Now that we are into Fall, I wanted to share some routines I implement with this season. I think of fall as our downward shift in our gears of life. I like to think about this season as a progressive slow down into the winter months. I usually am longing for this time to hit so I can start implementing and let’s be honest, removing the sand from my home. Summer is glorious and amazing and I don’t like packing it up too soon, but just as we need summer days we need fall ones and winter ones and spring ones. They are all equally valuable but they are made most valuable by the routines we set for the season.
Since moving back to a seasonal climate I have worked so hard to align myself with the shifting of the days so I can better enjoy them and let them do the proper work on me. So I hope to share these routines with you more.
Now, these routines are ones that work for me to be aware of the season, my body, and my emotional well being during the shifts that happen with a season like fall. I suggest taking from it what works for you and leave what doesn’t. Everyone has different needs and at different times of life too. I find that some of these speak more to me than others do at certain times of life and I think that is part of a season. We can use these times to become more aware of what our needs are within our body and what really isn’t necessary for us to thrive or can even feel burdensome, which we do not want. So here are some routines I suggest.
Lower the lights:
As the sun sets later and later every day till we reach the darkest day of the year (winter solstice) and the sun rises later and later, it is important to think about this within our own homes. When we find we are rising before the sun and heading to bed well after the sun has set, we shift the lighting in our homes. We switch to candles, table lamps and other light that is at seated height or lower. The reason being is that when we shift our lighting it both creates a warmer atmosphere since less light usually means cooler nights and days. Also the colder months are a time to ground ourselves, so bringing light lower to the ground creates a settledness in the home. It is one of the small things that truly does a lot. We also use dimmers as well, which isn’t always possible for most, but we keep lower and warmer lights in our home as the ones used most often till the sun is up and we turn them off so our house can be filled with as much natural light during the day even if it is a dreary one.
Early to bed:
You think I am joking, but this is one of the most exciting parts of fall to me. The sun is finally down by the time I go to bed, which means I can take a warm shower and head to bed to take the chill from the day off. I put my phone on do not disturb and I take some Magnesium and drink my tea and head to bed. I sleep extremely well in the fall and winter months. The wind blows outside and I am restfully awake after 8-9 hours of sleep by 6/6:30 AM. It is really wonderful and I feel far more healthy and on top of the day. I love that fall literally draws us closer to home and into a place where we slowly focus our routines on rest and taking care of ourselves.
Put away the Screens:
On the same bed time note, we also limit our screen time. It can feel like because the evenings are darker and colder that drawing inward also means more time on a device or with the TV on. Don’t get me wrong we love a good movie night around here but we usually reserve it for the weekends either as a family or choosing to watch a favorite show. In total I would guess Mike and I watch max 3 hours of TV a week even in the winter months. The reason being is the screens emit blue light which messes with our rhythms. Our phones do the same and so do our computers so we keep it limited. Our main living and sleeping areas do not have a TV and I fully feel it helps us sleep and rest better. We typically opt more often for chatting, hanging out together, or reading books. Since doing this I have slowly read nearly a dozen books in the last year and a half. Not to mention we sleep wonderfully and feel connected with one another as we aren’t zoned our from watching too much TV and not discussing life. I like to think that by spring we have both become stronger together and more connected through our communicating so much because we have put away the screens pretty intensly during this season.
Spend Time Outdoors:
With the days getting colder, it is easy to hide away, but now is the time to acclimate to the cold so it is gradual and easy. Every day it is important to go on a small or quick walk somewhere whether it be down the road or for a hike in a favorite place. Just getting out in the elements for 30 minutes each day is extremely important. We spend soooo much of summer outside whenever possible, but we recluse once it gets cold. I have learned to love the fresh cool air of fall and the smell of changing leaves more than I thought possible. It is important to dress apropriately and warmly, but once you figure that out it is so enjoyable! I also find this is a great time to process things and think and take in how the world is changing and in turn I am as well. I also highly suggest if you are near wooded areas to somewhere to just sit and take in the weather. It sounds silly, but find a fallen tree, bench in a park, etc to sit on. It is funny how the longer you are there the wooded world begins to see you less and you meld into the landscape. You start to see all that is happening and can truly hear yourself clearer.
Eat warm meals when the weather calls for it:
Since fall is transitional we can think of our meals as the same. Eating warming dishes in the morning on a cold frosty day will be much more enjoyable than something cold would be and the same goes for our dinners. Making soup and having fresh bread with it or roasting veggies and a protein in the oven all of it will be satisfying and calming to our day as we transition into winter. On the other hand if we have a warm day, I push aside the idea of warming things and think light and fresh but still in season for our meals. I find when I am intune with the heat of the day and coordinate my meals according to it, it makes a huge difference in how I feel. Add in spices like Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, and nutmeg to warm dishes and fend off pesky colds.
Reflect amongst the changing season:
It seems to me that these “in-between seasons” as I call them are the hardest ones on our emotional states. Every day could be the last truly warm day for the year or in the spring it can feel like the cold is absolutely endless and when do I get to finally slip on something other than snow boots. I have found as someone who has stayed here in Northern Michigan (literally haven’t left in almost a year) that it is best to reflect in these in-between seasons. Find simple joys. For instance in the fall when the leaves fall and the cold settles in I make a point to head to favorite natural places that fill me up. I look for a new routine with friends. But I also use the time to reflect on my mental state. When I am out on a walk, I think through how I am doing. What feels like too much? Why am I procrastinating about that? Why do I feel frustrated? Why do I feel stuck? What is causing it all? When the days feel long and gray these reflections are near necessary to come out with a positive vibe to the season. Look for the bits of beauty in the every day. That is where the magic happens.
Take Your Vitamin D:
The most important thing is to check in your vitamin D levels during the fall. You can run a blood test with your doctor to know your levels and then up to a point that is both safe and good for you. Everyone is different, but Mike and I both agree that between setting proper lighting in the house and taking our Vitamin D daily we have a better and healthier cold season.
So tell me, what are some of your routines you begin to implement in the fall? What works and what hasn’t? Is there anything that makes you enjoy the season more than not?