Self Care Tips as the Weather Changes and the Holidays Approach

Reader Contribution by Catherine Agopcan

If you are lucky enough to experience fall, I hope you are enjoying what the season has to offer. For many of us, we are probably hunkering down, gearing up for the colder season and the busy holiday season. The unfortunate reality is that the change in season, plus the stress of the holidays can put a strain on our body and our body’s natural defenses. Remember to take care of yourself so that you may be fully present to enjoy the next few months.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our body. Sleep is the only time our body can repair itself. For many of us, our circadian rhythm is off because we live in a 24/7 world. We are constantly exposed to light (false sunlight) that tricks our body into thinking the body should continue to stay awake. People sometimes have a hard time sleeping when the clocks are adjusted because their body has to get used to the amount of light it is exposed to. Many things also vie for our attention that it becomes hard to shut down. Without quality sleep, the body struggles to fight illness, repair cells, and clean out old cells.

As you prepare for the many changes coming up for the fall and winter season, consider taking a look at your sleep routine. With the days getting shorter, many of us will be more apt to stay in and it’s important that instead of going to a higher quantity of sleep that we go for good quality.

  • Institute a nighttime routine that will allow you to disconnect from electronics and slow down the brain. Meditating or reading a good old-fashioned book can help with this.
  • Experiment with leaving your phone outside the bedroom. If you need an alarm clock, find one that is not connected to the internet and has a dim light. This will reduce temptation to check it before you go to bed and immediately after you get up.
  • Get comfortable and opt for organic linens that breathe to keep your core temperature stable. This may mean testing out your best pajama combination.
  • Take care to cover excess light from the windows or from other devices in the bedroom to reduce light distraction.
  • Declutter the bedroom so that as you settle in your mind is calm. Empty space is good for the mind.

Good quality sleep is critical to winter and holiday self-care.

Eat Well

Fall brings about so many tempting treats. Fall and winter normally results in a slower pace, more hibernation, which means less calories burned being out and about. Go simple with your meals so that your body can burn it easily. It’s sometimes easy to constantly eat because we are indoors, so take time to listen to your body for signals of hunger instead of boredom. Fuel with food that’s easy to make and isn’t loaded with lots of artificial ingredients or processed chemicals.

The body must expend energy to burn and process food. Excess food, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other inflammatory foods means the body has to work double-time to process it all. In a similar vein with sleep and light, we are also constantly exposed to food. As we no longer hunt, it’s easy to continuously eat and eat late into the night, but doing so doesn’t allow our body and our organs to recover and take a break.

  • Eat what’s in season. For a period of time, this will be squashes, pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli. See what’s being offered at the farmer’s markets.
  • Eat simple. Make soup out of anything or roast them in the oven. Nothing fancy. Just cut, place in a pot or pan and let cook.
  • Go for warm meals as these will bring you comfort.
  • Fast. Set a time at night to stop eating until the next morning.
  • Everything in moderation. Enjoy the holiday treat, but eat in moderation.

Easy butternut squash soup to keep you warm and toasty.

Opt Outside

It’s so tempting to stay on the couch, under the covers and watch shows all day and night, but our body needs to move. There’s a saying out there for folks that live in the coldest climate. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” Invest in quality winter clothing. If you do, you’ll have these pieces to last you through many winters. Movement and exercise is more important during the colder season because we are more apt to be sedentary and partaking in the holiday festivities. The air in our homes can also get stale and dry. It’s important that we expose our bodies and brains to natural, fresh air.

  • Make it a personal goal to go on a short walk every day. Make sure to bundle up with a hat.
  • Get at least a few minutes of sun and a few breaths of fresh air.
  • Open your windows on days when the temperature isn’t too cold to circulate air in.
  • Get grounded by walking through a forest, touching a tree, or observing animals.
  • Perform light stretching outside or a few squats to get your blood flowing.

Remember that running yourself ragged isn’t good for you or the people around you. Take care to stop, breathe, and slow down.

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