Fall has officially begun, although here in the Bay Area summer has only just arrived :-). Before we know it, the end of the year is here, and with it all the stress of end of year parties, holiday preparations, and the last things to tick off on our 2018 to do list. I feel like everyone is so busy, no one has time to stop and look around, and take in the beauty that is the leaves turning red, the days getting shorter, and the air getting calmer. This is a season of transitions, a season to get ready for hibernation, to let go of obligations and projects we've been busy with all year. This is the season to simplify, and to check in with yourself. Today I want to share four rituals to try this fall, so that you can go into the holiday season without all the stress.
1. Use the sunset as your cue
The days are getting shorter for a reason: we need more rest! Our bodies naturally want to sleep more in the winter, so use the earlier sunsets as a cue to turn off electronics, stop working, and doing things to calm you down. Maybe try some evening yoga, read a good book, take a bubble bath or just simply go to bed early. You will be much more rested for the next day, and you won't drag yourself around all winter long wondering when you will finally have energy again. Check out more ideas for evening rituals to calm down here.
2. Let go of commitments
This is the season to finish up big projects, and let go of commitments you have taken on this year. Try to simplify your life, so that you can make more time to just take care of yourself. The stress of the holiday season is usually just a lack of self care: a lack of sleep, a lack of quiet time, a lack of saying no to things you just really don't want to (like organizing that cookie sale at school!?!?). Be selfish with your time right now, and say no as often as possible. We can't all just be in a go-go energy all year.
3. Clear out your space
Even though we have a traditional spring clean, I like to think of cleaning out my house now as an opportunity to make space for new excitement in the new year. Just like you are trying to simplify your life from projects and commitments, also try to let go of things in your home. Take an extra 30 minutes to clean our your closet of things you didn't wear this summer - you won't wear them next summer, I promise! Set up your kitchen for winter nourishment by cleaning out foods that have passed their good-by-date, throw out chips and dips from the past BBQ season, and instead add more warming staples such as whole grains, beans, and heat inducing spices like ginger, turmeric, and cayenne.
4. Turn inwards to re-invent yourself in 2019
Think of yourself like a plant. Slowly its leaves are falling off, and the plant is turning inwards, bringing all its energy to its roots. It will then blossom again in the new year, re-inventing itself. Use this time to turn inwards, to let go ideas you had about yourself this year, so that in 2019 you can start anew. Even though I am not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, I am a fan of using the natural rhythms of the earth to help you start new. 2019 can be a clean slate for new projects, new jobs, maybe a new child. Use this fall to nourish yourself from the inside, both with food and thoughts, and then re-emerge in the new year. Try this nourishing pumpkin almond smoothie - all the pumpkin spice without the caffeine high :-).
What are some of your favorite fall rituals? Do you carve a pumpkin, make hot chocolates with the kids, or just get caught up in all the entertaining you still have to do until the end of the year? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or send me a love note.
Would you like more tools do deal with holiday stress? Check out my "Surviving the holidays" ebook with 14 nourishing recipes and to learn more about how your body deals with stress and how you can support it.
Here is to less stress this fall!