It’s time to say farewell to the freewheeling days of summer and hello to the stress that arises from more regimented fall schedules. Let’s face it – fall is the time of year when families are called on to engage in all sorts of time-intensive events.
With daylight fading by the day, people face the reality that some of their summer favorites like lovely evening walks, outdoor playtime with the kids or the chance to work out in the flower garden will go by the wayside.
Kids have it tough, too. Suddenly, they need to be up early Monday through Friday, know exactly where that backpack is and be wide-awake enough to head out the door for an entire day of learning. For all these reasons and more, fall is a time to remember the importance of staying healthy.
Here are five can’t miss stress-busters for healthy living and avoiding stress for that regimented autumn schedule:
1. Stay away from “stress eating”
Everyone has that one – if not more – unhealthy food you love to eat and when you’re stressed you seem to want it even more. A recent University of Southern California study shows that people are likely to revert to old routines when stressed and may amplify those habits.
For example, those who ate unhealthy foods like pastries and doughnuts ate even more junk food when stressed while people that were in the habit of eating healthy ate healthier when stressed.
Moral of the story? Get in the habit of switching out the bad food with healthier options by making it a part of your daily ritual – start with just one meal or snack. Try to do this everyday. Stick to it and eventually it will just become a healthy habit that will be comforting when you’re stressed.
2. Stretch it out – morning and night
Stretching can provide a mental boost that increases the release of endorphins in the body. These endorphins are known to give feelings of well-being and calmness. Who couldn’t use a little of that when adjusting to a busy fall schedule?
So, take at least five minutes for some morning unwinding before heading in for a busy day. Stretching also has many other benefits, including relieving muscles that have become strained or clenched overnight and helping to shake off overall stiffness.
It’s also thought that stretching is similar to meditation in impact, so another five minutes before bedtime could be a great way to get your body ready for a good night’s rest.
3. Head outdoors for sun and exercise
The fall months are a time of year when daylight starts to fade and people may begin to suffer from seasonal anxiety disorder (SAD). A walking break at lunch, however, can help combat this seasonal light disorder and only requires throwing on an extra light jacket or sweater.
In addition to providing an exercise fix, a walk outside offers more Vitamin D, which is obtained primarily through exposure to sunlight and is beneficial for a wide range of reasons. A quick walk is also known to boost mental health and can help people get closer to the 2.5 hours of moderate activity recommended each week.
Finally, walking can help a busy person escape from sitting all day, which an American Cancer Society study has indicated could shorten the lifespan if done for more than six hours a day.
4. Strengthen your immune system
It’s not only the mental stress that can wear you out, but also the physical stress your body faces from kids bringing home all sorts of grime and guck from school and other wintertime challenges that can keep you in bed. That’s when dietary supplements can bridge the gap.
Look for products with published safety and efficacy research - EpiCor for example, or other safe and natural dietary supplement products. Adding an immune supplement is one way to help keep the body healthy and strong when adjusting to the stressors that come with the change of seasons.
5. Try on “No” once in a while
There’s probably solid truth in the saying “Want something done? Ask a busy person,” but everyone has a different tolerance level as to how much they can or should take on. As The Mayo Clinic points out, saying yes to too many things can be unhealthy and lead to stress, a run-down feeling, or even the possibility of becoming sick.
But saying “no” more often could reap surprise benefits as well: more quality time for the things already planned in life and more time to pursue the things that may start up during the fall – cooking class, anyone? Another way to think of it is this: “Yes means less,” while “No” is a way of putting eagle-eyed attention on existing priorities.
More tips to for strengthening your immunity can be found at www.epicorimmune.com.
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