Each new season requires us to take a look at our schedules, our activities, and our nutrition in order to re-evaluate and accommodate what our body needs. In the summer our bodies crave lighter foods, increased hydration, and we look for ways to keep cool. As we move into the fall, we seek out different comforts. We look for heartier foods, and we look for ways to warm our body.
The transition from summer to fall seems like the biggest one for us Vancouverites. From sunny, warm days spent in bathing suits, shorts, and flip flops; heading for cooling swims, bike rides, runs and hikes; lounging at the beach, and meeting friends for meals on sunny patios; eating light salads, with barbequed foods alongside refreshing light beers and ciders. Within a few weeks, we move straight into a season of indoor nesting comforts. Our wardrobe changes completely as we cover up with boots, cozy sweaters and ensure that our rain jackets are always in tow. We start moving activities indoors to the gym or exercise classes and spend a little more time on the cozy couch. We also start to crave more heavy warm foods: bowls, soups, lattes and the comfort of red wine.
With the lightness of summer fading, the fall brings a grounding energy that can take some getting used to before we settle into the coziness of it. For some, this can feel really heavy. Our moods shift as we seek more comfort and warmth indoors; we get less of the sunshine vitamin, and we may feel less connected to others as we don’t get out as much socially. This discomfort usually supercharges the need to set goals: ways to feel positive and motivated again. With this brings the return of slightly longer to do lists and higher stress. The transition can have us feeling momentarily lost, as we reorient ourselves to a lifestyle that fits the season.
There are some key ways to help care for our bodies, and ease the transition into the fall and eventually winter months in a healthy way.
Here are a few of my go-to ‘Fall Into Wellness’ hacks!
- Good food - In the fall, a great way to warm our bodies is through the foods we choose. There is a range of spices that have thermogenic (warming) properties that we can add to our cooking to warm the body. Some of the best ones include cinnamon, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and cayenne. These spices all have immune and digestive supportive properties. Great for the heavier foods that we tend to crave, and warding off the endless swarm of head colds!
- Good sleep - With fewer daylight hours we can feel unmotivated to get up in the morning. Make sure to get good quality sleep to help maintain your energy throughout the day. Quality sleep is incredibly important for our bodies to be able to repair themselves as needed, fight off infections, and perform at our best the next day. Develop a bedtime routine to help ensure a restful sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every day, limit carbohydrates (that spike your blood sugar) a few hours before bed, have a warm bath or shower, calm the mind with reading or meditation, and turn your phone to airplane mode to give your nervous system a break while you sleep!
- Exercise - Find new activities to enjoy for the season. Instead of going for swims and bike rides, fall’s a great time for hiking, and dusting off the running shoes. Try out some new classes; spin, Barre, TRX, kickboxing, dance, etc. The key is to find an activity that you enjoy, and that you will look forward to doing on a regular basis. You don’t want your exercise to simply be something added to your to-do list. There are so many fun activities to get into, especially here in Vancouver.
- Manage stress - Develop routines around stress management. Life rarely slows down, but we can develop healthy ways to cope with the burden that stress puts on our bodies. Check in with yourself on a regular basis, and know your limits. Know when it’s time to prioritize your health and seek out ways to support yourself (check out above points!). Additionally, you may want to find a good massage therapist or acupuncturist to see regularly, reach out to friends and family when you need them, or come into The IV to get a nutrient dense therapeutic IV drip to calm your nervous system, boost your immune system or restore some much-needed energy.
- Support yourself with supplements as needed
- Mood support
o Vitamin D3. Our sunshine vitamin! We produce Vitamin D year round, the problem in Vancouver is that we only have a few short months of sunshine to help us convert it to its active form (D3). Make sure to supplement with its active form! Great for mood and immune support.
o Fish oils (Omega 3 fatty acids). Great for mood support, cognitive function, skin health and reducing inflammation in the body.
o B-vitamins. Great for healthy adaptation to stress, energy, and mood support.
- Digestive support
o Apple cider vinegar and Canadian bitters both help to activate our digestive enzymes needed to properly break down our foods, and alleviate digestive discomfort. In the fall, the heavier foods often require a little help!
- Immune support
o St. Francis- Deep Immune. This is my go-to immune support that I always have on hand. When I’m around people who are sick (most of the winter in the clinic), or when I start feeling like I’m fighting something, this tincture is my trusty friend.
As the seasons change, our bodies simply call for new ways of nourishment. A little foresight goes a long way, knowing what we can do to help our bodies adapt and thrive to a changing environment.
I hope that everyone is enjoying this fall so far, and seeking out new ways to enjoy this beautiful city. For any extra support you may need in supporting your optimal health and setting health goals for yourselves, don’t hesitate to come see us at The IV Wellness Boutique!
Don’t worry, be healthy,
Dr. Brett Simpson, ND