How To Not Get Sick in Autumn
It’s officially autumn in upstate New York. The sun rises later, sets sooner, and the air is cooler. I feel a change in my biorhythm when this season comes around. I crave warmer foods, feel more tired, and start to get a slight postnasal drip with the changes trees dropping their leaves and cooler air. I could easily let the postnatal drip build up and chalk it up to a typical autumnal cold. Or, I could get on top of my health and change my habits to accommodate the change in the season. I begin three daily practices to sustain optimal health and keep from getting sick.
First, I use a neti pot daily. If you haven’t tried a neti pot, please do yourself a favor and use it! The neti pot clears out the sinus cavity safely and gently with a warm saline solution you create with salts (you can buy these with your neti pot) and warm water. You can use one pot for both nostrils or, if you are really congested, do one pot per side. I had nasal congestion earlier in the week and used my neti pot three times a day and my nose was clear by bedtime! Try adding a saline rinse via a neti pot to your daily routine to flush out autumnal allergens and keep your sinuses clear.
Second, I sit in front of my Verilux light box for thirty minutes each morning as I drink my coffee or tea and go through my emails. The light box sits on my right side and is diagonally situated so the light is not directly in my eyes (which would be really bright!!), but such that the rods and cones in my eyes still receive the light and regulate my circadian rhythm. This box helps prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and helps me sleep at night. I highly encourage adding this to your morning wellness routine if you are prone to SAD. Some say light boxes can be a way for the body to create Vitamin D, which boosts the immune system. I take a Vitamin D supplement, so I cannot confirm or deny whether the light box helps me create more Vitamin D. I can, however, say that my mood is better and I sleep better. Both of these factors help my immune system!
Third, I eat a lot more warm fruits and veggies instead of cold salads. Autumn is the vata time of year in Ayurveda, which means the season is airy, drier, and can make us feel anxious, ungrounded, and dehydrated unless we balance ourselves. Opt for steamed veggies as a salad instead of the cold, raw salad your body craves in summer, sip more warm teas (chai tea is a favorite of mine), and stew your apples instead of eating them raw. Apples contain enzymes that help us fight viruses, which is key in cold and flu season. Check out my blog on how to make homemade applesauce here (which I have been making for my six-year-old for at least three years and she LOVES). The more warm veggies you can eat, the more phytonutrients you give your body. The more colors of the rainbow you eat, the larger the range of vitamins and minerals you ingest. Feed your cells whole foods and you can certainly work towards keeping optimal health.
Take care of yourself, find new ways to move with the new rhythm and check out my class offerings in which I offer detoxifying movement practices to keep the lymphatic system working optimally. Be well!