Dr. Nicola’s Tips to Achieving and Maintaining
Health and Wellness this Fall:
Soak up the last month or so of this great weather, before the rain starts. It’s a great time to be outside exercising when it’s not too hot. We still get some beautiful days in September and October. Hiking, road and mountain biking and trail running are a few of my favorites. As the season changes, we get the stunning colours of fall and the smell of fresh air. Just remember to wear layers ☺
Get into a routine. All the activities, festivities, and weekends away in the summer make it difficult to maintain a schedule. Don’t be hard on yourself about this; it’s important to enjoy your life and celebrate! Fall is a great time to get back to your routine and create healthy habits to carry into the winter, when it will be harder to find the motivation. Find an exercise class you like and that fits into your schedule, and start creating your wellness routine. Exercise is one of the best natural anti-depressants. Becoming consistent with your exercise routine now can help prevent you from developing SAD (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) when the rain comes.
If you’re prone to SAD, be pro-active about your mental health. Before the short, dark days of winter arrive dig out or purchase a SAD light. Make sure that the light is rated at a minimum of 10,000 lumens. My favorite brand is Day Light. Start your morning routine with 10-20 minutes of light shining on your face from an angle (it’s nice to use while you eat breakfast.) The SAD light has a complementary effect with the first two recommendations above. Spending time outside in nature and exercise can also help to keep your mental health in check.
It’s a great time to set wellness goals that are both reasonable and attainable. Start slow; if you set a goal that isn’t realistic you are less likely to achieve it, and failure could take away your motivation. When you exceed the goal it feels great, so set attainable goals that leave room for even more improvement. I have a blackboard on my wall that I like to write my goals on. Seeing them daily is a good reminder to do it. Also, there is great satisfaction in checking things off the goal board ☺
Meal Prep. If you use Sunday, or another day that works, to prep some food for the week you’re more likely to eat healthy. Some of my favorite recipe ideas come from the food blog ‘Oh She Glows,’ by Angela Liddon. Her recipes are plant-based, and mostly free of gluten, soy, and processed foods. If you like her recipes, consider picking up a copy of her cookbook to have on hand.
Eat what’s in season. Historically, we have eaten the foods that have recently been harvested, and these foods tend to be easy on the digestive system. Go for local organic produce that’s in season. A few of my favorites for fall are brussel sprouts, cabbage, beets, cauliflower, pumpkin and winter squash. Soups, stews, and other warming foods are great as the season changes and the temperature drops. You can check out the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets for a more extensive list of what is in season each month of the year.