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By Katrien Maes, Ayurvedic therapist


Autumn is dry, rough, windy, changing, erratic, cool, … As the external environment changes during this season, your internal environment can experience the same type of changes: dry skin, crackly joints, windy bowels, cold body or cold extremities, constantly changing thoughts, …


Applying the Ayurvedic principle that opposite actions create balance, you can maintain balance during autumn by emphasising lifestyle and food choices that are grounding, stabilising, warming, moisturising and softening.


Here are 7 tips to make this ‘autumn balancing’ more concrete in your daily lif

1. Follow a regular routine: A fixed daily structure is very useful to reduce over-action in your head, especially in autumn. Next to work and the ‘must do’s’, see if you can schedule time for self-care, good meals and enough sleep.
Maybe you can print out your calendar of the week, in the weekend before a new week, or take your paper agenda and sit down with it in front of you. Mindfully consider what is really necessary to do, and what you might skip. Try to liberate as much as you can, even if this causes some anxiety. Ask yourself: how do I really need to spend my time right now.

2. Adapt your diet: Eat seasonal foods that are warm, moist, unctuous, sweet and soft.

Focus on cooked meals, savoury soups and stews; cooked (not overcooked) vegetables, proteins and fruits, sweet grains such as oat to make a warm breakfast.
Include healthy fats in your diet, increase the amount of oil when preparing your meals. Use warming and grounding herbs and spices such as fresh ginger, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, … Avoid cold and dry food such as toast, dairy, raw food.


3. Eat mindfully: Be mindful while eating, eat slowly and consciously, in a peaceful environment or in silence. Take/make time for your meals.


4. Stay warm: Sip plenty of warm beverages throughout the day: herbal teas and water with fresh ginger, to increase the digestive fire and immunity. Reduce coffee as it induces dryness, mental action and exhaustion. Avoid cold and fizzy drinks.
Wear clothing that is soft and warm. Especially keep your head, neck and feet warm. Try to avoid air conditioning or wind on your upper body muscles.


5. Seek silence. Schedule some moments of silence, alone or by joining a meditation, yoga, tai chi or mindfulness group or activity. Ancient mind-body practices such as yoga and Tai Chi produce more energy than they consume. By practising you will feel calm, invigorated and clear-headed.


6. Go outside: spend quiet time in nature, go for a walk in the woods or at the seaside.
Try a “savouring walk”: mindfully take in the beautiful colours you see, the perfume of autumn, the sound of walking through the leaves, … Allow yourself to really enjoy and appreciate the beautiful things you notice.


7. Perform a daily self-massage: Heat a bit of sesame oil and massage gently your feet before going to sleep, it reduces the action in your head and promotes sleep. Or go for a regular body-head massage to get rid of emotional and/or physical tension and to align your mind with your body.

Wishing you a healthy and nourishing autumn!