By Dan De Lion and Olga Sher
(editorial support by Giuliana Lonigro)
With summer drawing to a close, the pressure of higher-paced routines will be upon us. The stressors that are triggered as we transition from vacations, beach houses, camps and retreats back to Fall routines, might not be something we want to dwell on. However, it is important to remember that sleeping, resting, and restorative needs vary with each season, and as we transition from one season to the next, we need to take time to nurture ourselves and relax to better tend to our and our children’s changes in mood, habits and energy levels.
In this day and age, it is easy to force ourselves to keep up with our ‘summer’ energy levels, forgetting to honor seasonal transitions and rituals. In order to not ’crash’ or become stressed because of a ‘have to get everything done on the list’ mentality, we must learn to let the active energies of summertime fall away and transition to Autumn.
Here are some helpful tips to cope with adjusting to Fall’s pace and to keep immune functions optimal:
1. Become aware of the events that increase your stress levels
Don’t succumb to peer pressure, guilt and old patterns of overscheduling extracurricular activities for your children. Un-schedule your lives. Extracurricular activities are exciting, but dragging your tired selves and children from one place to another, creates unnecessary stress where much benefit will be lost. Be mindful of natural cycles. Notice that trees, animals and plants, all adjust their pace and activities in step with each cycle of Nature, and we humans can benefit from doing likewise.
2. Unwind One Day A Week
Leave one day a week to take a hot bath with salts, to sleep more, to take ‘me’ time, and to accept that you deserve to take space, restore, and heal. Set one free day for your child to enjoy unstructured play time, and explore their creativity. Invite children outside to wild-craft calming medicinal teas such as peppermint, chamomile and sassafras.
3. Play in Nature, Walk Barefoot
Make up games, and obstacle courses in the forest. Bring your children out to a fallen tree and enjoy wandering, jumping, hanging, and moving. Moving around in playful ways has the added benefit of getting our lymphatic systems going, just like any form of exercise.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
When stress sets in, we tend to put proper nutrition on the back burner. Try to avoid eating on the go, eating processed foods, or eating late at night. Increased stress levels can also deplete our digestive tracts of beneficial bacteria and essential nutrients such as water-soluble B vitamins. In turn, our immune function becomes compromised, which leads to fatigue and reduces our bodies’ ability to fight off viruses and infections. Make an attempt to include protein-rich grain-like seeds such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth in your and your child’s diets. This addition will give you and your child the benefits of grains and will have a calming effect on the nervous system. Include good quality unrefined fats rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower cortisol levels. Add plenty of probiotics and fermented foods.
It is easy to make your own fermented probiotic food at home. Click here for an easy fermented kimchee recipe. For additional information, feel free to watch Dan de Lion of Return to Nature’s YouTube series on fermentation
5. Drink wild water
Find a natural spring in your area (www.findaspring.com). There are still a few remaining wild springs, and there may be one closer than you think! Often our water is stripped of essential minerals that optimize hydration. Drinking wild water opens up more capacity for hydration. Water equals hydration as long as minerals and salts are present. When water is filtered, whether by your county, or your own household filter, it is helpful to add a pinch of salt or lemon, or even a shot of apple cider vinegar.
6. The Art of Dialogue and Communication
Take time for bonding, cuddling, storytelling and talking stick circles. This will provide much needed stress relief and bring a sense of comfort, relaxation and connection, and also help your child relieve tension, vocalize and share their concerns and worries. Storytelling activities provide an opportunity to explore and enhance the richness of your child’s vocabulary. When reading aloud to your child, use your voice to bring to light the underlying emotions present in the story. Ultimately, storytelling and spending quality time together can bring more emotional satisfaction to family communications and relationships.
Antinanco is a nonprofit entity engaged in educating about earth, nature, sustainable and sacred arts, bees, beeswax products, herbs, foraging, mythology and folklore, conflict resolution and peaceful communications.
Dan De Lion is an Earth Herbalist, Forager, Musician, and Teacher dedicated to working with Nature to further the healing of the planet and the soul. He teaches through Return to Nature, providing classes, lectures, and seminars on wild food foraging, mushroom identification, herbal medicine making, as well as primitive and survival skills with a focus on wild foods and forest medicines.