Balancing the Change of the Seasons
I despise winter. Winter just isn’t my thing. I hate the cold, and I’m always cold—seriously,
you’ll see me wearing tall boots, long socks, a scarf, and usually three shirts with a mug of hot coffee in my hand all winter long. I’m one who will wear long sleeves or a jacket during the hot and humid Iowa summer. The only time I like snow is after it’s first fallen, before any footprints have even been made. That I find beautiful. But other than that, I’m good without it.
Now, I realize it’s only mid-October, but we had our first snowfall last week. Granted, it was only a dusting that didn’t stick, but still. Snow in mid-October?! Seriously?? Just the week before, I was wearing flip flops and we had temps in the 80’s. Winter is definitely coming—the days are getting shorter, I’ve pulled out the boots and the sweaters, and the heat has been turned on. I’m preparing for the winter blues which I get every single year without fail as soon as the time changes back to standard time. Honestly, I dread it. I hate the feeling of dreading sundown—it’s a dark and hopeless feeling that no one should have to experience.
Thus, the inspiration for this blog post. Once I became more aware of my health and what influences it, I’ve been working on preventing the negative influences that can sneak up on me. I can’t prevent everything; but I do what I can, and I work hard to lessen the effects. So, what are some ways to help us fight these winter blues? I’ve been doing some research on this and wanted to share some things I’ve come across. I’m spreading the love, because the winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder are very real things that affect our health and well-being. Let’s all work hard to take care of ourselves. Okay, friends? Promise?
NOTE: I am NOT in the medical field! Seasonal Affective Disorder and other forms of anxiety and depression are serious illnesses that should be discussed with your doctor. This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Rather, its intent is to give you some ideas to try in your daily life. I cannot stress this enough! Okay, now on to the ideas.
Idea #1: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice—Savor the Flavors of the Season!
Now, I’m not going out and promoting stress eating or over-indulging. But, we can all enjoy our special treats every once in a while, as long as it’s in moderation. Comfort food doesn’t have to be bad for us or something we eat three times a day. But, there is an emotional benefit to enjoying the fuel we put in our bodies, as long as we don’t enjoy too much of it. Which is why I’ve decided I need to start avoiding bake sales…Anyway, here are my fall faves:
Pumpkin spice everything—Yes, I’m on the band wagon! Lattes, cookies, cake…I love them all! I cannot go a season without one (or many) pumpkin spice latte.
Apples—Apple pie, apple crisp, all of it! This is the time of year to bake some good pies. Make it a family affair—take your kiddos to the apple orchard and pick the apples you’ll use in your goodies. Let them help you in ways that are age-appropriate (and less messy if you’re like me). My kids love to help me cook when I let them. I’ve been working hard at not being so uptight in the kitchen, and it’s been a lot of fun.
Speaking of apples—make some homemade applesauce! My sister sent me a great picture of her supplies all ready to go. She makes amazing homemade applesauce and then freezes it to use throughout the year. My kids talk about it and fight over it when they go to her house. I want to be like her.
Squash—yum! I love me some good squash recipes, and this is the best time of year to make them. Make a double batch and freeze to save you some effort with dinner another week (serve it with that homemade applesauce you just whipped up). My favorite recipe is this Spaghetti Squash Casserole—even my kiddos love it and it’s just as good reheated as it is fresh!
Chilis and stews—another personal love. In fact, I just tried this new Turkey Chili recipe, and my kids even loved it—it was perfect for a cold day like today!
Idea #2: Update Your Wardrobe
Okay, I hope this doesn’t cause too many shopping sprees, but there’s no harm in updating a few basic pieces, right? This is the season for warm leggings, cozy jeans, boots, tunics, and scarves. Here are two of my favorite places to go for cute and comfy wardrobe pieces:
Idea #3: Enjoy the Smells!
Any essential oil lovers out there? Scented candle folks? If you do use scented candles, I encourage you to consider looking at a chemical-free way to scent your home. Part of my work as a Wellness Coach is helping people remove toxins from our homes and our bodies that we may not even be aware of. Scented candles are a big offender! According to research, as described in this article by Huffpost.com, scented candles contain many chemicals that can be harmful to our health. Not wanting to give up my scented home, I’ve converted over to using essential oils, and I love to use my essential oil diffuser with different oils throughout the day and night. I use this to purify the air, uplift my mood, create calm when I’m stressed or my kids are crazy, and more. Here are some wonderful fall diffuser recipes.
NOTE: yes, I use only doTERRA essential oils, as you can guess from the links. I trust these oils because of their CPTG quality, their transparency in the quality of their oils, their Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative, and their Healing Hands Foundation. You can read more about them here. Want to get some in your home? You can check them out on my site!
But, the point is to enjoy the wonderful smells that the changing season have to offer! Cookies baking, freshly fallen leaves, warm cider, cinnamon rolls, YUM!!
Idea #4: Practice Self-Care
Self-Care is so important, friends. Without it, our cup runs dry and then we can’t be there to give ourselves 100% to our family, friends, volunteer commitments, work, etc. Self-care is something I had to really work on. For some reason, I used to see self-care as “selfish-care”, but it’s not. Self-care makes me a better person, a better mom, a better wife, friend, coach, volunteer, everything. You need to take care of yourself. Period.
One of the foundational pieces to wellness is sufficient sleep. Now if you’re like me and have little ones who like to wake you up multiple times a night, good sleep can prove to be difficult to get. But there are a few things you can do to help:
Get to bed early. Every night, I think I can get just one more thing done and then, before I know it, it’s 11:30 and my alarm is set for 5:30am. The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. So, my regular routine here isn’t going to cut it. And, I’m a snoozer, just ask my hubby. I’ve been wanting to get a dawn simulating alarm clock for a while. This may be the season I take the plunge and invest in my rest. Has anyone ever used one of these? If so leave me a comment to tell me your experience—do you love it?
Again, I’m going to push essential oils. I need my diffuser going all night to help keep me asleep. I love my lavender, marjoram, and vetiver, along with the doTERRA Serenity blend. Frankincense and doTERRA Peace are also wonderful!
Exercise! Those of you who are a part of my Facebook group know about my fitness journey. I’ve fallen in love with exercise, and I love Beachbody on Demand (need a great coach? I can recommend one to you!). 21 Day Fix Extreme is my favorite. DDP Yoga is what my hubby loves. Exercise helps with your energy, increases feelings of happiness, helps with your quality of sleep, can reduce pain, along with other benefits. Make it a routine—strive for 30 minutes of exercise a day. And, while you’re at it—keep yourself hydrated. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. Use this as an excuse to buy yourself a cute new water bottle.
Idea #5: Enjoy the Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is very scientific and fascinating to me. I’ll admit—when I first heard of it, I thought it was hokey. But, after I studied up on it, I realize that it just totally makes sense. Here’s how aromatherapy works:
You breathe in a scent through your nose which travels to your olfactory system, where that scent is processed.
The scent then travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system of your brain.
In the limbic system, a response is triggered based on the memories and experiences stored in the limbic system. This is why certain smells bring back particular memories or trigger certain feelings.
Cool right?! So, I mentioned enjoying the different smells of the season—practice aromatherapy! It’s so therapeutic (and calorie-free—no cookie baking required)! Need to know what types of smells triggers which emotions? Here’s a cool infographic to help you!
Okay, so that’s my Top 5. I hope you find these ideas simple, yet helpful to your spirit this
fall, going into the winter months. Above all, strive for balance, practice self-care, and make sure you enlist a friend when you need to chat. A conversation with a close confidante over a steaming cup of tea or coffee can really warm the soul.
Stay well, friends. Take care of yourselves and never stop dreaming!
Peace and Wellness,