Autumn New Beginnings
Editorial September 2011 Newsletter By Dr. Lisa Doran
It seems to be instinctive for most people to decide on some changes even some restructuring of their lives right after labour day. I have seen it in the clinic for the past two weeks. Patients have come in reporting that they are going to eat healthier, sleep better, get back into healthy routines of exercise. Rhythm and routine and predictability are healthy for us and we all know this deep down.
I had the opportunity to spend a lot of the summer with my mother this year. My mother lives a very quiet and simple life in the country. She lives within a rhythm and routine that is defined for the most part by daylight. She wakes at dawn and is in bed with the sun. She eats very simply and healthfully. She meditates and spends quiet time alone every day and she works physically very hard in her gardens and in the work that country life demands. She does not watch TV.
Spending time following this discipline for weeks at a time this summer had a profound effect on the kids and I. Anyone who has spent time at their cottage or at a place where they can be “unplugged” and simply follow their bodies natural rhythms will find that simple changes like this have a great effect on your feeling of well being. You sleep better, your mood improves, you move more slowly. You crave good food. You play more as a family. Suddenly this translates into health benefits such as weight loss, improved skin and hair, improved muscle tone, decreased blood pressure and decreased incidence of low mood.
Now, part of the benefit of living simply is that my mother isn’t distracted by laptops and iphones and televisions and cool tv programs that are on until 11pm. So, the choice she has made to live more simply than I do certainly helps her with the discipline of her rhythm and routine. However, we could all make little changes that would help us to fall into a healthier rhythm. Every choice we make daily helps. I have been making the choice to get into bed as early as I can and as a family we have made a choice to unplug in the evenings and have quiet time before bed to read and relax and have a cup of tea. What we are finding – in only two weeks, is that we can purposefully slow down by making small choices. And by slowing down the little joys of life can creep back into family life. We forget sometimes how to savour the sweet moments in life. The time to snuggle with your 10 year old or play cards with a teenager or make a pie from scratch or really enjoy that great book that’s been sitting on your shelf.
As we head into autumn and our attention becomes focused on keeping a healthy immune system and gearing up for school and the busy-ness that comes with everyday life, take a step back and choose something simple that you can do for yourself. What could you do? Read for 30 minutes before bed? Meditate for 10 minutes each morning? Go for a walk each morning? Establish a firm “bed time” and “wake time”? Choose something small that helps you to slow down a bit. This one small thing can become a part of a new rhythm or routine in your life. Practice the discipline of doing this thing each day and observe for yourself how rhythm and routine and predictability are healthy for us.
Yours in good health,
Lisa Doran ND