seasons

The stress of slowing down

September is simply whooshing by, and while it's gray and damp again as I write this, we had a gorgeous respite yesterday - blue skies and a warm sun.

Bill and I finally got a chance to head down to one of our happy places, Longwood Gardens, where we took in the lush end-of-summer colors, including the meadow:

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Anyway...

I wrote a little last week about the Chinese Medicine characteristics of this time of year, namely, late summer, or the transition time between the seasons.

This period, roughly nine days before and after the actual seasonal change, is ideally a time of preparation for what's to come in terms of diet, activities, mindset, etc.

September 22 marks the autumn equinox for us this year.

More than just an arbitrary date, this is when the sun is directly overhead at noon on the earth's equator, and the northern and southern hemispheres are receiving the same amount of darkness and light. As we head into winter, the sun's rays are angled more directly to the southern hemisphere, hence our days here in the north become colder and shorter.

In nature, we can already see the changes, as the leaves on the trees start to darken and then lose their green altogether; more yellows and gold appear on the foliage. Flowers that are hardier in cooler weather begin to emerge: asters, goldenrod, chrysanthemums, and round fruits and vegetables, like apples and squash come into ripening.

Times of transition can be stressful.

But stress - if we think of it as a workload, or a test - is likely to reveal to us where our weaknesses are, which we can then learn to strengthen.

In our culture, we don't typically recognize the rhythmic and cyclical nature of our bodies as we can see so clearly in nature.

But as the light changes (and that's without the whole time change nonsense), the quality of the air becomes cooler and drier. We're inside more, our eating habits and activity levels change - all these things can leave us more vulnerable to colds, flu, and just feeling down and tired.

We are also not a culture that slows down when nature does, and, as our bodies are probably moving less, and breathing less deeply, our lungs and digestive systems are not as active. 

Indeed, the autumn in Chinese Medicine is associated with the emotions 'melancholy' and 'grief', and the Lungs and Large Intestine Organs become predominant.

We'll be talking about that more as fall kicks in, but in the meantime, you can start preparing for that shift in downward and inward energy - mostly by assessing and perhaps capping off your big-project list, and attending to your home space for the next week or so.

Stay tuned - next week we'll start giving you tips for sailing through a healthy autumn!

New routine? Just keep moving!

I guess when the school busses start appearing on the roadways, we know the end of summer is near. (Insert heavy sigh.)

New routines can be inspiring or disruptive, but are usually a little of both.

We've established an impressive routine here at P4H of airing three Facebook Live videos a week since February (yay, us!).

I think we've done around 83 so far, and as we near our 100th episode, we've been pondering how to engage our readers and office visitors even more - to encourage more movement, and to remember our relationship in the natural order of things, for better health, and less stress.

Soooo..

Coming soon (...like next week!): 

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Posturing for Your Month - Moving Through the Seasons!

As the calendar and the seasons change, so do our external and internal rhythms. Different routines, schedules and levels of energy can threaten to sabotage even our best healthy intentions.

Drawing from the Traditional Chinese Medicine seasonal associations (see here and here for an overview), from qigong, from restorative exercise, and with an eye on how crazy-busy most of us seem to be, we will present a package of 'posturing' resources every month to help you stay balanced and healthy, no matter what the calendar (and Mother Nature) is throwing at you.

What's included in this package?

All this... but not limited to...

~ Inspirational quotes about each season (because who doesn't like quotes?)

~ A short summary of the season according to Chinese Medicine

~ A list of suggestions for seasonally-relevant lifestyle tweaks

~ A monthly book review

~ And ... a list of movement challenges for the month...some with accompanying, helpful videos! 

Best part? No charge! 

Everything will be posted in the office, as well as here on the site, including downloads, in case you want a paper list handy. And, we want to you invite YOU, our readers and clients to post your photos and comments to our Facebook page, and/or our brand new Instagram account

Check back here next week, or subscribe to our newsletter, so you won't miss the first installment of Posturing for Your Month!

Let's move into a new season together!