You can feel the change in the air. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to change color, and the evenings have grown cooler.
It’s nearly Fall, which means one thing for you and your daily wellness: change. Indeed, it’s not only the outdoors that goes through seasonal shifts but your body and mind, as well.
Shorter days can mean fewer outdoor activities, less sun exposure, and sometimes, weight gain. With less daylight, you may find yourself feeling more fatigued and craving comfort foods. And let’s not forget flu season—that’s on its way.
To help ease the change and keep you feeling your best, we’ve put together our top 15 autumn wellness tips below.
1. Consider a vitamin D supplement.
Particularly if you live in the northern latitudes, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D in the Fall and winter months. With fewer hours of sunlight—combined with less time outside—you may not get enough. Vitamin D is key for strong bones and a strong immune system, so talk to your doctor about possibly taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.
2. Stay hydrated.
Dry air and dropping temperatures can quickly lead to dehydration. You may also feel less thirsty in the Fall months, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need water. Every system in your body depends on getting enough water, and even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and mood changes. So keep water with you and drink throughout the day.
3. Find new ways to stay active.
You may have enjoyed the outdoors over the summer, but as the Fall and winter approach, find yourself less keen on going outside. Unfortunately, that often results in less physical activity overall, which is bad for your health.
Take some time to think about other ways to keep moving. One good option—get your workout in early. As the days get shorter, it can be more difficult to exercise, so start your day with a morning walk, jog, or bike ride.
Check your community calendar—pumpkin-picking, corn mazes, tag football, and other fun activities can help motivate you to get outdoors again. Consider signing up for a spinning or dancing class, or purchasing a new piece of exercise equipment you’ll enjoy using indoors.
Don’t forget that many workouts are now available online. You can easily do some YouTube workouts, download a new fitness app, or sign up for a streaming fitness program to maintain the progress you made over the summer.
4. Embrace the flavors of the season.
Eating a healthy diet is always important to your overall health. As the seasons change, look for in-season options that are good for you. Fruits like apples, peaches, some pears, pineapples, and bananas are typically harvested in the Fall, as are beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams, eggplants, turnips, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
5. Invest in a slow cooker.
Nothing tastes better on a cool day than a delicious, warm meal. Slow cooker meals are easy to make, take little time, and are wholesome and delicious. If you don’t already have a slow cooker, consider getting one. If you do have one, pull out your recipes and enjoy. Remember that you can not only make stews and soups, but chili, roasts, curry, and even pasta.
6. Boost your immune system.
With flu season at our doorstep (say nothing of the continuing COVID-19 concerns), it’s best to be sure your immune system is strong. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep will all increase your disease resistance. You can also increase your intake of vitamin C (fruits and vegetables are great sources), garlic, peppers, ginger, spinach, nuts and seeds, and yogurt, as all these foods have immune-boosting ingredients in them.
For extra protection, consider herbs like ashwagandha, astragalus root, elderberry, echinacea, ginseng, turmeric, and ginger.
7. Bring in the light.
Natural light helps drive your body’s circadian rhythms, and they have a big impact on your health and wellness. As the daylight hours shorten, it gets harder to get that sun exposure you need. Open the drapes, work by a window, or get outside at least 30 minutes a day, preferably earlier in the day, and you’ll feel better and sleep better too.
On a dark, dismal days, consider using a sunlamp. As long as it has 10,000 LUX, it will work to jumpstart your hormones and keep your body clock on track.
8. Keep your allergies under control.
Some allergens rear their ugly heads in the Fall and can have you feeling miserable. Check with your doctor to discover your triggers. Common ones include Fall pollen, dust, pet dander, grass/ragweed, mold and mildew, and smoke.
Once you know what’s causing your allergies, you can take steps to prevent symptoms. Over-the-counter allergy medications may help, as might nasal sprays. Natural herbs can also be effective, including butterbur, quercetin, and feverfew.
9. Step up your skincare.
Fall and winter weather can rob skin of its natural moisture, leaving it dry, flaky, and cracked. Healthy skin contributes to overall health, as your skin is the first barrier between you and the elements. It can also keep you from developing infections like those that lead to the common cold and flu.
Consider switching to a creamy (rather than a lotion) cleanser, and purchase a face and body moisturizer with quality ingredients. These include natural butter (shea and cocoa), ceramides, natural oils, vitamin E, glycerin, beeswax, and herbal extracts.
10. Do some Fall cleaning.
We typically think of spring as a time to clean, but Fall is a good time too, as it’s likely you accumulated some items over the summer. You may also have more time in the Fall to go through and organize your possessions, as other activities start to slow down. Doing a little cleaning out of the cupboards can also give you an emotional lift.
Go through your closet and donate those items you haven’t worn in the last year. Set aside your summer fashions to make way for the winter ones. Review both your physical and digital files and dump those you no longer need.
Check your kitchen cabinets and toss any old or outdated items, and do the same with your bathroom cabinets. (Makeup, in particular, should be replaced every six months or sooner in most cases.)
Finally, consider rearranging some items in your space, painting a room that needs it, or replacing a piece of furniture. It can help give your home a refreshed look that you’ll enjoy in the months to come.
11. Take a rest.
If you had a busy spring and summer, your body and mind may be craving a bit of rest. Fall reminds us that there is a time for slowing down, and there's nothing wrong with embracing that sensation if you need to. Consider an at-home or nearby retreat, or simply erase a few items from your calendar so you can have a couple of days a week to reflect and relax.
12. Fall in love with tea…again.
Tea tends to have a resurgence in the Fall and winter months because it’s so comforting in the cooler weather. Black, green, and white tea all contain antioxidants that are wonderful for your health, and herbal tea has phytochemicals that can help energize, relax, or refresh you. Experiment with different flavors and feel free to drink up.
13. Set up a game table.
Maintaining strong relationships is key to living a long and healthy life. As the weather chills, you can encourage interaction by setting up a game table somewhere in your home. Invite family members and friends to help you build a puzzle or play a board game. Add a fruit dish nearby or pop some popcorn to make it more inviting. It’s a great way to cut back on your TV-watching time and to inspire connection.
14. Maintain a technology schedule.
As the weather cools and we spend more time indoors, we can naturally gravitate to spending more time on our phones, tablets, and computers. Too much screen time, though, is linked with weight gain and depression.
To avoid that outcome, keep a technology schedule. Set specific times to check your social media feeds and otherwise, stay away from them. If you find you’re absently browsing the Internet, pull out some books and set them around instead. You can do the same with yarn and knitting needles, canvas and paint, or even the dog leash. Make it easy to choose other active and healthy activities instead.
15. Keep your bedtime.
Scientists say that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night is critical to good mental and physical health. The time change in the Fall, coupled with less daylight in the morning, can throw your schedule off. That can lead to food cravings, fatigue, and continued sleep problems.
Do your best to keep your wake and sleep times the same as the seasons' change. The more consistent you can be, the easier it will be to fall asleep and stay asleep. Also, remember to always keep the technology out of your bedroom. Blue light emitted by televisions, computers, tablets, and phones mess with your sleep hormones and can lead to sleep deprivation. Read a print book before bed instead.
Autumn can be an amazing time of year, and not just because of the pumpkin spiced lattes, you may have been craving for months. Embrace all the fun activities that the cooler weather brings, but also spend time focusing on your physical and mental well-being. The Fall is a great time to recharge your batteries and indulge in some much-needed ‘me time.
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