Hello Autumn! Such a beautiful time of year. It always takes me some time to adjust to the colder season, but the sunny days and vibrant colours have certainly helped to embrace the changes in lifestyle. Did you welcome it with ease?

At the weekend I foraged for rosehips, which was a first for me. I read that post war children would venture out to the countryside to collect as many rosehips as they could carry, in return for coins and badges. The families would use them as a staple source of Vitamin C through the winter months, to replace the citrus supply that had been cut off as a consequence of war. Rosehips contain some of the highest amounts of Vitamin C in any plant, 20 times more than an orange!

It’s kept me busy in the kitchen trying out different recipes. Lots of recipes include a mass of sugar which you don’t necessarily need, it has such a lovely flavour on it’s own. I blended some of the juice with ginger and lemon to make a batch of immune tonics, tried some tea and added the remainder to soup. Such seasonal powerhouses that are so delicious and versatile! *See recipes below*

Top tips for keeping well this Autumn

Metal Element. In Chinese medicine theory, Autumn is known as the Metal element and represents transformation. We can see this in our environment as the leaves turn yellow and red and the days become shorter and colder. Autumn invites us to start slowing down and nurture ourselves. When we allow ourselves time to rest in the yin phases of the year, it can support healthy immune function and help us to spring back in the warmer yang months.

Letting go. We can embrace this time of year to let go of things that no longer serve us, just as the trees let go of their leaves. Maybe it’s time to let go of any excess mental or physical clutter that you’ve accumulated this year, that no longer has a place in your life. Clear spaces that make you feel weighed down to help transition into this season. Metal energy thrives with structure and organization, create a space that inspires you to do the things that you enjoy!

Grief is the emotion associated with the lungs and colon, and the metal element. Autumn is the season when our energy (qi) moves inward, it encourages us to look within and identify our own sadness or unresolved grief. Sharing experiences with others or creating a practice of your own can allow feelings of grief to move through you. Give yourself some time, and reach out to a therapist for some grief work if you need to.

Sleep. Try to get at least 7 hours sleep at night, there are strong links between a good nights sleep and immunity. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try resetting your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) by rising with the sun and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Avoid as much artificial light as possible during the hours before bed, including tv and any screens. An Epsom salt bath and a few drops of lavender can induce sleepiness.

Vitamin D. Keep levels up to support healthy immune function. Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s synthesized in the body when we come into contact with sunlight. Increase absorption by exposing face and arms for 10 – 20 minutes daily. Through the winter months we can top up by taking a high grade supplement such as D3 (more active form)

Zinc is responsible for immune cell function, wound healing and anti inflammatory response. Deficiency can lead to weakened immune response. It can be beneficial to take a short course over the winter period.

Movement. Try to get some exercise every day, ideally first thing in the morning to boost metabolism and make you feel good. Whether it’s a walk in nature or some stretches at home or in a class, it all counts!

Stay hydrated. Fresh water, herbal teas and thin, fresh soups can be included.

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