that scrub you just did.
It’s most beneficial to oil before a warm shower. Just make sure you don’t slip or use your best towels.
Oh, and book that hair appointment now; it really is time to trim or finally get that great cut.
Apply these seven tips and you’ve aligned yourself with fall, bringing in your harvest and making small but powerful adjustments that will nourish and strengthen you this abundant season.
Most of all, you’ve cleared your mental and physical grounds (yes, 15 minutes per space does work) for more to come.
Now go out and make this an autumn to remember.
Author: Elles Lohuis
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Courtesy of the Author // Hernán Piñera/Flickr