Autumn is a favorite season among many, and for good reason: It’s when nature starts nudging us to slow down, chill out, let go of extraneous things, and gather our dear ones near for the winter ahead. Here we talk about autumn’s many gifts and influences, and we share some of our favorite ways of getting our bodies, hearts, and minds into agreement with the season.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Autumn. This is the final installment in a series of episodes we’ve built around Dallas’s Seasonal Model of Health, and if you’ve listened to the others, you know they all include explorations of the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of the season.

In this episode, we consider Autumn’s contracting energy. We look at how it encourages our bodies and minds to wind down the high energy of summer and, as Dallas puts it, “start coming home” for the winter to come.

From seasonal nutrition, fitness, and sleep recommendations to self-care and decluttering wisdom based in Chinese Five Element Theory (thank you, Cat Thompson!), we share suggestions rooted in science and personal experience. And of course we offer you some autumnal experiments to help you make the most of this beautiful season in your own way.

“Autumn” Episode Highlights

  • Dallas recaps his Seasonal Model of Health — balancing your life in accordance with natural seasonal shifts
  • Autumn as the transition between the frenetic energy of summer and the quiet inwardness of winter, and as the celebration of the productivity of the year
  • Our cultural tendency to celebrate productivity with perpetual over-consumption
  • Fall’s association with the metal element in Chinese Five Element Theory, and the emotion of grief
  • Autumn nutrition from what’s available locally — dark leafy greens, root vegetables, hearty soups and stews, and warm breakfasts that tend to be higher in protein and fat than the carbohydrate-rich diet of summer
  • Why it’s OK to gain a little weight in the fall
  • Adjusting our sleep patterns and bedtime rituals with the shortening daylight, and with the energy wind-down of pre-winter
  • Autumnal social re-connection in line with your energetic capacity
  • Varying your fitness activities to match the season, and the higher-intensity, shorter duration focus of fall exercise
  • How to keep yourself healthy without relying on flu shots and toxic antibacterial products

Call the three to five most important people in your life, family or friends, and find the time to catch up with them in person, in an intimate environment. Get together with each one of them at least once over the next few weeks.

1) Sometime this week, take a look around your space, identify a drawer or closet that has accumulated too much stuff, and clear it out.

2) If you’re a habitual television watcher or other electronics user, try going without that stimulation for an evening. Instead, lower the lights and dedicate that time to quiet contemplation or some other wind-down ritual. Notice if you sleep a lot better that night.

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