Treasures of Nature

Autumn Health & Wellbeing

Autumn has crept up suddenly, bringing with her an abundance of russet red and vibrant yellow leaves. A message of colder days to come, whispers in the air, the bird song echoes a time to slow down, a time to reflect and a time to nurture ourselves. Autumn is a time for us to take special care, to nourish our mind, body and spirit and prepare ourselves for the frostiness of Winter months ahead.

Autumn is time to “Just Let Go”…

Golden are the leaves that fall

and scatter upon the earth below.

Nature is gently settling to sleep

and reminding us to just let go.

This time of year is great for clearing out our home, cupboards, wardrobes and any space where clutter has taken over. We are in fact, letting go physically of belongings that have no purpose in our lives, thus making more room for newness. Open the doorway in your life for Autumn harvest, storing and preservation! Our own body is closely following Nature herself and Nature is guiding us along the way.

As much as physically clearing our home, we can also begin to think about clearing our emotions. Let go emotions which are continually troubling you such as anger, worry, fear etc. Letting go of negative emotions and gifting ourselves with kindness and love can help prevent unwanted emotions settling into the physical body causing problems in our physical health. Allow yourself to let go of the past. Give yourself permission that you can let go, for what has been and gone, serves you no favours. You can help bring positivity into your life by doing things you enjoy and things that make you smile. If we look closely, we all have something that makes us feel good and happy.  Nurturing ourselves with gifts of kindness and joy can help to improve our emotional well-being. Being happy in our emotional health can help by rewarding us in physical health, boosting our immune system and protecting our body against the common Winter bugs.

Autumn colours reflect warming spices…

Hearty stews, warming chillies and nutritious soups are examples of good, comforting food choices in the Autumn months. We see the richness of Autumnal colours all around us suggesting that using spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, chilli or paprika etc in our cooking can be extremely beneficial to keep our digestion happy and working well. Fruits such as oranges and lemons are also beneficial in helping to keep our vitamin C levels up and to help ward off the first signs of a snuffly nose.

The pungent aroma of golden spice

Clears and cleanses, sharpens the senses.

Warms the tummy on a darkened day.

Keeps you healthy and bugs at bay!

Spicy Aroma for your home…

As far back as the 15th Century, pomanders were made from citrus fruits studded with cloves to help clear odours and prevent the spread of illness in the household. Today, essential oils in Aromatherapy are commonly used to purify the air and to create a soothing, relaxing or uplifting atmosphere dependant on the oil chosen. Fragrance can have a profound affect on our mood, deeply reaching into our very unique being, helping to cheer us on a difficult day, helping to unwind us on a particularly hectic day or helping to invigorate our minds when we need to be alert and awake. Orange essential oil for example is cheering and uplifting to the mood and blends well with the spicy aroma of clove, cinnamon or Bay essential oil which have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lemon essential oil is also uplifting and cleansing. Choose oils from a reputable supplier. Ensure they are the 100 percent pure and of the highest therapeutic grade quality. Neal’s Yard Remedies supply an extremely good range of Aromatherapy essential oils, mostly organic.

Try these recipes in an essential oil burner or diffuser to create an uplifting yet soothing aroma with the addition of purifying the air:

6 Drops in total in a dish of water in the oil burner

Orange 3 drops

Clove 1 drop

Cinnamon 1 drop

Eucalyptus 1 drop

Or…

6 Drops in total in a dish of water in the oil burner

3 Drops Orange

2 Drops Geranium

1 Drop Frankincense

Autumn is Self Care and Nurturing…

Autumn is not only about letting go of unwanted emotion, decluttering our homes, nourishing our bodies with good wholesome food but also remembering we may feel a little more fatigued than usual. The gloomier days may mean that we see little daylight and this can have a massive affect on our mood and well-being. We may not like the thought of the darker days and chillier mornings. Nature is slowing down too, taking a rest. The animals and birds quieten and stock up on food for Winter. Unfortunately, our busy Western lives mean we can’t hibernate like Nature herself but we can help the gentle transition into the colder days….

Get fresh air when possible…

If you work in an office or space where day light is limited, try and get out at lunch time to get some fresh air and much needed day light and vitamin D. Ensure you are wrapped up warm to protect yourself from the chilly winds or frosty air.

Inhale deeply fresh air into your lungs, if necessary through a scarf if the air is cold. Imagine renewed energy, life, vigour entering your body as your breathe in. Exhale, completely emptying your lungs from stale air and letting go any tension physically and emotionally whilst being mindful of your surroundings wherever you are.

Protect against the harsher elements…

If we are cold, we shiver which can make us feel miserable and cause stress in the body. This lowers our immune system, making us susceptible to colds and other viruses. If you are venturing out, wrap up well. Keep the neck and back warm particularly. Wrap a scarf around your mouth and nose particularly in damp cold weather if you are prone to respiratory problems or suffer with asthma, bronchitis, COPD or any other condition affecting your breathing. Keep your back warm to help avoid aching joints, hip pain and back ache. Wear hats to protect the head if suffering with sinusitis, head colds, headaches etc. If we are kept warm, the body is more relaxed and not stressed allowing us to enjoy the fresh air even on the coldest of days.

A brisk walk with family/friends or simply on our own with a hot flask of soup or tea makes venturing out on a cold day much more inviting! Not only does the fresh air feed our body with fresh oxygen and great for getting our joints moving but we also get vital Vitamin D even on a cloudy or dull day.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is though to be caused by a lack of daylight in the Autumn and Winter months.

Skin and Hair Care…

The chillier months of Autumn and Winter mean our skin can become dry, chapped, sore or dull. Hair may lack lustre. You may even find you seem to be loosing more hair in the Autumn months. Lack of daylight and fresh air alongside central heating, biting winds and dehydration may all play a part. It is important to try and keep yourself hydrated in Autumn. This can be by drinking herbal teas as well as water. The recommended amount of water intake is 1.5 – 2 litres a day. This will help to keep your skin plump and bright as well as helping to keep nails strong and hair in good condition. Chapped lips and cracked finger tips particularly the edges of the thumbs may also be an area which you need to focus on. Try and eat plenty of omega 3 oils found in flax seeds, walnuts, olive oil, salmon, mackerel and shellfish. A good omega supplement may also be beneficial at this time. This can help benefit your skin and hair by easing dryness, helping to prevent hair loss and also reduce skin inflammation. Neal’s Yard remedies do a range of supplements and remedies to support the body through the chillier months alongside various skin hydrating moisturisers such as Frankincense Hydrating moisturiser and Wild Rose Beauty balm for dry cracked skin. Another skin saviour, I love is the Neal’s Yard Bee Lovely range, particularly the balms for soothing sore areas on the hands and feet . And we must not forget our Lips and nails. For there is nothing worse than sore lips which crack every time you try and smile or lips that look unsightly with your favourite lipstick! By keeping hydrated internally through drinking plenty of water and applying a nourishing, hydrating moisturiser externally, we can protect our body inside and out from the harsh elements.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, on average covering 2 square meters and weighing approx 3.6kg so it deserves our attention and TLC!

I like to use Coconut Oil on my dry hair as a intensive conditioning treat particularly in the Autumn and Winter. You only need a tiny amount. Take out a small amount of Coconut Oil using a wooden spatula and rub into the palms before applying to the scalp and running through to the ends of the hair. The longer you leave this in, the more beneficial to your hair and scalp. If you wish wrap the hair up in a turban to keep warmth in, enhancing the conditioning affect. If you are leaving the coconut oil on overnight, make sure your hair is wrapped up well to prevent spoiling your pillow cases.

So, as we take our steps into the colder months of the year, we can embrace the beauty of Nature around us. Nature herself suggests to us this is the time of year to just let go, to protect our mind, body and spirit in the colder, shorter days, to nurture and be kind our to ourselves, noticing that at times we may need more rest during the Autumn and Winter months. By taking care of ourselves and recognising our own unique needs, we can flow with Nature from Summer to Autumn like a river flowing effortlessly from the hills to the sea.

Autumn, for me, reflects letting go, protection, transition, self preservation, self-care, nurture, harvest, slowing down and

coming together of family and friends.