The change of seasons in New England is more than just a temperature shift. The days grow shorter, and with that, our body clock adjusts. We may find our sleep to be more restless or fitful, our skin drier than usual, and our bowel movements may become irregular. Our energy may be increased, even leading to feelings of anxiety, or we may find ourselves groggy and absent-minded (more than usual!). But, worry not — there are holistic remedies abound!
1. Doshic Massage. In Aryuvedic medicine, the change of seasons means a shift in our mental, emotional and physical energies. The doshas, which are three mind-body types that convey these energies, are very much influenced by our interactions with environment. A change in seasons is enough to put our whole vibe out of whack.
In order to help balance our doshas this time of year, it is helpful to indulge in a full-body, oil-heavy massage. A traditional Aryuvedic “abhyanga” is a purifying massage that helps to move the lymph, circulating out old energies and boosting our defenses against illness, inflammation, and allergies, and also serves to impart rich fatty acids and vitamins through the skin, which in turn play a role in healthy skin, hair, nails, and balanced immune function (vitamins A & E especially), as is so important this time of year. The oils selected for this massage would be based on your particular dosha(s). Here’s a site that suggests how to perform abhyanga self-massage for this time of year.
2. Nutrition. If you feel more stressed out lately, or are having trouble focusing, try boosting your metabolism and brain power with intentional food choices.
In addition to ditching the refined carbohydrates especially starches and processed, sugary sweets, which give us a short-lived energy and mood boost, we want to add in complex, nutrient-rich sources of energy that sustain us far beyond the 30 minutes following a meal or snack.
In particular, we want to focus on increasing our intake of B-vitamins. This family of nutrients is so critical for good mood and appropriate energy throughout the morning, day, and night. You may wish to supplement with a B-complex vitamin, or chose to increase your intake of whole grains and dark green vegetables.
This time of year, we can also do ourselves a favor and make sure we are getting enough omega-3’s. Increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake is as easy as building a meal around a can of fatty fish, like mackerel and sardines, just 2-3 times per week. We can make a daily habit of snacking on a handful of walnuts, or adding to preferred foods a couple spoonfuls of freshly ground flaxseed or hempseeds. Omega-3’s play a crucial role in fighting stress and stabilizing our energy and emotions, as these fats literally lower inflammation associated with erratic and chaotic ways of thinking and being, and allow for proper nervous system signaling.
3. Herbal supplements. There are many herbal options for nurturing an energetic mental state. This time of year, I like to recommend trying gingko biloba, for its ability to improve energy, boost mood, clear the mind, and achieve better focus. It can be taken daily in tincture form, and would be worth trying daily for 3-4 weeks to determine if it offers you any meaningful benefits. As with all herbals, having a chronic condition may make herbals problematic for you. Be sure to check with your doctor should you have a chronic health conditions, like hypertension or kidney disease, or are taking medications for cardiovascular disease, which do have a high potential to interact with gingko biloba.