With fall a month away, we’re looking forward to crispy leaves, frosty walks, hearty soups, snuggly sweaters, and everything pumpkin spice. ‘Tis the season to stock up on candles, hang fairy lights, and cozy up with autumnal comforts.
Besides the changes fall brings in weather, wardrobe, and food choices, the autumnal equinox also introduces a shift in our energy levels. As the nights get longer and the weather gets colder, you may feel a disruption to your daily rhythm.
There is no denying the need for comfort food and staying inside once that seasonal fatigue hits. The reason is quite simple; with reduced exposure to natural light, we become less active, less motivated, and perhaps even a little blue.
Don’t let your mood fall with the temperatures! Here are 4 ways to maximize your energy as you brace for the colder months.
- Eat nurturing food
As a medical professional, you’re more susceptible to excessive stress and burnout. The dip in energy that comes with a seasonal shift will exacerbate that further. So, in order for you to maximize your energy, you need to take care of yourself and build up your immune system in anticipation of colder weather. It’s essential that you nurture your body with healthy and nutritious food.
While you don’t have to deprive yourself of sugary treats here and there, you should still aim to reduce your consumption of processed foods and opt for fresh and natural options. Try to include seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet as they are packed with immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, Zinc, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Cauliflower, broccoli, and bell peppers are high in vitamin C while berries and citrus fruits are excellent sources of antioxidants.
- Make time for socializing and entertainment
While you may feel more inclined to cozy up with a book or a good movie at home, you should also make time for socializing and outdoor entertainment. Admittedly, shorter days and cooler temperatures do not exactly inspire outings in the open air.
That being said, reminding yourself of the fun you can have with friends, family, and loved ones will give you a compelling reason to go out and about. There is certainly no shortage of fall activities to bring you joy and help you decompress after a long day at work. Scheduling a nice dinner, a meditative walk, or a board game night with the family will allow you to slow down, adjust to the natural rhythm, and restore your energy levels.
- Prioritize sleep
With a background in health care, you are most likely aware of the effects melatonin has on the body. This hormone is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. As we move into colder months, the decrease in natural light exposure stimulates an increase in melatonin production. This leads to feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and sluggishness. Your sleep routine should be one of your top priorities at this time of the year if you want to stay energized.
So, it is essential that you maintain a healthy sleeping pattern based on what your body requires. Aiming to achieve between 7 to 8 hours of sleep is ideal. Although this is not always possible as a medical professional, you can supplement your night sleep cycles with minor rest opportunities during the day (15 to 20-minute naps are bound to increase your energy and help you overcome that afternoon slump).
- Treat yourself
Fall is the perfect season to wind down and practice being present. Treating yourself is an important aspect of staying energized and optimistic about what lies ahead. Think warm baths, candles, hot chocolates, and TV reruns. Create the perfect fall ambiance by kicking back and relaxing with a captivating book, podcast, or movie.
Why not enjoy a soothing massage in the morning followed by an afternoon of baking your favorite cookies to share with your loved ones? Whatever your idea of treating yourself is, do that. Whether it’s splurging on luxurious sating scrub caps, booking a spa day, or planning a vacation, rewarding yourself for all of your efforts will help you overcome seasonal fatigue and autumnal blues, especially when you’re feeling low.