You’ve probably already started feeling Fall vibes when you pulled out your decor at the start of September. As the weather transitions from those scorching hot temperatures we’ve all had this summer to cool and crisp conditions, you may find yourself reflecting on your year so far. That’s exactly what the Autumn Equinox is about self-reflection, finding balance, and re-shifting the focus on our health and wellness.
Understanding a Solar Equinox
An Equinox occurs twice a year, spring and fall, and generally speaking, the Autumn Equinox has two explanations. Of course, there is a scientific definition. When an Equinox occurs, the Earth’s axis is neither tilted toward nor away from the sun. The word equinox comes from the two Latin words aequus and nox, which translate into equal and night. According to the NWS (National Weather Service), when the equinox occurs both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience about the same amount of daylight and darkness. Following the Fall Equinox will be the Winter Solstice, which begins Thursday, December 21st. The Spring Equinox will begin on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.
Finding Balance and Harmony During the Fall Equinox
If you believe in astrology then you probably already feel the universe pulling you into an energy of balance and harmony. They say if you struggle with finding balance then date a Libra. The Autumn Equinox is also the start of the Libra season, a Zodiac sign often known to represent balance and harmony. As summer finally comes to an end, you’ll notice the days getting longer and a shift in nature, driving and motivating you to take time for yourself. This is the perfect time to express gratitude give thanks, and reinvest in your goals and routines, while also reflecting on everything that you have accomplished this year so far. Especially if you’re single and currently not dating, doing these activities will help you find the balance that you have been searching for all year.
How the Autumn Equinox Coincides with Health and Wellness?
As the seasons change, not only does nature respond to the shift in weather, but so do our bodies. According to Premier Medical Group, the most common bodily response to the return of Fall is dryer skin. You may find yourself constantly applying lip balm or hand lotion due to the dryer air conditions. A decrease in temperature and humidity from summer to fall causes the skin to work harder and maintain hydration. Of course, it is known that our skin is the largest organ of our body and it thrives best in consistent conditions, meaning that every time the seasons change and there is a change in weather our bodies experience shock. This can cause dryness and even some acne. The key to dry skin is to stay hydrated. So, just remember to drink as much water as you possibly can and avoid using any moisturizers that are alcohol-based. For a list of some of the best moisturizers to use during the colder months click here.
Our mental state can also be affected by the change in seasons and weather conditions. It is common for some of us to feel less motivated and inactive during the colder and cooler months. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD could be the reason for this. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, shorter days and less daylight trigger a chemical change in our brains causing symptoms of depression, and women are more commonly affected than men. Some of the most effective type of treatment for SAD is exposure to sunlight and light therapy. This does not necessarily mean that you need to be outside all the time because of course it’s cold out. However, this is a perfect time of the year to get into new hobbies or activities that take place indoors by a window, such as reading or journaling. Finding a nice spot in your home where the sunlight directly bounces off the walls will give you the motivation you need. It also wouldn’t hurt to get a little bit of mobility and exercise. In fact, the Autumn Equinox is the perfect time to reassess your daily workout routine. Lean into some calming workouts such as pilates or yoga and if you’re going to be outdoors just remember to dress in something comfortable.
Ways You Can Celebrate the Autumn Equinox
Now that we’ve established what the Autumn Equinox is and how it affects our health and wellness, let’s talk about the fun stuff and how we can enjoy the Fall vibes. The equinox is celebrated in many different ways across the globe. Some of its traditions go back to ancient cultures and civilizations including Greek Mythology, the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival, Harvest Festivals in the U.K., and much more.
Start a Gratitude Journal
As we’ve already established, the transition from Summer to Fall can have you reflecting on your year’s journey so far. It’s easy to think about the situations in our lives that have gone wrong and hard to reflect on everything that has already gone right. Starting a gratitude journal is a great start to practicing mindfulness, which is defined as the basic human ability to be fully present. Writing in a gratitude journal has been proven to help relieve stress and help people appreciate the present. Consider writing in it once or even twice a day. If you have to, set a schedule for yourself and write in the mornings before you start your day and evenings before you go to bed. Not sure what to write about? Try using some of these writing prompts and formats when gathering your thoughts.
Light Some Fall Candles
Nothing beats the scent of a Pumpkin Spice fall candle. WebMD says that lighting a scented candle can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity. Most candles contain essential oils and natural ingredients from those oils can have health benefits including improvement of your physical and mental health. There are many ways you can enjoy a scented fall candle. Just like your journal, try taking a moment to practice mindful meditation. You may be asking yourself, “what exactly does this mean?” Well, mindful meditation is paying attention to your body and your breath. If meditation is something that is new to you and you’re not sure how to do it try some of these simple steps:
1. Find a calm and quiet place in your home where you can sit and relax
2. Set a timer for yourself. Even if it’s just five minutes.
3. Focus on your body and how it is positioned.
4. Follow the sensation of your breathing
5. Lastly and more importantly, take note of when you notice your mind starting to wander.
Following these tips will help lower any stress you may be feeling, improve your focus, and reduce any brain fog or activity. Consider making this activity a habit of yours next to your daily journaling.
Visit a Farmer’s Market or Fall Festival
If you are anything like me then you are a sucker for a good fall festival where hot apple cider is served fresh from a local farmer and vendor. Visiting your local farmers market is the perfect way to welcome fall. While you’re there, stock up on some seasonal fruits and veggies. Cooking seasonal meals will encourage you to appreciate the change of seasons as well as appreciate what nature has to offer. Going to your town’s harvest market is also beneficial to your mental health. It’s no secret that self-isolation can contribute to depression let alone that seasonal depression that you may feel every now and then. Heading into town to your local harvest market will help you make and grow connections with the people in your area including your local farmers. You’ll start to learn whose food you trust and prefer. Here’s a list of a few things that are currently in season: squash, pumpkin, apples, and pear, which both make good for a sweet cider or pie, berries, radishes and so much more.
Bake an Apple Pie or Make a Homemade Apple Cider
Speaking of apples…let’s dive deep into the nostalgia that fall really brings us, which is Mama’s homemade apple pie or apple cider! The apple is symbolic of the harvest and signifies renewal and wholeness. Traditionally speaking, apples were picked at harvest and used during equinox feasts. They are symbolic of many folklore traditions, in which having a hearty apple pie after an Autumn feast was the perfect dessert. And if an apple pie is not your favorite kind of dessert, try a pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Bake whatever dish makes you feel whole and reminds you of the memories as a kid growing up.
Read a Fall-Themed Novel
It’s interesting how we are always looking forward to those cliche Christmas romance movies on Lifetime or Netflix every holiday season, but no one ever talks about reading a romantic fall-themed novel! The fall is known to be cozy and as they say “cuffing season.” So why not light a pumpkin spice candle, snuggle up in a fall fleece blanket, and let a good book take you out of this world? The Autumn Equinox is all about embracing the seasonal changes. Reading a book that illustrates what that looks like from the red-orange leaves to the morning dew on the ground, will make you appreciate the changes in weather and nature. Not sure what read? Here are a few suggestions from Vanilla Papers. Read on and enjoy!