Embrace the back to school feeling of September and learn how to live seasonally
September has a sense of returning to the “grind” after the freedom of summer. Similar to January, it’s a time of new intentions and of getting back to a more regular routine. As a transitional month from one distinct season to another, it can also be a great time to embrace a more seasonal approach to living. But how do you live seasonally?
What is seasonal living?
Seasonal living is a very simple idea of connecting to nature’s seasons in our daily lives. Tuning in to nature allows us to appreciate the beauty and necessity of each season, rather than letting the year pass us by.
It’s not something our ancestors needed explained. Their very survival depended on being in sync with the environment. While their lives were dominated by agriculture, we are largely gripped by technology.
Seasons are rhythmic, and constantly changing, while our technological society emphasises consistency, economic efficiency, and a sense of being “always on”.
Reconnecting to nature in such a digital era can be a bit of an effort to begin with, but essentially it’s about getting back to the most basic aspects of life and spending more time outdoors. Remembering that we have seasons simply because of the earth’s annual orbit around the sun.
Why live seasonally?
Living seasonally improves our physical and mental health, as well as our connection to the earth.
Despite inhabiting a digital era where the lights never turn off, human beings were created in another time. Our make-up and design remains firmly wired to the Circadian Rhythm, our sleep/wake cycle which requires exposure to natural light for optimal functioning. Research has shown that this is largely immutable even in long-term night shift workers. So if you are experiencing sleep issues look at how much sunlight exposure you’re getting.
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Tuning into the seasons is an also an accessible gateway to a more conscious, mindful approach to life. Seasonality has the benefit of external physical environmental cues we can see and connect with easily, helping to ground us in the present moment.
It also has the potential to make us more conscious at a macro level. A major challenge of our time is re-establishing a vital link to the Earth which had been lost over generations. We are coming to appreciate more and more how integrally linked our fate is with that of Planet Earth, and how our individual health is determined by the health of the Earth.
How to live seasonally in September
Living seasonally encourages us to live at a slower pace with more sensuality, to truly appreciate each month and season. The best way to incorporate this is by taking small, practical steps in your daily life.
What’s in the supermarket is no longer an indication of what’s genuinely in season in our location. Reconnecting to food that is truly in season and locally grown is one of the easiest, and most enjoyable, ways to reconnect to nature.
That’s where local markets and stockists of locally sourced produce come in. If you are hesitant about the difference in price, perhaps that’s worth exploring to see if there are ways to reallocate your funds. After all, food is our most basic fuel source so it’s worth getting the best quality you possibly can.
There’s a real abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs in season in September. It’s a particularly good time of year for blackberries, apples, tomatoes and wild mushrooms.
September is a twilight point in the year before the light starts to recede, so prioritise time outdoors before the darker, colder months ahead. As the leaves begin to change colour it’s a great time to get out to walk or hike in nature.
Read more: Become more mindful using nature
While you’re there, take the opportunity to engage in some Forest Bathing. Developed in Japan in the 1980s, researchhas demonstrated that time spent under a canopy of trees has a positive impact on host of health indicators including; decreasing blood pressure and cortisol levels, and increasing concentration and memory. It is used as a preventative technique in the country’s national health programme. The practice is now gaining recognition around the world. Receiving the full benefits of a forest bath requires a totally immersed approach however, so make sure to turn off your phone and resist the temptation to photograph the forest.
As you embark on a seasonally-conscious September, keep it simple. Think back to the nature walks and nature tables of your early school days for inspiration. Conker fight anyone?
Gráinne Conroy is a writer, yoga and barre teacher based in Dublin. She hosts a monthly Full Moon event at The Calm Rooms in Monkstown which explores our connection to the lunar cycle. More information about Gráinne is available here
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