Fall time brings many new changes. Changes in the weather, outdoor activities, school, and even the holidays are rapidly approaching. While all this change can be exciting and inspiring, we need to think about “changing” our health habits as fall time nears.
The amount of sunlight that we enjoyed during the warmer months, is now diminishing as fall time approaches. School time means more homework and studying, and holidays may mean more travel and/or cooking for family gatherings. All of these can add stressors to our life without us being completely aware of it. We go through our day not taking notice of the wonderful changes around us because we are so overwhelmed. Below are some healthy tips that you can add to your daily routine to help keep your mind and body functioning at its best.
Vitamin D – an essential vitamin we get from the sun, is responsible for immune health, strong bones, fighting off depression, energy and overall wellbeing. In the warmer months we typically can produce a more than adequate amount of this vitamin by getting the proper amount of daily sunshine. But as the colder months come around, and the less sun we have on our bodies, the less we’re able to produce on our own. Taking a vitamin D supplement in the fall through winter will ensure you have enough to keep your body healthy and functioning at its best.
Daily Mini Meditation – With all the busyness of life we often get overwhelmed very quickly. Too many texts, emails and appointments can send us spiraling down an overloaded path. We know we need to slow down or back off, but how? By carving out 5 minutes for a mini meditation, you can totally change the course of your day. Use this time to quiet the noise and bring yourself back to center letting go of all the stress and negativity you are holding inside. Mini meditations are perfect for calming a chaotic day (or moment), so we can get back to focusing on our tasks without the stress and added weight on our shoulders.
Walking – An often-overlooked easy workout and de-stressor, is useful in managing weight, balancing blood glucose and relieving stress. Walking for 10 minutes after a meal will help lower blood glucose levels and reduce bloat. It can also boost your mental health and help you sleep better. Use this time to practice some meditation as well and double up on the health boost!
Be mindful that you don’t overeat and then try to walk too fast. Always allow your food to settle some and keep the walking at a leisure pace so no unpleasant side effects occur.
Mindfulness – The practice of mindfulness is one that is most overlooked. If you drive to work daily, how much do you notice on your way there? Once you get into work, do you go through the motions of turning on your computer or getting out the cash drawer for your register? How much do you pay attention to while doing these tasks? Mindfulness is the idea that we closely pay attention to several different things throughout our day. Next time you drive to work, look at the things you drive past. Did you notice your neighbors had planted a new tree or shrub? Or maybe that the billboard was updated on the expressway. What about your workplace? Did you notice anything new there, or perhaps something that you just never noticed before?
As Langer points out in her report The Construct of Mindfulness, if we continue to ‘clock out’ psychologically, doing the same things over and over, without ever noticing new things, we are at risk of dangerous outcomes. It is so very important to bring new sights into an already known world, or we risk making mistakes by simply doing them too often and getting too lax in our routine. How many times have you said, “I’ve done that so much, I can do it with my eyes closed”? What if you get so used to doing it, you just zone out and really don’t remember doing it at all? Take the time to notice three new things in your environment each day. Bring new into an already known environment and see how things change for you.
Bedtime – How late do you stay up before going to bed? Did you know that getting less sleep than you need can lead to heart disease, weight gain, worsened immune system and less mental clarity? While we sleep, our body does it’s repairing. If we get less than optimal sleep, we risk running into some major health issues. Setting a bedtime is the first step in a good bedtime routine.
To ensure you don’t stay awake too long before dozing off, turn off all devices at least 2 hours before bedtime. Avoid caffeine past 4pm (or sooner if you have an early bedtime) and try taking a hot bath or drinking some hot tea to relax.
So, as we transition over these next few months into fall, try integrating these 5 healthy habits into your daily routine to help your body stay at its best.
2021 - Year of the Ox is almost here, and it brings with it not only many welcome positive changes, but also hard work and determination.
Those born in the Year of the Ox are predicted to have an especially great year in wealth and love: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021.
The Ox is a symbol of diligence and stability. The phrase: “stubborn as an ox” definitely rings true! Struggles will occur for most zodiac signs this year. But with hard work comes rewards, and in 2021, the tougher the work, the greater the reward!
The Yin energy, specific to the sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it will be necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all.
This year will be a great time to focus on personal relationships. Now is the time to get more involved with the people in your life be it friends, family, co-workers, as well as love interests. It will be a great time to reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in a while; and work to mend any strained or distant relationships. This year will also bring much luck in love. Those married during the Year of the Ox go on to have strong, happy marriages.
2021 will be a metal year, and to increase luck, wear metal accessories. Lucky colors will be white, yellow, and green, which in Feng Shui, represent success and prosperity. Adding a splash of these colors to your home or wardrobe will be a great way to increase your luck!
Thus, 2021 is a year when all problems get solved with discipline and persistence. It will be a time for self-improvement, reflection, and determination; and will serve as a sign of better things to come!
January 25, 2020 is the start of the Chinese Year of the White Rat (or Mouse). The Rat is the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac system and this is the beginning of a completely new 12-year and 60-year cycle and is therefore considered the beginning of a new era. It is also the start of another decade, all of which makes it an especially important year for new beginnings and new possibilities. It is time to bring out new ideas, new plans and say yes to new opportunities. It is a good year for reinvention and starting over.
Rats are considered mostly positive animals to the Chinese and are appreciated for their cleverness and the ability to always find food. People born in the Year of the Rat are considered charming, adaptable, witty and sociable. Rats favor their young, so this is a year of youth empowerment and reclaiming one’s youthful self. People will feel younger and livelier. According to the legend, the Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride, jumping off right before the finish line to come in first. The energies of this year will no doubt inspire some of the tricksters and opportunists in society, so be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true!
This is a Yang Water Year with Yang Metal on top. These two elements are considered compatible and harmonious, as the Metal Element feeds the Water Element in the Parent - Child cycle of the Five Elements. This means that there is the potential for a peaceable year. However, there is an underlying, hidden aggression that these two powerful Yang elements bring to the year that should not be ignored and may emerge if provoked.
Yang Water is represented by the ocean, or large water, which also includes large lakes and large rivers. There is tremendous power in water this year and it is expected that there will be major flooding events caused by high tides, rising sea levels or larger than normal waves. Be prepared for saltwater intrusion into fresh water. Low lying coastal areas, particularly cities on the coast, will be very vulnerable to the flooding that comes from storm surges, possible tsunamis from large earthquakes, or from icebergs calving. There will be blizzards and rain events are likely to be deluges. It is anticipated that there will be more atmospheric rivers and large snow events will cause avalanches. Major rivers will also likely overflow their banks or lakes will rise, particularly near cities and flood expensive homes. Have your sandbags ready!
Yang Metal is the autumn and Yang Water is winter. This combination forecasts some very strong storms in these seasons. There will be extreme cold in many places; some that will be unused to such low, freezing temperatures. Because Metal and Water push into Wood in the Five Element Cycle, which in weather is Wind, you can expect some major windstorms, especially in the fall and this will also drive small water, which is rain and snow, making all the usual storms involving wind and water more Yang and therefore more dangerous. This will undoubtedly cause plane and car crashes due to the effects of severe weather conditions.
Water is an element that wants clarity and therefore truth, so past deceptions and secrets will continue to rise up to be seen and deep personal process work can be accomplished. Another interesting metaphor of 2020 implies that people will be able to “see” better and will have more clarity about what is true, especially regarding the past. This may also be literal, where vision improves in those who have vision problems.
The Year of the Rat is a very good year for improving health. People will feel more vital, alive and awake. Minor health issues can clear up easily and more serious or chronic illnesses can stabilize, as Yang Metal enhances the immune system and the Lungs. When people do get sick this year, they can recover quicker and easier. People will also heal from broken bones faster due to the strength of the Water Element.
People will want to take charge of their own health and there will a renewed focus on a healthier lifestyle, as the Metal Element increases the dedication to self-improvement. The Yang aspects of this year will make people want to exercise more in a natural way. Swimming, especially in saltwater pools or directly in the ocean is recommended and spending time in and around water will be very healing. Sleeping more is also recommended and insomnia should improve this year.
The cold weather, wind and the viruses of the fall and winter seasons will lead to cold conditions in Chinese Medicine, like circulation problems in the extremities, arthritis and tightness in the neck and shoulders from Wind-Cold. This may also lead to bouts of dizziness and heart palpitations. Remedies involve warming the body, like taking baths or soaking your feet are good, and remember to wear gloves, hats and scarves. And this is a particularly good year for drinking hot beverages like Tea with Lemon and Honey and for taking distilled spirits medicinally, as in Hot Toddys or Hot Buttered Rum, or pouring Brandy into your Coffee. Chicken Broth, Bone Broth and Vegetable Broths are also good for enhancing the immune system.
Many people will feel their ambition rise this year. But a realistic and somewhat skeptical appraisal of the steps necessary to accomplish goals will also be needed, as luck will be gained through discipline and consistency. This is also a good year for Higher Education and for people who hold advanced degrees. Significant life experience will also be more appreciated and the stories from elderly/older people will help younger people see the cycles within history. This will help alleviate some of the anxiety and stress of the last few years when events are seen in a bigger context. Wisdom will be much more appreciated and honored this year. Clairvoyance will also be enhanced this year and many people will gain insight through their dreams and in meditation.
There is an interesting dichotomy in the social aspect of this year. People may find themselves vacillating between being alone due to the Metal Element and to sometimes feeling too close to others from the Water Element. There will also be a desire to find time to think deeply about things and then a desire to share those thoughts with people that you trust. The Rat is a sociable creature, so be sure to make time for some enjoyable gatherings.
Overall it will be a very dynamic year. Mother Nature will be in charge and she will be temperamental, so be prepared by stocking emergency supplies in your homes, offices and cars and stay warm when the storms come. Luckily, many people will experience enhanced health and vitality and the winds of change will be blowing, altering the status quo for years to come!
©Lillian Bridges, Lotus Institute, Inc., 2020