As we head into fall, days start to get cooler and shorter. With less daylight and warmth from the sun, you are going to notice the effects on your skin, energy, nutritional needs and more. Here are our favourite tips on self-care to help you take full advantage of the season, which holds the potential for positive change:
skin. Even though you might think it is only a subtle change in temperature, your skin will feel it. Our skin is the first and most important barrier between our bodies and the outside world. When the air gets drier outside, your skin may start to feel sensitive, dry and/or irritated. Now is the time to say goodbye to the lightweight moisturizer you’ve been slathering on all summer. Instead, opt for a heftier hydrator to ensure your skin doesn’t get dry or break out. Look for a cream made with ceramides (like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra), which are essential and healthy fatty acids that occur naturally in the skin but need to be replenished when the weather gets cooler. Ceramides also help protect against environmental aggressors like irritants and pollution. Don’t forget to add a body lotion to the mix, too! Moisturize yourself from head to toe in order to provide a protective barrier over the skin and retain hydration; try Cake Body Milk Cream. If you want to go above and beyond, invest in a humidifier at home. When you turn your heat up, make sure to turn on your humidifier to add moisture to the air. The more moisture in the air, the more moisture it’ll share with your skin! Try a TaoTronics Humidifier. Finally, suncreen is a must, even in fall. The temperatures may drop, but UV radiation is present throughout all four seasons. Sunscreen should be used at all times. Supplementing with vitamin C is a good idea, too, for evening skin pigmentation and boosting collagen production resulting in a bright complexion. We like Three Ships Radiance Grape Stem Cell + Squalene Day Cream.
hydration. You might be less thirsty these days, however, this doesn’t warrant slacking on your water intake. Did you know that you are more likely to catch a cold or the flu if you’re not hydrated? If you want to avoid getting sick, keep drinking water! Your body needs fluids to help maintain a healthy temperature. When you’re dehydrated, your core temperature drops. By drinking more water, this can help you feel more comfortable when you have to step outside into the chilly weather. Also, drinking enough water can help you maintain your current weight, despite not being as active as you were in summer. When your body is properly hydrated, it’s more likely to break down unwanted fat and keep your digestive system functioning properly. Generally, it is recommended for most people to drink between eight and 10 cups of water a day. People that are physically active should drink around 12 cups a day. To make this task easy, try using an app or a tracking water bottle.
rest. The secret to feeling your absolute best is actually no secret at all. Sleep is key to keeping your body and mind in top form. Muscles and tissues repair and rejuvenate as we sleep, so if you are not getting the sufficient amount of rest (between seven and nine hours), it is harder for your body to maintain the everyday stressors you’re placing on it. As you fall into deeper stages of sleep, your muscles will get an increase of blood flow, which brings oxygen and nutrients that help repair muscles and regenerate cells. When your body enters its deep-sleep stage, growth hormones are released that also stimulate muscle repair and growth but, if your body isn’t getting enough rest, this growth hormone declines. In addition, without adequate rest, you will experience more inflammation in your body, putting you at risk for injury. You might be in sleep debt from the long days of play, activity and stimulation of summer. Catch up now because, before you know it, the busy holidays will be here!
nutrition. Nature is intelligent and, in her wisdom, she provides seasonal foods to help balance the transition into fall. Take advantage of the harvest during this time of the year using this guide to determine what is in season in your area. You’ll want to focus on nourishing foods served hot, such as warm cereals, soups, casseroles and steamed vegetables. Spices are especially favourable now, as they help stimulate good digestion. Root vegetables are in their peak from fall to spring and deliver ample flavour during the cooler months. Opt for ginger, turnips, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips. These are also loaded with folate, which is key for cell growth and metabolism, and beta-carotene, which aids vision and bone growth. Make sure to include nutritious grains—barley, brown rice, kamut, spelt, farro, teff, wild rice, millet, quinoa—in your fall dishes as well, loaded with B vitamins that help to improve mood, reduce anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. Fall is flu season, so it’s critical to pack in anti-inflammatory foods like apples and onions, which are high in quercetin that help block the release of histamines—the substance responsible for allergic reactions.
declutter. Lastly, declutter! Do a mini fall clean! This will recalibrate and restore balance in your life. Get rid of whatever you have accumulated over the summer. By doing so, you are creating space for energy to flow, allowing for increased health and happiness.
These tips on self-care are cornerstones in helping to move through this season with more ease, grace, and mindfulness. They encourage you to seek out ways to nourish yourself, something that is easily overlooked in the busyness of life. —Meg Lewis-Schneider