This month in particular is my favorite of the Fall season: the trees are starting their vibrant color transition, everything from candles to coffee smells sweet and cinnamon-y (it’s a word), we start breaking out our cozy sweaters and socks, and we start to get excited for the impending holiday season. But in addition to the excitement we feel, we may also be sensing more stress than we did in, say, August. The thoughts of the holidays set off warning bells to start planning everything today (shopping for friends and family, hosting parties, going to parties, baking, cooking, shopping some more, meeting deadlines, organizing travel arrangements, shoveling snow, more shopping…) it can get very overwhelming.
Not only are we confronted with outside stressors, but we are also dealing with internal shifts and adjustments too. As we come into the cooler months, our bodies begin to require different activity levels and intensities, foods and stress-relievers, than they did just a few weeks ago. As we focus on gearing up for the hustle and bustle of the coming season, and all the stress that it can bring, we also tend to neglect our self-care regimen and push aside it’s importance. We retreat to old habits and time savers without noticing the effects this can have on our health and happiness.
I encourage you, as we transition into this truly magical and exciting season, to spend some time and focus on yourself, check in and see what you need to replenish and invigorate you, so you can enjoy the Fall with all the energy and joyfulness possible. Not sure how to get started? Read on for my tips for how to cultivate your personal self-care regimen and how you can begin to manage it through each changing season.
1. Eat warm foods
In the summer, we crave more cooling and hydrating foods, like cucumber and watermelon, and we tend to eat most things raw. As the temperatures drop, our bodies need foods that are cooked to help pacify our digestive fire. Have foods that are currently in season, like squash, beets and sweet potatoes, all grounding, root vegetables. You can get the most bang for your buck by making a hearty soup or stew and adding in warming spices like ginger and cinnamon. Drink room temperature or warm liquids, like tea or warmed nut milk, and stick to natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Avoid foods that are drying, like pretzels and crackers, and try to incorporate more lubricating and satiating foods, like coconut or flax seed oils.
2. Change up your exercise routine
Instead of the high intensity workouts you may have enjoyed this summer (I’m talking to you, CrossFitters), start to shift into more gentle workouts, like yoga or tai chi. That doesn’t mean you can’t do some more intense exercise as the colder months continue, but in order to transition with ease and to avoid injury, it’s important to slow down and exercise mindfully. If you already practice yoga often, consider taking a restorative class once a week, or adding a restorative pose at the end of each practice.
3. Bundle up
Layer your clothing and choose fabrics that are soft and focus on how they feel against your skin. Spring for those cashmere socks you’re been eyeing!
4. Get your zzzzs
It’s normal this time of year to want more sleep, our bodies are preparing for the winter season and is trying to conserve energy. Allow yourself to go to bed a little earlier and indulge in a midday nap, if it calls to you. Try not to fight it, even when you have a lot to do, getting enough quality sleep will help you perform at your best in all areas of your daily life.
5. Keep it regular
Stick to a regular schedule, for sleeping, eating and working. With all the changes that occur during this time, keeping a steady routine that you feel good about will help ground you, so you don’t lose your head!
6. Pamper yourself
Get a massage, a facial or any other feel good treat that will encourage peace and calm. Getting the toxins out of your skin and muscles will also help your body transition more easily and with less strain, inviting in fresh oxygen and blood to nourish your vital organs.
7. Breathe deeply
When we get stressed, our breathing becomes more shallow and concentrates itself in the chest. Whenever you notice your breath falling into this pattern, focus on taking deep breaths into your belly, allowing it to naturally slow down. Notice how you feel after a few of these breaths and take a break at any point during the day to remind yourself to breathe fully to stay calm and relaxed.
I hope one or more of these tips will be helpful for you and allow you to find the time to enjoy all the beauty and fun this season has to offer. What unique things do you do to de-stress in the Fall? Share them in the comments section below 🙂