Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
For many people, autumn means going back to school, changing colors, and pumpkin spice everything. For others, it means shorter days, the common cold, and even a sense of sadness as the freedom of summer comes to an end.
No matter how you feel about fall, the shift to a new season opens up an opportunity to focus on your health and your home. Here’s how to take advantage of the transition with a little help from traditional Chinese medicine.
It’s an adjustment—there’s less daylight, the weather starts to get colder, and when the clock changes, the energy changes. The transition can be difficult. In Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the lungs and the large intestine, and with the feeling of letting go.
If you take that as a starting point, summer is associated with the fire element, which translates to being outside and traveling, which I love. Autumn relates to metal, and it’s more about preparing for the winter ahead, being inside, and coming more into your body. And since this season corresponds to your lungs and large intestines, you want to think about detoxing your body and decluttering your home.
You want to renew and strengthen your lungs so you don’t get a cold or the flu, so open your windows and enjoy the crisp, clean fall air. You want to clean the air in your home too, so head to the nursery for more houseplants since they give off oxygen and purify the air. For your large intestines, it’s a good time to do a cleanse, especially if you’re like me and you tend to indulge more in the summer. Herbs are great to balance your system. It’s also time to get back into a routine of eating at more appropriate times and in more appropriate portions. An herbalist or nutritionist can help you figure out what’s right for you.
It means fall is the perfect time to clean and detox your home, and to reorganize and prep everything so you can be ready for winter. You want to go through your closets, your desk, even the files on your computer. Clean out your inbox. The kitchen is particularly important too, because you’re going to be cooking at home more in the upcoming months. Reorganize your pantry, go through all of your dishes and kitchen tools, and take stock of what you need.
It’s important to tidy up, but the other part of prepping for the season ahead is to do things that will support your health. I like to buy a big bowl for fruit and veggies to get me more excited about eating healthy. Or new mugs, since I’ll be drinking more tea. Go to the farmer’s market and see what’s fresh and seasonal. I love fall flowers, especially dahlias and all the wheaty flowers and branches. Having plants indoors makes a huge difference, mentally.
Knowing that you’ll be spending more time indoors, think about how you can enhance that time. If you like to entertain at home, stock up on new linen napkins, dinnerware, or silverware. Get beautiful new artwork for your space. If there’s a piece of furniture you’ve been meaning to reupholster, now’s the time to do it. Fall is when all of the home lines come out with new throw blankets and heavier bedding. Treat yourself to a new robe and slippers. Take stock of all things cozy in your home.
Fall is about cleaning things out and preparing for winter.