It's that bittersweet time of year when there's a slight crispness in the air and you find yourself scrambling to get back into some semblance of a routine as the dog days of summer come to an end. It's back to school for the kids and feeling like there just isn't enough time in the day as the sun rises later and sets before you've done all that you want to do.
Autumn is a time to turn within and wear cozy sweaters in the morning, while drinking a mug of tea. A time filled with healthy produce from tomatoes to pumpkins. Yet, amidst all of this bounty and want for warmth, many of us find ourselves so exhausted and overwhelmed getting back into a routine that we don't make time to take care of ourselves.
As lives get busy with school, holidays, and shorter days, taking care of ourselves gets put on the back burner. Why wait for the new year to get back on track when you can stay focused now? Let's keep the stress-free summer momentum going, while focusing on small adjustments today. The following tips will help set the tone for a healthy transition into fall.
This seems like such a simple practice, yet most of us are not getting nearly enough water throughout the day (especially kids during the school day). Proper hydration supports blood flow, regular elimination (good poops!), glowing skin, immune function, and weight management.
Sneak a peak into the toilet after using the restroom (come on, everybody does it). If your urine is dark, that means you need to drink more water. Your urine should be a light straw color, indicating that you're properly hydrated.
Use this simple math to estimate how many ounces to aim for each day. Take your body weight in pounds, divide it by 2, and that is approximately how many ounces you want to drink. For example: 150 lbs./2 = 75 ounces a day.
Bear in mind, this is just an estimate and we’re all unique beings, so play around and find what amount works best for you based on your lifestyle and the climate that you live in.
Plan Your Meals
By mapping out your meals for the work week, you set yourself up for success to stay on track with your dietary goals (even on the busiest of days). Planning is also in your best financial interest because it ensures that you eat what you buy and leads to less impromptu take-out dinners.
If planning every single meal for the week seems daunting to you, start with lunch. Lunch = leftovers. Whatever you have for dinner the night before, make enough to pack for lunch the next day. Easy peasy. If this still seems too stressful for you, find someone to help you meal plan.
Focus on Fresh Produce
Right now, fresh produce is in absolute abundance. Stores and Farmers' Markets are over-flowing and the prices are right.
Focus on vegetables making up 50 - 75% of your plate at each meal. If you're not quite there yet, shift your focus to adding 1 additional serving of vegetables to your day and slowly build up over time. Fruits and vegetables not only provide essential nutrients, they also provide fabulous fiber. Fiber slows down digestion to allow greater nutrient extraction, bulks up your stool for proper elimination, and feeds the good bugs in your gut (think: immune support as you head into cold season).
Take A Probiotic
If you don't already take a daily probiotic, buy a bottle with the changing of each season. This cost effective way to have probiotics aides in balancing the stress of seasonal transitions, by strengthening your immune function to fight off any pesky viruses that creep up as the temperature changes.
It sounds too simple, but quality sleep is hard to come by. Our days are filled with constant stimulation and "so much to do." Take this natural transition from warmer to cooler evenings and mornings to allow yourself a few extra minutes of sleep. The sun is setting earlier, so it's okay to settle down earlier. Your body's circadian rhythms want to be in line with daylight hours. Therefore, it is a time to naturally be resting and sleeping more than in the summer months.
Try turning off electronic devices (computer, phone, television, etc.) ~30 - 60 minutes prior to bedtime. Enjoy a calming activity that brings your mind and body down from the intensity of the day. Try reading, stretching, meditating, soaking in a tub, or whatever sounds divine to you.
Take this seemingly busy time to mindfully carry calming, healthy habits forward before the holiday season creeps up. This is a time for reflection, transition, and consuming wonderful tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, and apples. Who can deny that?
What tips do you have for transitioning into fall?