Fall is upon us! Apple picking and all-things pumpkin spice may be some of your favorite things about this season. But for some, the change in seasons can be tricky: cooler, shorter and darker days can be a recipe for poor mental wellness and overall health.
Sleep is often one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to talking about our health and wellness. However, it is one of the most important to discuss. Our culture values productivity and defines success in this manner. The more we do; the faster we do it, the better. Unfortunately, this means bad news bears for our sleep cycles, especially during the Fall season. Shorter days, along with Daylight Savings Time, can be enough to disturb our circadian rhythms and the quality of sleep we experience. When we do not experience good quality, restorative sleep, our functioning can quickly become affected in negative ways. Difficulties with concentration and memory, along with reduced energy levels and lower moods, are only a few examples of some of the complications we might experience. In more severe situations, hallucinations and an inability to perform daily tasks may occur.
In order to combat the changes we are moving through during this season and prevent serious side effects, we MUST maintain our sleep hygiene. Make sure to have the same 'bedtime routine' every night! Do your best to go to sleep and wake in the mornings at the same time. Physical exercise is best to do in the morning. Ensure restorative sleep by leaving the stress of the day out of the bedroom!
2. Commit to Your Routine
The Fall season can be a time of adjusting to new or even old routines. Kids are going back to school, extra-curricular activities are starting and work hours are changing. Suddenly, we are finding ourselves pressed to do perhaps even more than before with less time. Because of this, we may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted and even less motivated to do what needs to be done. These feelings can quickly lead to more significant emotional difficulties if they are not addressed.
Sticking to a routine is a great way of effectively managing responsibilities and the stressful emotions that may result. Schedule yourself (and your children) for the number of activities that is appropriate for you and your family. Try not to 'over-commit' as this may increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Give yourself permission to schedule YOU TIME! We cannot constantly function for other people: we MUST care for ourselves and our well-being. Scheduling this time can help to ensure our health and wellness during a busy time!
3. Have Compassion for Yourself
Practicing Self-Compassion can be helpful all year round. During these cooler months, it is important to remember our humanity: we are human, we do our best as best we can and it is OKAY if and when we make mistakes. The Fall and Winter seasons can be trying for us all: remember to be gentle with yourself and mindful of your own needs!
Best wishes for a happy and healthy Fall season!
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