Here in Canada, we’re heading towards winter. I love the crisp fall air and returning to wearing flannel whenever the opportunity arises, but the change in seasons is also an invitation to check in on my self care. The colder weather can present some challenges to us all and it’s important to winterize yourself and your life as the leaves fall. Here’s six ways to you can take care of yourself as we approach the winter season.
Get Outside and Get Some Fresh Air
I know, it’s colder, but if you can make a habit of getting outside for some fresh air, you’ll reap a lot of benefits for your mental and physical health. Getting outside is good for your vitamin D levels, stress levels and levels of physical activity. You can train for an autumnal 5K or go hiking, or take some kids (yours or borrowed!) to a pumpkin patch or apple picking. Even a walk through a local park to admire the leaves is a great way to get some outside time.
Prepare Yourself For Colder Weather
Set aside an hour or two on a day off to inspect your warm weather gear. It’s a great chance to make sure your coat and boots are ready to go and that you can locate both gloves. Mending and caring for clothes we already have is a key way to cut down on clothing waste.
While you’re at it, consider your home. Insulate your window and check in on your programmable thermostat, if you have one. Not only does this keep you warm, it minimizes your carbon impact on the planet!
Prepare For Cold And Flu Season
Biggest cold weather party pooper? That would be cold and flu viruses. Be proactive. Consider getting a flu shot (herd immunity protects you and others!) and tuck some hand sanitizer into your bag. Protect yourself by keeping your hands clean and getting lots of sleep.
Consider putting together a cold bug survival kit. Stock up your favourite tea, cough lozenges, some painkillers and handkerchiefs so you have them to hand the second you feel that telltale throat tickle.
Practice Setting Boundaries (Or Having Difficult Conversations)
Ah, Thanksgiving. Delicious food. Football marathons. Time with family. With both Canada and the US in the midst of turbulent political times, it can be a time of hard conversations amongst family members. Don’t panic - prepare. Consider ways to set boundaries to ensure that everyone has fun. Prepare some alternative, safe topics of conversation. Learn about de-escalation and share your concerns with family members.
For some of us, family can be hard. If you can’t find a way to feel safe, remember it’s 100% okay to skip a family occasion. Blame outrageous flight prices or just issue a simple no. Sometimes setting firm boundaries is the safest way to be.
Try A New Vegetable
Fall is a great opportunity to change it up. Squashes, pumpkins, leafy greens and fennel are at their best as the cooler weather comes. Try out a new vegetable - they’re good for you! Getting your vitamins, especially in bright orange or dark green veggies, helps keep you healthy. Our recommendation is this easy vegan butternut squash soup to keep you warm and full of beta-carotene.
(NB. In no way are we suggesting you give up your Halloween candy or pumpkin pie. Some things are sacred.)
Take Up Something New
Lots of folks feel a bit blue as the snow approaches. If you’re cooped up at home, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of Netflix and pyjamas. We would never knock a TV marathon, but taking some time over the fall to take up a new skill or hobby can positively impact your mental health. You could take swimming lessons, learn to knit, join a choir or get involved in volunteering. The colder months can mean more time indoors, but it’s never a bad time to get out of your comfort zone.
Whenever the seasons change, it’s always a good time to check in around your health and well-being. Sometimes, some simple habits can make a big difference. Try one or two of these tips to take on the new season with the vibrancy autumn demands.Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash.