How to avoid getting sick and depressed in the Fall

Sometimes the shift from Summer to Fall feels like the sudden slow down of the rollercoaster. One minute you’re screaming with excitement waving your arms in the air and then bam, the brakes are on. Woah, slowing  dooooown nooooowww.

For many people Fall is a hard time of year. We tend to get sick and a bit depressed. But you don’t have to. If you remember that we are just a part of nature, you might see that everything is slowing down, shedding and turning inwards.

Have you been partying and pushing yourself hard this Summer? Your body could be vulnerable to getting sick. The combination of being a bit run down and toxic + the colder weather, not to mention having the kids back in the school illness petri dish, can slam the best of us.

Keep reading to learn my top 3 body care tips to learn how to avoid getting sick and depressed in the Fall.


1. Cleanse

In Chinese medicine, the Fall is the season of the lungs and large intestine. Any build up of toxins in either will make you more susceptible to illness so this is a great time to clean them out.

  • Large Intestine: Do a week long cleanse. I like to do group cleanses for moral support. Look for local groups running fall cleanses, or check with your holistic practitioner to design a safe gentle program for yourself. Most people do well with a week of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies + fresh squeezed veggie juices daily. Eliminate the frenemies and supplement with digestive enzymes and supportive plants like garlic, ginger, tumeric and Aloe. If you’re feeling brave, do some enemas or go for a colonic irrigation. It’s not as weird as you think and can have an immediately felt result of energy and wellness.

  • Lungs: Practise calm natural breathing. Here’s the link if you’ve forgotten how which includes a brand new meditation for you to follow. Lungs don’t like cold or dampness so keep yourself warm – in particular cover your chest, neck, head and feet. Wrap a colorful scarf around your neck before you venture out.

Your skin’s health is important to your lungs so incorporate dry skin brushing daily and seal your pores at the end of a shower with a burst of cold water. This will stimulate circulation and prevent heat loss and vulnerability to deeper penetration by the cold weather.

2. Nourish

Eat what’s in season where you live. I love popping down to our local Farmer’s market to chat with the growers and fill my bag with all that bright, freshly harvested produce. Grapes, pears, greens, roots like potatoes, onions, carrots and yams + all those yummy above ground squashes and gourds and dry energy rich nuts and seeds like walnut and pumpkin will keep your taste buds excited and your body clean and well nourished throughout the season.

At this time of year the trend is less fruits and raw foods moving towards more stodgy, warming foods. You’ll feel more like making soups and stews to be enjoyed with friends and family. You may crave a little more protein. Be like the squirrels and can, dry and store food for the coming Winter. This is when I like to cook up extra bone stock and store it in the freezer so it’s handy any time my family needs it.

It’s a lovely time to share the kitchen with family and friends. Grab your kids and bake up some goodies together and go ahead, lick the bowl. It’s one of my fondest memories from childhood and won’t hurt you every once in a while.

Here’s my absolute fave fall baking recipe, from the Macrina bakery in Belltown, Seattle.

         Click here to download the recipe PDF!

Photo courtesy Macrina bakery 

3. Move

Keep your body moving and seek balance between what you take in and what you put out. Too much exercise and doingness can lead to the need for prolonged rest. Too much fasting from food can lead to overeating. Find the middle way or your body will force you to give it what it needs by making you get sick.

Good activities for the fall are hiking, yoga and Qi Gong. These honor your natural tendency to slow down and go inwards in the Fall. Follow a simple strengthening routine to build muscle and resilience for the Winter sports like skiing and and snowman building – yeah that can be hard work. Above all else listen to your body. The secret to staying well is understanding exactly what works for you and following that as much as possible.

Happy Fall baking,


Sonia Sommer

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