Although you will hear the cries of “FALL! LEAVES! APPLES! PUMPKINS! HOCUS POCUS!” on an endless loop for most of fall (at least until November 1), it is easy to find yourself lost in the shuffle and not taking time for yourself. I’m not sure about where you live, but here colds and flus are making the rounds like they get a point for every one of us they drag down. Life is only going to continue to get busier until the New Year for most of us, so now is the time to set some time aside for you! I’m sharing four ways for you to take care of yourself during this busy season…
1. Get Some Fresh Air
So, I’m that weirdo that loves snow and gets excited for the first snowfall- we had our first snowfall here in Winnipeg on Saturday, October 14, and it was AMAZING. However, even if you don’t love snow, or don’t have snow, I recognise that most people in the Northern Hemisphere are dealing with a drop in temperatures and that you may not want to venture out when it’s getting colder. However, fresh air and sunlight can still make the world of difference, particularly for those of us who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Hiding yourself away inside may seem to make the most sense to our hygge-addled brains, but grab your coat, a scarf, and some mittens (and maybe a friend or two), and get some fresh air! Set an alarm on your phone, write it in your planner, make a date with a friend, and just do it- no more excuses. We still need exercise when it gets cold, and we may as well get as much time outside before it truly is too cold and may end in frostbite and lost limbs! Go to a corn maze, pick some pumpkins, walk your dog instead of just putting them in the yard, or take a stroll to the store- the opportunities are there if you look for them!
2) Get Your Vitamins
I personally am not a huge fan of taking actual vitamin supplements, mostly because you end up paying for 400% of what you actually need (which will be peed out…) but I think that they are a great option if your diet doesn’t offer enough variety in vitamins. Whether it be from vitamin supplements, diet, or some combination of the above, make sure that you are getting all of the vitamins that you need. Produce availability changes with the seasons and what may have been widely found in the summer is now nowhere to be seen in the grocery store. Make it a point to spend a little bit of time looking at what you have been eating lately and what vitamins you are getting- not only does a deficit of vitamins lead to you being sick, it can also leave you feeling simply “off”. You would be surprised to learn how little you need of things to meet your recommended vitamin intake, and it is useful information to know on a permanent basis. This may be a great excuse to try some of those recipes that you’ve looked at but never actually gone so far as actually making. (Fun fact- a serving of pumpkin delivers over 100% of your recommended Vitamin A intake and over 20% of your Vitamin C intake!)
3) Give to Others
When the weather is colder, there are more people using food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, and other services that help them through their day to day lives. If you have a few extra cans of veggies or boxes of noodles, donate them to your local food bank- people who may have been able to afford food in the summer may now be struggling with having to pay increased utilities and heat. If you have a few spare hours, grab a few friends and volunteer at your local soup kitchen- serving, cleaning, sorting, dishes, intake, there are a million ways to help, and having friends there will help pass the time and make even more of a difference. In Winnipeg, people will leave scarves, hats, and mittens hanging on trees and posts downtown for anyone who might need them to stay warm but don’t have any themselves. Even grabbing some finger mitts at the dollar store can help, and a few pairs will run you less than $5. Karma comes and goes, and putting a little bit of positivity out there can never hurt. Take a look at community boards and local postings- you would be surprised to see just how many organisations and groups will be asking for help and volunteers!
4) Give to Yourself
By give to yourself, I don’t mean give yourself a ton of presents (although you can if that is your aim) but give yourself time! I think that a lot of us fall into the trap of always being on the go, and while we might wholly enjoy the time spent, in the long run it can lead to you being incredibly run-down and working in a sleep and energy deficit that you can’t seem to get out of. I plan on setting aside Friday nights in November and December for myself- I will throw a Christmas movie on, do some wrapping or some DIY-ing, drink some tea, and just relax. I don’t set any firm “goals” or to-dos, what happens happens! Make sure that you can go to bed at a regular hour and set some time aside to get into “sleep mode”. Make sure that you are drinking enough liquids to stay hydrated (inside and out). And make sure that if there is something that you really want to do, make it a priority and actually do it! Even if you end up doing it by yourself, make a plan and go! We don’t need all of our time dedicated to ourselves, but save a little bit to make sure you are taking care of you, too.
How do you take care of yourself when life gets busy and stressful?