When we think of fall, our mind turns to leaves changing color, cooler days, heartier foods and heavier clothing to keep us warm. There is a reason for this – just like nature knows exactly what to do to balance itself so do our bodies. The body is amazing and has an innate way of knowing exactly what it needs. The problem lies with the fact that somehow we have lost the ability to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Most of us have very active, fast paced lives. We work all day and then go home to our second job; taking care of our families and home life. Time is limited so we turn to a quick fix for dinner which is usually some type of fast food that may come from a restaurant, frozen box, or delivery. Poor food choices eventually pay a heavy toll on our well being due to chemical additives and lack of nutrients that can cause added stress, sleep disturbances, hormone imbalance, lack of energy and increased cravings. These are all cries of help from a body fighting to create balance.
You only have one body and it is your vessel for life. Treating it kindly, or poorly, will have a direct result on what it will return to you. Creating balance is essential to good health. Some ways to accomplish that are:
Eating Seasonally – Fall brings a harvest of root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and onions, and when added to our diet help ground us and bring balance at this time of year. Other seasonal foods to include are squash, kale, nuts and of course apples from all of the wonderful local orchards. When cooking, make more stews, sautés, and soups that add warmth and comfort. Steer clear of raw foods and colder dishes during the fall season.
Prioritize – With a little planning you can make health your number one priority. Plan a week’s worth of healthy dinners for your family. There are many fall recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prepare. This is less time than it would take to drive to your favorite fast food restaurant and back. Making a list of all the ingredients needed for the week and grocery shopping will cut down on wasted time. Also, in the summer we tend to push projects off until the fall which can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Delegating responsibilities to other family members enables you to break tasks down into smaller chunks making them more manageable. Learn to say “no” to things that are not a priority. Taking on unnecessary commitments can create stress and drain energy.
Slow down – Take time to slow your pace. When you are feeling stressed take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing techniques supply oxygen to the brain, soothe your nervous system and leave you feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated. The crisp fall air is perfect for getting outside for a long walk to help clear your mind. Enjoying the fall foliage bonds you with nature and has a grounding affect, too.
Relaxation time – To create balance the body must be nurtured. Set aside time that is totally devoted to something that brings enjoyment to your life. Whether it’s a forgotten hobby that you once loved, raking a pile of leaves and then jumping in with your kids, apple picking, fall hikes through a nearby park, hay rides with a loved one, or catching up with friends. Whatever it is that soothes your soul, make it a priority. Schedule it into your appointment book the way you would all of your other commitments that way you have no excuses for not following through.
Listen to your body – It is a fine-tuned machine that knows what it needs to stay healthy. Feed it healthy foods when it’s hungry, give it water to quench its thirst, the right amount of exercise, and self care techniques to get you on the road to achieving your optimal health.