Prepare for Winter this Fall

Early autumnHave you felt the coming change?  It may not seem like it, but we are already beginning to move through the seasonal shift to autumn, which as you know means we are heading for winter and the dreaded cold and flu season. Although change is inevitable, it doesn’t need to be difficult and it doesn’t mean that we are destined to catch this season’s in-vogue virus. There are some simple things that you can do to prepare for the change and bolster yourself against cold and flu season and the dropping temperatures.  Just understanding what is happening during this seasonal transition can help us make choices that will better prepare us for what lies ahead.

As summer winds down, its active, warming “yang” energy begins to slow and withdraw towards the center.  This happens so that energy may be conserved and renewed for the following season, and also acts to protect the organism against the harsh conditions of winter.  Examples of this in nature may be seen when the leaves begin to change color and fall to the ground signaling a transfer of energy to the tree’s root system.  Another example is when the summer’s lighter vegetables such as summer squash and tomatoes begin to give way to the hardier winter squash and root vegetables.

You may also sense seasonal changes within yourself. You might become more sensitive to temperature changes; you may also notice you need more rest just to maintain the same energy levels that were possible with a lot less sleep during the summer’s rush of activity.  Because in many ways our modern lifestyle has caused us to feel as if we have been separated from nature, noticing these changes requires you to pay attention in a different fashion.  Following are some ideas to help you begin to make a positive shift through the autumn and into the winter.

  • Carry a sweater or light jacket with you.  This time of year we may see temperature fluctuations of up to 30 degrees and sometimes more.  Mornings and evenings are very cool and the daytime may continue to be scorching.  Subjecting ourselves to drastic temperature changes makes it difficult for the body to adjust and can tax our energy making us more susceptible to illness.

  • Begin transitioning from cooling summer salads to more warming soups and cooked foods. Another important part of Chinese medicine that is often overlooked in our culture is the energetic properties of food.  Salads and many summer veggies are cooling in nature, while most winter and root veggies are warming, especially when cooked.  Compared to summer veggies, winter and root veggies get their energy from deeper within the earth and in turn help us store up and prepare for the long cold season.

  • Take a nap!  Yes, that’s right, I suggest you get more sleep.  Many studies show that sleep can help restore normal immune response along with having many other beneficial effects. Many of us do not get enough sleep at night and many experts agree that daytime naps between 10-30 minutes can help us recover more quickly from sleep deprivation.  Generally, if you are able to get more rest, now is the time to begin doing that, because what we do now greatly influences how we feel in the next season.

  • Come in and get a series of immune-boosting acupuncture treatments.  Acupuncture is a fantastic way to help prepare and bolster the body during seasonal changes and periods of increased stress, including environmental stress.  Also, ask about herbal formulas that have been used successfully for increasing immunity and preventing or mitigating colds and flu. Jade Screen Tabs, in particular, are a great way to strengthen the immune system, but they need to be taken over a period of time and the time to start is now.