Fall is in the air: golden leaves, crisp skies and cool mornings; colds, flu and short days - such a contradiction. What does all of this mean? Well, one thing is for sure – Fall is a good time of year for a self-check-up.
Self-check-ups are a quick way to take inventory of the things you are doing that support your health and well-being and take a look at areas where improvement could be made. Take this quick self-check to find out where you ‘fall’:
To support my health and well-being this fall:
1) Take vitamin D
Due to our latitude and how sunlight strikes the earth this time of year, our bodies cannot produce enough vitamin D during the winter months (October-April). Taking a vitamin D supplement is an excellent way to support your health.
2) Eat something within two hours of waking
“Break the [overnight] fast” by eating something, preferably healthy, within 2 hours of waking. This prepares your body for the day and gives a boost to your metabolism. Fall is a lovely time to start your day with some hot cereal, a splash of dairy or dairy-free milk on top and sprinkled with nuts and fruit. Yum!
3) Wash my hands frequently
Frequent hand washing with warm soapy water, using hand sanitizer when a sink is not available and using a tissue for sneezes and coughs (and then throwing it away) is the best way to keep colds and flu at bay.
4) Get 7-8 hours of sleep, or more if I need it
Quality sleep is absolutely essential to health and well-being. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, consider your night time routine and ask, “is it conducive to sleep?” Some quick fix-it suggestions:
5) Keep sleep and wake times consistent each day
6) Use room-darkening shades
7) Keep electronics out of your bedroom
8) Allow yourself 30 minutes to an hour of downtime before falling asleep TV, computer and phone use before bed is stimulating and screen use down-regulates the production of melatonin, a chemical produced in the brain that promotes sleep. Consider German chamomile tea or valerian root before bed for their calming properties and to promote sleep quality
9) If you snore (or are told you snore J), wake in the night or wake not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep, talk to you doctor.
10) Eat 7 or more servings of richly coloured vegetables and fruit each day
11) Fall is a great time to up the antioxidants in your diet. Brightly coloured veggies and fruit – whether they are fresh, canned or frozen; served raw, cooked, hot or cold – these gifts from Mother Nature are a delicious way to do so. Servings are generally ½ cup of cooked or raw veggies and fruit or 1 cup of greens.
12) Enjoy at least 150 minutes of some form of physical activity each week
For 25 minutes a day or 50 minutes every other day, bundle up and go for a walk, see, feel and hear the rustle of leaves beneath your feet or watch the wind come up over a lake or waves crash upon the ocean shore. Your body will thank you for it.
13) Keep hydrated:
Summer isn’t the only time to keep on top of thirst. Fall weather can be very drying, and not just outside but inside homes, cars and offices, too. Enjoy warm cups of green or herbal tea in addition to plain, clean water to keep dehydration, daytime fatigue and headaches away. Use natural, paraben-free lotions to hydrate skin.
Take a moment to reflect on what you are doing already to support your health and give yourself a pat on the back. If there are some (or even all) left unchecked, chose one thing you can change this week. It doesn’t matter where you start, it is that you start which is important. Make this this Fall your healthiest Fall ever.