Walking my dog, the other morning, I was gently reminded, that even though we have literally flipped the page of the calendar to August, and summer is still here, the signs of change are all around.
Leaves are looking tired. As my dog’s paws crunched through those that dropped, I noticed that cobwebs are becoming abundantly visible walking through them on my path. The morning was cool and believe it or not, I saw a red leaf peaking at me.
Nature gives us the indicators that it is a time for transition. Ayurveda tells us that the body needs to prepare for this transition, gradually. Think back to putting on those tight new shoes for school; you couldn’t wait to wear them but because you didn’t prepare after a summer of barefoot, the change wasn’t so smooth. There may have even been a few blisters to gently teach us that we could have broken them in over a few week’s time. Obvious lesson, right?
The spiders are beginning to spin, the mornings are seemingly cooler. The leaves are beginning to dry….
Ayurveda tells us that about 3-4 WEEKS before the season really starts to be obviously felt, we need to incorporate change gradually, so as not to shock this system, but support it.
One of the biggest issues with the seasonal change is accumulation of the season’s quality, which in this case is pent up heat that the body retains and can create havoc when the winds of fall begin to blow. Especially for the child that exhibits an already ‘fire’ or Pitta nature.
If you have ever heard of the Santa Ana winds of southern California that turn things into a raging brush fire, the analogy applies here. Cool and changeable air moving over and pushing the already overheated area to turn into a brushfire. In the body this translates to inflammation, which translates to a child becoming sick. Usually, soon after school starts back.
Making sure the accumulated heat of summer is dispelled goes a long way to keeping your child well as they move into Autumn’s routine. The element of heat causes dryness. The resulting dryness causes the inflammation that irritates delicate mucous membranes, which makes the already irritated passages more open to allergies. The body’s defense is to create more mucous which is a breeding ground for the common cold.
As we move into the coming school season, the first thing we need to see is the need for a daily routine or Dinacharya. Summer is traditionally a more relaxed pace with later bedtimes and wakeup times, dining al fresco, hopefully with more cooling fruits and veggies, and an overall sense of ease.
After living this way all summer, we need to gently install steps to start a smooth transition so no one is pulling their hair out or overly resistant. One, by making sure you child is adequately hydrated. About half their body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb.
Offering apples, which interestingly Mother Nature creates a bounty of this time of year is a healthy and appropriate snack. Apples are cooling and their sweet, astringent taste can be a welcome and healthy treat. Establishing a regular routine for meal times, ideally with breakfast eaten by 7am, lunch at noon, and dinner no later than 7pm.
Start having your child go to bed earlier, as well as getting up earlier; try 10 minutes to start and continue to adjust until your child is in bed by 8pm if they are 7 or younger and no later than 10pm if they are older. Many children are sleep deprived, add to that the long day of school, homework, and extracurricular activities; their bodies welcome it! When their growing bodies become depleted of energy reserves, this is another opportunity for dis-ease to creep in. Especially when they are adjusting to this new schedule.
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