Fall time brings many new changes. Changes in the weather, outdoor activities, school, and even the holidays are rapidly approaching. While all this change can be exciting and inspiring, we need to think about “changing” our health habits as fall time nears.
The amount of sunlight that we enjoyed during the warmer months, is now diminishing as fall time approaches. School time means more homework and studying, and holidays may mean more travel and/or cooking for family gatherings. All of these can add stressors to our life without us being completely aware of it. We go through our day not taking notice of the wonderful changes around us because we are so overwhelmed. Below are some healthy tips that you can add to your daily routine to help keep your mind and body functioning at its best.
Vitamin D – an essential vitamin we get from the sun, is responsible for immune health, strong bones, fighting off depression, energy and overall wellbeing. In the warmer months we typically can produce a more than adequate amount of this vitamin by getting the proper amount of daily sunshine. But as the colder months come around, and the less sun we have on our bodies, the less we’re able to produce on our own. Taking a vitamin D supplement in the fall through winter will ensure you have enough to keep your body healthy and functioning at its best.
Daily Mini Meditation – With all the busyness of life we often get overwhelmed very quickly. Too many texts, emails and appointments can send us spiraling down an overloaded path. We know we need to slow down or back off, but how? By carving out 5 minutes for a mini meditation, you can totally change the course of your day. Use this time to quiet the noise and bring yourself back to center letting go of all the stress and negativity you are holding inside. Mini meditations are perfect for calming a chaotic day (or moment), so we can get back to focusing on our tasks without the stress and added weight on our shoulders.
Walking – An often-overlooked easy workout and de-stressor, is useful in managing weight, balancing blood glucose and relieving stress. Walking for 10 minutes after a meal will help lower blood glucose levels and reduce bloat. It can also boost your mental health and help you sleep better. Use this time to practice some meditation as well and double up on the health boost!
Be mindful that you don’t overeat and then try to walk too fast. Always allow your food to settle some and keep the walking at a leisure pace so no unpleasant side effects occur.
Mindfulness – The practice of mindfulness is one that is most overlooked. If you drive to work daily, how much do you notice on your way there? Once you get into work, do you go through the motions of turning on your computer or getting out the cash drawer for your register? How much do you pay attention to while doing these tasks? Mindfulness is the idea that we closely pay attention to several different things throughout our day. Next time you drive to work, look at the things you drive past. Did you notice your neighbors had planted a new tree or shrub? Or maybe that the billboard was updated on the expressway. What about your workplace? Did you notice anything new there, or perhaps something that you just never noticed before?
As Langer points out in her report The Construct of Mindfulness, if we continue to ‘clock out’ psychologically, doing the same things over and over, without ever noticing new things, we are at risk of dangerous outcomes. It is so very important to bring new sights into an already known world, or we risk making mistakes by simply doing them too often and getting too lax in our routine. How many times have you said, “I’ve done that so much, I can do it with my eyes closed”? What if you get so used to doing it, you just zone out and really don’t remember doing it at all? Take the time to notice three new things in your environment each day. Bring new into an already known environment and see how things change for you.
Bedtime – How late do you stay up before going to bed? Did you know that getting less sleep than you need can lead to heart disease, weight gain, worsened immune system and less mental clarity? While we sleep, our body does it’s repairing. If we get less than optimal sleep, we risk running into some major health issues. Setting a bedtime is the first step in a good bedtime routine.
To ensure you don’t stay awake too long before dozing off, turn off all devices at least 2 hours before bedtime. Avoid caffeine past 4pm (or sooner if you have an early bedtime) and try taking a hot bath or drinking some hot tea to relax.
So, as we transition over these next few months into fall, try integrating these 5 healthy habits into your daily routine to help your body stay at its best.