To start we must shift our world view a bit... Let's think of the outside world, nature, as a mirror image of our bodies. What is happening outside as the season changes is also happening inside of us. As we transition into fall the deciduous trees take a strong exhale, omit carbon and let go of their leaves. Temperatures cool, there is a crisp aspect to the air. As the days get shorter all the plants around us turn inward.
Each season has an organ pair that is most impacted by the shift, one yin, one yang. In the fall the lungs (yin) and the large intestine (yang) are the paired organs at work. Taking steps to honor these two organs and their needs can be especially beneficial. On the flip side of that, when we resist the healthy, supportive activities and changes that these organs require, we can experience symptoms of imbalance.
So, what can you do? To support the lungs natural urge to peacefully, and with an open mind, let go, as well as its immune function, take deep breaths throughout your day. Most of the time we are only using the top 70% of our lung capacity, leaving stale air in the bottom 30% of our lungs. In order to fight off upper respiratory infection, common cold, neck pain and headaches wear a scarf or hoodie when you leave the house. Don't sleep with wet hair or otherwise expose your neck to wind or cold. Get yourself out into the fresh crisp outdoors, warmly dressed, and walk or otherwise find light exercise and deep, full breaths. Clean out your closets, drawers, computer, car, etc to make space for something new. Open up to the possibilities, while letting go of people, places, things, ideas that no longer bring you joy. Quiet introspective alone time may be needed in order to properly grieve the loss of those once enjoyable items, activities, relationships, etc. Avoiding the emotion will only lead to imbalance, depression, and the inability to let go, whether emotionally or physically (waste from the large intestine, i.e. constipation).
Eat for the season, fruits, veggies and proteins that are white make an important presence in supporting the lungs and large intestine. Eat more garlic, sweet potato, radish, ginger, onion, pear, cabbage, walnut, etc. For more on living in the seasons check out this link.