How I love you!!!
The cooler mornings.
The walks outside.
Leaves swirling through the air.
My children laughing as they spend more time outside than ever before.
Oh, but how you hold a dark secret inside of you.
You don’t fool me for one instant… I know that the cooler mornings and campfire evenings are possible because of your tilt away from the sun… and how the days become shorter than the nights until they are so brief we wake up to darkness and eat dinner in darkness.
And for me… shorter days and more darkness means a dip in my mood.
Fortunately, there are lots of great things to do to get prepared as the seasons change.
Of course there are things like pulling out your sweaters and boots and knitting a scarf or two and planting a fall garden and getting the chimney cleaned.
But as someone who has battled the winter blahs on my mood my entire life, I wanted to share with you today some personal things you can do to prepare your body for a smooth transition through fall as we welcome the shorter days.
Fall Health Checklist:
1. Increase your fish oil.
I blog a bit about fish oil here.
It’s just such an important whole-body nutrient that comes even more into play during the colder months.
Winter means everything from a permanent brain fog to dry tight skin.
Fish oil support brain function, digestion, circulation and skin… all things that we need help with in the winter.
Although I absolutely recommend fish oil every single day of the year, starting to take it in the fall (or if you currently take it, upping your dose) will help prep your skin for the dry air to come, your brain for the dark days to come, your circulation for the colder winds to come, and your digestion for the heavier, thicker, richer foods to come.
2. 5 HTP.
A precursor to serotonin (the positive, mood enhancing neurotransmitter that most antidepressants are targeting, in the hopes to elevate brain levels) 5HTP is a nutritional supplement that makes sure your body is getting the building blocks it needs to make serotonin as efficiently as possible.
If you get a mild case of winter blues, you probably don’t need to take prescription medications for that.
Instead, you can make sure that your body is getting all it needs nutritionally in order to make its own, healthy levels of serotonin.
One way to ensure this is to take the nutritional supplement 5 HTP… if you feed your body what it needs (most of us don’t get enough of this precursor as it is) then you have the best chance to naturally create the serotonin you’ll need to keep your spirits up as the light fades.
3. Consider Melatonin an hour before bedtime.
Just as serotonin can dip in the winter, adding to the winter blues… your melatonin levels can dip too, wreaking havoc on your nightly rhythm.
Even though the darkness makes you feel more tired and ready to turn in earlier, you may find sleep elusive just when you crave it most.
This is because melatonin is actually made from serotonin… so folks who are low serotonin are going to be low melatonin. While 5 HTP may help reset melatonin levels naturally, another approach is to take melatonin directly one hour before bedtime.
Taking melatonin in the fall when the days grow shorter will help your body re-set to its natural rhythm once winter peaks.
Sleeping well at night is a natural and easy way to feel brighter during the days, beating those winter blues.
4. Ashwagandha to combat stress.
For many of us, the transitions of fall can cause fatigue and stress on our body.
Ashwagandha is an all natural, ancient remedy highly prized in Ayurvedic medicine.
Ashwagandha is an evergreen tree in India… it’s benefits are boasted far and wide for combating fatigue, reducing stress on our body (many practitioners believe it slows aging and promotes a longer life span!) strengthens the immune system (perfect for the cold and flu season) and promotes restful sleep.
Yes, getting outside in even the cloudy grey days of fall and winter for a mid-day walk is better than staying inside even under the brightest artificial lights.
Even if the sun appears not to shine, your pineal gland senses the light in the environment and needs this mid-day pick-me-up to function best this fall and winter.
Make a commitment to get morning or mid-day light (sunshine if possible!) every single day.
This one simple and free habit is probably the single best thing you can do to smooth your fall transition.
6. Along with sunlight, supplement with Vitamin D.
Yes, you will get some Vit D when you go outside each day… but most of us are deficient in Vit D during the summer… nearly ALL of us fall deficient in the winter.
Not only is Vit D a powerful antioxidant, it prevents cancer, stroke, heart disease… you name it… we need it. And lots of it.
Your children too… my kids enjoy this Vit D gummy from Nutrition Now.
7. Drink twice as much water as ever before.
Hopefully you’ve kept yourself well hydrated during the summer, when hot temperatures and sweating drive us to remember to drink water more than at any other time of the year.
But in the cooler temps, ones in which you are shivering, not sweating… it’s more important than ever before to drink, drink, drink (I’m talking water, peeps… water.)
Dry heated air, dry cold outside air, wind chapping our lips, and no internal drive to remind us to drink leads to mid-winter dehydration, brain fog, and a sure-fire road to BLAH.
You can get so dehydrated that you actually feel semi-nauseous all the time.
Drink water and then drink some more… and start right now.
I take the time to filter out the fluoride in my water… here is a blog post I wrote explaining how and why I drink non-fluoridated water.
Fall is the absolutely perfect time to encourage a gentle cleansing from your body, allowing the unnecessary to fall away and reveal a fresh start as we change seasons.
Drinking a TBSP of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water each morning is the perfect way to give your body a simple detox as you welcome in the new season.
I do this for one week ever spring and every fall. I also take nightly detox baths by adding 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda to warm bath water as I settle in for a soak.
Before stepping into the tub, I invigorate my skin by dry brushing with a natural bristled brush, but if you don’t have one of those, using a loofah or a washcloth in the tub will whisk away any dead skin cells and renew your body.
A week of morning apple cider vinegar “tea” and nightly pH balancing baths just screams fall to me… and is an incredibly inexpensive way to detox.
You can do it too! If you give it a try, leave me a comment below and let me know how you feel!
9. Make homemade (Un)Petroleum Jelly.
If you like the barrier protection of petroleum jelly but don’t want petroleum by-products anywhere near your body, make your own!
Yesterday, my daughter and I followed this recipe and really liked how it turned out… I’ll be keeping a jar by my bedside for my fall and winter cracked heels.
If you don’t want to make yours from scratch, give Alba’s UnPetroleum Jelly a try on any super dry trouble spots!
10. Make firestarters.
All fall I collect my dry lint and tons of items I typically would toss in the recycling bin (like cardboard egg cartons) and turn those free items into mega-awesome FREE firestarters.
I walk you through it in my Eco Friendly Firestarter Tutorial here!
You’ll use these all winter long and be so glad you took the time in fall to prepare a stash for yourself.
What are your favorite ways to prepare for fall?
Leave me a comment below and share your ideas to add to the list!
Enjoy this cooler weather and shortening days, my friends. I’ll be here for you all the way through it!
P.S. — like Pinterest?
I’ve created a Fall/Winter health idea board on Pinterest, check it out!
Better yet, create your own and share a link in the comments here below so that other readers can check out your fabbo ideas — and I can too!
I would love to see what you come up with and add them to my board!
Show me what products, crafts, supplements, foods, recipes and decorations YOU love during the lovely fall season…