The change of seasons is an opportunity to step back and pay attention to our bodies and our minds. As the weather fades from warm to cool to cold and the daylight shortens, our daily patterns and habits often adjust. When the weather changes I try to be mindful of the transitions I make in my day to day life to accommodate the change.
Our summers here in Bozeman are so frantically busy (especially at the end as we try to pack it all in before the snow flies!), and the shift to cooler weather often makes me realize how quickly I’ve been moving through life, and how good it feels to slow down. I try to go to a yoga class, or sit in the sauna at the gym, or pick up a book after work, rather than hit the trails running. This is a time to rest and calm before the energy of winter hits.
Change in Appetite
I pay attention to my appetite, and I often crave warm, comfort foods and have to be mindful of incorporating enough veggies into my daily diet. I try to listen to my body and get into bed earlier, since the sun is setting earlier anyways, and I know I need the recuperative rest after a busy end to summer. This year, the snow came extra early it seems, and this shocked me into recognizing the transition even more than I normally do.
Change in Mood
With this change of seasons, many of my patients come in fatigued and over-worked after powering through the end of summer, and we get to work rebuilding their energy stores and mood. Clinically, I find it especially important to check on Vitamin D levels at this time of year, as so many of us here in Montana are low in this vital nutrient. Our bodies make vitamin D from sun exposure, and it helps to keep our energy up, our immune system at the ready, our mood balanced, and our hormones level. With the sun now rising later and setting sooner, I like to get ahead of supplementing so we don’t let our levels get too low after a summer spent outside soaking in our mountain sunshine.
Pause and Check In
When fall hits, the temperatures drop, and my husband heads out hunting every free moment, I know it’s time to pause and check in. I hope my personal notes on recognizing how the change of seasons affects my body and health habits can help you to identify where and when your body needs attention with this change of seasons. And I hope you, too, get out to enjoy the changing foliage, cooler temps, and gah, even the snow!
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