Get Healthy in Fall Campaign.
Fall is a beautiful season but it is always a little sad to see the summer come to an end. As cooler weather approaches, we hope that you continue to keep yourself and your families healthy and strong. Hand washing, social distancing, face coverings, staying home more often and avoiding public spaces are new habits that will likely stay with us for a while. Today, we wanted to remind you that you have many more tools available to keep building your immune resilience and prevent colds and flu. Read on for some simple yet important and practical ideas to implement in order to maintain health in the fall and winter.
Look up at the sky.
Being out in the sun is much easier during the warm summer days as we garden and engage in other backyard activities. As the days get shorter, cooler and more grey, remind yourself to keep going outdoors on a daily basis. Also, aim to get at least 20 minutes of daylight and sun whenever it is available. Being outside in the daylight lifts the spirits, improves circadian rhythms, encourages you to be active, and boosts creativity. There are several reasons why humans get sick less during the warmer parts of the year, and spending more time outdoors is an important one. So bundle up if it is chilly, bring your face mask along, and go outside.
Keep moving into the fall.
It is only too easy to become inactive during the pandemic, especially when the weather gets colder. Prolonged periods of inactivity weaken us; we become deconditioned and prone to catching colds. Without movement, our blood circulation slows, our muscles weaken, joints stiffen, and spirits dip. If you are physically healthy and able, make it a rule to perform some movement daily. It can be absolutely anything: walking, dancing, practicing your favorite taiji form, lifting weights, etc. You get to choose what fits you, your fitness level and your personality the best.
As always, consistency of movement is paramount. While for some people varying exercise daily keeps them engaged and motivated to persevere; for others it is the familiarity of the activity that does the trick. While you get to explore ways to stay motivated, your first step may be to schedule a time for movement on your daily to-do list. Starting with 20-30 minutes of moving your body daily, increase the time to 60+ minutes as you inevitably become better conditioned and more in the habit of moving.
Of course, we hope you will join us on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Laurelhurst Park for Taiji and If you can’t make it in person please check out the online classroom for our new weekly classes.
Goals, habits and success.
We always encourage our patients to start building healthy habits today because there is never a good reason to wait. Some of the most common health-undermining habits are: overindulgence in alcohol and sugary foods, smoking, keeping inconsistent sleep/wake hours, eating junk foods, prolonged inactivity, ignoring mental health issues, and under or over-exercising.
Taking an inventory of your daily actions and examining them each individually is a good way to see where you stand in the healthy lifestyle spectrum. Identify the habits that currently support your health goals as well as the ones that are obstacles to a healthier you. Seeing that clearly is the first step towards patting yourself on the back for every healthy habit you already have and understanding what behaviors you need to modify in order to build better habits that get you where you want to be.
Building new habits and a healthy lifestyle is a favorite subject of ours and one that comes up often in our medical practices. What allows us to achieve any goal is a strategic repeated behavior; a goal of better health is no different. In our future posts we would love to share some of our favorite strategies and methods of building and maintaining new habits. Please stay tuned for that.
Recent events have created great stress for most of us. We all know that stress is bad for our health; it seldom goes away on its own or soon enough, and we need to learn to handle it better. Use any stress management strategy that works for you now or has in the past, and make it a part of your daily life. Our favorite stress reduction techniques are: meditation, mindful relaxation (which for some includes movement), therapeutic breathing, spending time in nature, talk therapy, journaling or other creative self expression.
Get Your Zzzzzs.
Getting a consistent 7-9 hours of sleep per night is optimal for most adults. We know that not everyone is able to achieve this, and have several strategies to correct that. We usually recommend starting by establishing a relaxing nighttime routine and practicing good sleep hygiene every night.
Morning daylight exposure, movement, mindfulness practice, and scheduled news and social media consumption are just some of the ways to improve sleep and circadian rhythms in general. Good sleep makes everything better and expertly enhances your immune system. Don’t neglect poor sleep habits; address them now and ask for help if you need it.
Have a plan.
Just the thought of getting sick with Covid-19 or a flu is stressful. Although we want to do our best to avoid getting sick, having a plan in case it happens is a very good idea. It will not necessarily get rid of the worry, but it might provide some relief. Set aside some time to think through what you would do in case of illness: know who to call, what symptoms to notice, and what home medicines and remedies to have on hand. Also, know your strategy regarding interaction with other family members, sleeping arrangements, caretaking responsibilities, etc.
With all the challenges that spring and summer 2020 brought us, we are welcoming fall as an opportunity to change and renew. Our goal as holistic natural health care practitioners is to provide you with resources to improve your immune health and overall wellness. We sincerely hope you find these ideas useful as we ease into the new season.