3 Easy Steps to Protect Your Mind, Body & Spirit This Fall

The cold winds of change are upon us and so is cold-and-flu season.

Have you ever noticed that when the seasons change we start wishing we could change too?

While springtime and summer inspire creativity, fun and reinvention, fall and winter guide us to look inward as the days get shorter and darker.

Before we look outward about how to stay healthy this season, let’s look inward and see what might be making us sick.

[Feeling Sick? 8 Positives to Focus On]

According to Chinese Medicine, the natural elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Water and Metal belong to a system existing in all things. These elements affect a wide array of natural phenomena ranging from how the solar system unfolds to the health and vitality of our internal organs. Metal is the element associated with autumn because it helps balance and protect our respiratory and immune systems as well as our large intestine and skin.

Some clear signs your Metal Element is out of balance is if you have a runny nose, chronic cough with lots of (green/yellow gross) phlegm, low immunity and low energy. Metal imbalances don’t just show up in your body but also in how well you experience and release emotions. Feelings such as sadness, disappointment, vulnerability and unsociability are indicative of a Metal Element imbalance.

So what do we do? How do we re-balance our mind, body and spirit this fall?

[How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season]

Here are three powerful and simple tools for lightening up and staying as strong as steel (like metal) as the days get dark and cold.

1. Take extra precautions to keep your chest and neck warm by wearing a scarf or always zipping up your jacket before heading outdoors. The acu-points on the neck are most susceptible to wind and cold. If your chest and neck get cold, you can expect the sniffles to begin, so bundle up and zip it up.

2. The moment you feel cold and flu symptoms coming on, like sniffles and/or an achy neck and shoulder, change your diet. Supercharge your immune system by eating pungent foods such as steamed or braised garlic, onions and turnips. Add cinnamon and ginger to your recipes including hot beverages (e.g., cinnamon in your coffee is delicious and a super immunity booster).

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

3. Most people feel a shift in energy as we experience less and less daylight during the fall and winter months. This simple, three-minute Qigong Lung Cleansing Exercise alleviates feelings of lethargy and sadness. Qigong’s gentle motions and breathing patterns help clear and harmonize the lungs so you feel energized, healthy and calm no matter how dark and cold it is outside:

 


{Image credit: Sebastian Unrau, Unsplash}

 

About the Author

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Chris Shelton is a certified practitioner and teacher with 15 years of clinical experience in Qigong, an ancient holistic health modality that combines traditional Chinese medicine with movement, breath and visualization. He’s helped thousands of people across the United States and around the world reclaim their health and enjoy lives free from chronic pain. Chris has worked with Special Olympics teams, professional martial artists, weight lifters and celebrities looking for deeper meaning in their lives. Chris’ belief in the healing powers of Qigong is rooted in first-hand experience. As a teenager he suffered from a devastating back injury that left him in constant pain and partially paralyzed. He attributes his full recovery to Qigong, a holistic approach perfect for people who want non-invasive, affordable and empowering healthcare.Chris’ work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and been featured on radio and television. He is founder of Morning Crane Healing Arts Center in San Jose, California, and the author of Qigong for Self-Refinement. Chris is often found chasing after his favorite herd of turtles: his wife, four kids and one grandkid. His second book, Ancient Medicine, Modern Miracles: Tools for Healing, Eliminating and Preventing Disease, is currently being read by publishers.

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