The temperatures are falling, and the days are shortening. Can you feel yourself preparing to shift gears, winding down from an active and very hot summer into a more quiet and cool fall?
Your daily routine may become more structured as the kids go back to school, co-workers return from vacations and spontaneous get-togethers with friends become less frequent. The transition from summer to fall is a welcome relief for some people, and for others it can be a depressing time that leads to increased risk for illness.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, creating a few new habits to see you through the next several months can smooth the path. Here are five effective ways to help you gracefully transition between seasons while optimizing your physical and emotional health.
1) Overhaul Your Diet
As we wave “goodbye” to the cold salads for dinner and pull out the crockpots, we put a renewed focus on warm, nourishing foods which brings many physical and emotional benefits. A whole new crop of fall fruits and vegetables arrives, giving you the chance to explore new recipes and redesign your family’s meal plan. The anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidant-rich foods like beets, winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes help protect you from seasonal viruses by boosting your immune system.
Reduce inflammation-producing foods such as white sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats while upping your intake of dark green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, beans and legumes. Get everyone involved in making large batches of homemade soups and chili that can be frozen in small servings and quickly reheated for a healthy after-school snack.
2) Try a New Form of Exercise
Is it hard for you to stay motivated when it gets dark earlier and the mornings are cold? Revive your fitness routine by adding an activity you’ve never tried.
Get to that yoga class you’ve been “meaning” to check out for years. Buy a mountain bike and hit one of the many Utah trails to watch the leaves turn colors up close. Join the local fitness center or YMCA, and swim laps in a heated indoor pool as the snow piles up outside. Find a new activity that keeps your heart pumping and your legs moving.
3) Schedule Deliberate Down Time
Curbing stress is essential for boosting your immunity. It helps you avoid being among the 20 percent of Americans who succumb to the flu virus each year. You probably spend most of your waking hours externally focused on doing and accomplishing, which can lead to overwhelming exhaustion and an imbalanced life.
Carve out time every day for an activity that relaxes and nourishes you, whether it’s growing your own winter garden, soaking in a hot bathtub, staring into your fire when the kids go to bed, or tossing the Frisbee for your dog. Unplug from the internet, turn off the TV and put your cell phone on mute. Nothing “out there” demands your immediate attention. It’s more important to be “on call” for your own needs for rejuvenation and restoration.
4) Stay Hydrated
As the heat and humidity drop, dry skin and rashes become more prominent. Make a firm resolve to drink pure water to keep your skin hydrated, and be sure you’re using a non-alcoholic cleanser and moisturizer. Sufficient liquid intake also helps your digestive system and can relieve the constipation that often comes with a change in season.
5) Create a Daily Rhythm
People who suffer with sleep disorders often find the change of season disruptive to their nightly shut-eye. Try to adhere to a consistent bedtime each night, and hit the sheets before 10pm whenever possible. You’ll feel more rested, and you’ll wake earlier in the day. This keeps your energy and mood high and sharpens your mental focus.
Eat regular meals at the same time every day. Just like nature’s predictable rhythms and patterns, our bodies thrive on consistency and balance.
Remember: It takes 21 days to establish a new habit, so get the jump on your best autumn ever by taking small steps today.
Are you hoping to partner with a physician who will support your health through all seasons and cycles of life? Revere Health’s Family Medicine providers are passionate about preventative care, and our mission is to build long-term, caring relationships with our patients and their families. We handle a variety of medical needs for patients of all ages in a broad range of disciplines including internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and geriatrics.
Are you hoping to partner with an internist who will care for you through all stages of your life? Revere Health Internal Medicine providers offer health management counseling for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. We have nearly 30 providers who are specially trained in internal medicine in four locations in Utah County to serve your needs.