Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Making a Healthy Transition to Fall

Fall is here in Chicago and I am oh, so excited. I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin flavored, and I love to get cozy under blankets on cool nights. In places like Chicago where we experience the full spectrum of weather, from below zero degrees in the winter to nearly 100 degrees in the summer, we often consider fall to be a season in itself. Last week, I had a conversation with my favorite yoga instructor and she presented the idea of fall not being a season at all, and really being a time of transition. A time of ups and downs of energy, inconsistent weather patterns, sun some days, clouds others. I’ve been thinking about fall as a time of transition a lot, and wanted to share some ways to stay grounded through this in-between time before the stillness of winter sets in.

1. Re-Set Your Routine
The onset of complete darkness by 7pm has certainly thrown me off. Since it is getting darker earlier, it likely means you are feeling tired a bit earlier, too. That’s okay and normal and means your body is working with the environment. Consider going to bed earlier than you might have been during the summer months and maybe waking up earlier to get those evening activities done in the morning. Set up an evening routine that allows your mind to wind down: maybe drink some tea, light a candle, read a paper book, and put the electronics down.

2. Set Goals
Around this time of the year, excitement for the impending holidays set in and this time becomes kind of a lame-duck session when nothing gets done. One of the mantras for a program I was in during high school is “Start strong, finish stronger.” This is so applicable for the end of the year. Re-examine goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, see what you have left to achieve, and get to it. No goals from the beginning of the year? Get some together now and have at it before year’s end.

3. Drink water! And other immune boosting things!
The heat of summer meant lots of heat induced feelings of thirst, but as temps fall and we stop sweating so much (thank god), we tend to not get as many cues from our body to drink water. Even though we aren’t nearing heat exhaustion these days, we still need water. I track my water intake in My Fitness Pal, and set a daily water intake goal. Maybe add some lemon or ginger to your water for some immune boosting benefits.

4. Eat seasonal foods
Root veggies are in season in the Midwest and I’m so excited! And since they are in season, they are bit easier on the wallet. Foods that are in season tend to taste better and be packed with the nutrients we need for that specific season. For example, apples help the body let go of excess heat to prep for winter, whereas all of the vitamin c rich citrus fruits of winter help us ward off sickness.

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