Shorter, colder and darker days are ahead. Sorry to be the barer of reality, I know most of us would rather not talk about it. But with the change in season comes some differences in daily living. The clothes you wear, the colours outside, the electricity bill amounts, the local produce you find (or don’t find), and the moods you feel all change when the seasons do.
We all could benefit from planning our menus, our wardrobes, our budgets and our mindsets accordingly before we get hit with old man winter. Taking out the winter layers, turning up the heat and eating in season are all relatively easy ways to adjust our daily living to the change in season. But it’s also important to know about the other shifts our body’s need us to prepare for. Did you know that after early Fall starts to fade the seasonal change disrupts our circadian rhythm and hormones? And for a lot of people this can mean seasonal mood shifts that result in less energy, feeling less social, losing interest in favorite activities, more comfort cravings and changes in sleep. 200 year ago, humans rarely saw these shifts due to the fact that 75% of people were working outdoors when now less than 10% of us do. Gradually we are becoming less and less exposed to natural light; our modern lifestyles prevent us from living in sync with nature, and that can easily make any of us feel drained, fatigued and unmotivated for much of anything.
So how does one prep the mind and body for the change to winter when taking a lengthy vacation just isn’t always possible? First, see a qualified practitioner (think gp, naturopath, holistic professional etc.) to support a new routine and ask how some of the following may help support the changes:
1. Let the sunshine in. Bask in it whenever you see it. Get outside as much as possible, sunny or not. And open those windows and let the fresh air in for at least a few minutes each day.
2. Consider using herbal remedies such as homeopathic or aromatherapy which have proven effects on mood (I take a compound of botanical ingredients formulated to help balance the stress of daily life).
3. Switch up your workout routine. Movement is proven to help the mind and body and starting something new creates motivation and excitement to take you through the coldest of months.
4. Get yourself on a high-quality vitamin d supplement (in larger doses then I bet most currently take). Did you know most people can take vitamin d for up to three months at a dose of 10X the bottles prescribed amount? Research the benefits and you may be surprised.
5. Start filling your fridge and cupboards full of fruits, vegetables, omega-3-rich foods, proteins and complex carbohydrates. All of these are critical to balancing the body.
6. Get organized. Plan for what is to come. Adjust your schedule to allow for adequate sleep, movement, outdoor time, meal prep, social time, and vacations if you can.
With good support and a tool box of prevention ideas, it is possible to keep the body and mind feeling in sync and positive about the hardest changes in season. Watch this week’s Facebook Live on the Move Eat Play group (www.facebook.com/groups/moveeatplay) for ideas for your Fall/Winter workout and nutrition routines and remember to seek support from a qualified professional if your symptoms become unmanageable. Spring will be here before we know it, but in the meantime, be kind to yourself and support your body with all that it needs and wants.