Seasons change and with it, our bodies’ needs change as well. As summer fades into fall, fall into winter, or even into spring and beyond, we likely experience unique physical and mental needs during these times.
Being kind to yourself during these transitional moments not only improves health but overall well-being as well.
Nutritional Intake: Eat Seasonally and Mindfully
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Some of the freshest and most nutrient-dense food anyone can consume is seasonal produce. Finding ways to increase mindfulness through selecting locally sourced seasonal produce has both nutritional value but also is good for the environment.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
While it is important to maintain a nutritionally sound diet year-round, sometimes you may find that different seasons draw you towards different nutrients. For instance, you may find that you crave high-vitamin C-rich foods during times when flu season begins and your immune system needs some extra support.
Mindful eating is about slowing down and taking time to appreciate what you are eating. When you take a bite, pay attention to the textures you notice and how the flavor changes from the first to the third bite. This practice enhances the dining experience and helps support your body’s natural signals related to fullness which will reduce overeating.
Physical Activity: Adapt and Modify
Seasonally Appropriate Workouts
Some seasons offer optimal outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and running while others may force us indoors for activities like yoga, indoor cycling, and strength training. One of the best things you can do is set a goal. This could be to attend a certain class or reach a mileage milestone or race. If you are new to the activity, you may want to consult a professional like an athletic trainer, coach, or other professional like Katie Barton.
Listen To Your Body
If you are just returning to a sport or activity or trying it for the first time, pay attention to how seasonal changes, like altered daylight and temperatures, impact your performance. Failing to do so could result in increased injuries or fatigue. Remember, your body is always talking to you, it is a matter of whether or not you are listening.
Mental Health: Protect Your Inner Peace
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal changes can have an acute impact on some individuals causing Seasonal Affective Disorder; light therapy, medication, and therapy can all provide effective remedies.
Each season can bring its own set of stressors. Ways to combat this include deep-breathing exercises, meditation, coloring or even exercising. All are great ways to reduce stress and recharge.
The seasonal transition and alterations of light and darkness can disrupt your sleeping patterns. Getting adequate sleep plays a huge role in health. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, reducing exposure to blue light devices, and keeping your room cool and comfortable can help support healthy sleep patterns.
Skincare: Seasonal Adjustments
Each season your skin needs change. Aside from being well-hydrated, moisturization is key- especially in colder climates. The type of moisturization you need will depend on your skin type and particular climate. For instance, lighter moisturizers might do in humid temperatures while heavier creams might be better suited for colder, drier climates.
It might be easy to blow off protecting your skin during the winter months, but the reality is that UV protection should be a priority regardless of season. Ideally, these sunscreens would offer the most protection possible balanced with fewer ingredients.
Exfoliating regularly helps remove dead skin cells, promote new cell development, and keep skin looking its best. Be gentle; overexfoliation could damage or irritate skin causing irritation or breakouts.
Social and Emotional Connections
We know that physical health is important for overall health, but what about emotional well-being? Relationships need to be nurtured, just like a garden. Find ways to make the connections happen. This could be as simple as a phone call, text, a meal, or even a holiday gathering.
It is important to be “present” both in your own life as well as with others. By being present, you are better equipped to listen and respond to other’s emotional needs while at the same time honoring your own.
Commemorate Small Wins
Each season brings its own challenges and victories; take time to celebrate both small wins – whether that may be maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress levels or simply getting through another tough day without incident!
We are all busy and it is easy to take our bodies for granted. Yet, it is important to be mindful of our body’s needs and how these change each season. Sometimes these needs change and more self-care is required. To maintain optimal health, we need to honor these changing needs and practice self-kindness regardless of the season.
- Photo Credit: Mickhail Nilov