Now that the summer days are behind us, it’s time to think about how to take care of yourself this fall. Without a plan to adapt to the seasonal changes, the shifts can catch us off guard. While you might have your routine set on summertime activities, now’s the time to prepare for the colder months ahead. Here are tips to get you through.

#1. Spend Time Outside

While you might enjoy the colder months, the days do get shorter, which means less sun. Even though Arizona is known for its sunny weather, days are still cut by more than four hours by the winter solstice. Sunlight exposure gives you a good dose of vitamin D, which helps your body release healthy chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, also known as “happy chemicals.” These chemicals regulate your mood and can ward off some of the adverse effects of seasonal affectiveness disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression.

#2. Create an Indoor Exercise Routine

Ideally, you’ll want to exercise 30 minutes, three times a week, or more. However, with temperatures dropping below freezing in some places, it can be hard to schedule an outdoor exercise in the early morning or late at night. If the weather is too cold for that early morning run, it might be time to plan out your indoor gym. Consider researching exercises you can do right in your living room. Making these changes now can ensure that you stay active during the cold months.

Now might also be the time to look into joining a gym space. Joining a gym before the holidays is the perfect time because most people tend to drop out of their routine before Thanksgiving and hop back on the treadmill once they’ve made their New Year’s resolutions.

#3. Stay Hydrated Even in Cooler Weather

The heat of the summer might make you focus on how much water you drink, but cold weather months in Arizona are even drier. Drinking enough water makes sure that your body is distributing the nutrients it needs. Consider investing in a large water bottle to take with you everywhere and try to drink at least eight cups a day.

#4. Make Sure to Bundle Up

Believe it or not, it does get cold in Arizona, especially after the sun sets. During the day, it’ll be 70 degrees on average, but at night it can drop to below freezing. It probably won’t be a reality until after December, but now’s the time to start taking cold-weather clothes out from the back of the closet. Once the cold weather sets in, wear long sleeves, pants, sweaters, and jackets.

#5. Focus On Skin Care

Arizona is known for its dry climate, and it persists in the fall and winter. The cold weather escalates the dryness, and that can affect your skin. Chapped skin doesn’t feel good. Your skin feels flaky and red, thanks to the harsh, windy nights. This fall, take care of your skin by wearing lip balm and sunscreen and applying moisturizer. Another great idea is installing a humidifier in your house to add that much-needed moisture into the air.

#6. Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule 

It’s common to feel sluggish in the fall and winter. The shorter days can mess with your body’s circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that lets your body know when it’s time to wake up or go to sleep. The lack of sunlight causes your body to release melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep. During the colder months, it’s essential to be aware of how much sleep you are getting. Many people tend to oversleep, which can hurt their mental health.

Set your alarm for waking up and going to bed to ensure you get the appropriate amount of sleep. The average person should get around seven to nine hours of sleep a day. If you struggle waking up in the morning when the sun is down, consider adding light physical activity to your wake-up routine to get your blood flowing. Stretching or yoga is perfect for helping to get the blood flowing.

#7. Make Nutritional Food Choices

Nutrition tends to go on the wayside in the colder months as people start craving carbs and comfort foods. While the occasional hearty meal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s important to include fruits and vegetables alongside your meals. If a salad isn’t quite what you’re craving, try roasting a pan of vegetables or replacing a starchy food item with something rich in vitamins and minerals.

Prioritizing your self-care when it becomes colder benefits your mental health in a significant way. During the shorter days, it’s common for people to feel sluggish. In the fall and winter, you might tend to isolate and stay indoors, which can negatively impact your mental health. Caring for your body is a top priority because of how interconnected your physical health is to your mental health. Cornerstone Healing Center offers indoor classes in yoga and weightlifting, giving you the indoor workout space you might need this fall. We also provide counseling services for those who feel their depressive symptoms might worsen as the nights grow longer. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect many people with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or other related mental health conditions. If you feel your mood changing for the worst in a significant way, reach out to us. Cornerstone is just a call away. For more information, contact us today at (800) 643-2108

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