Happy Wednesday again to all! I hope this hump day finds you mentally well. As we enter fall, we anticipate the changing of the seasons, shorter days, cooler weather, and maybe stressing over the busyness of the school season and the excitement of the upcoming holidays starting with Halloween! Change always leaves me with a feeling of anticipation, excitement and some anxiety. So as the changing of the season begins and we approach winter, what are some steps to take in anticipation of the excitement or anxiety that the upcoming season brings?
1. Just breathe. It seems so simple and yes it's free. There are no side effects except good ones such as decreasing the sympathetic (stress response) nervous system and engaging the parasympathetic (relaxation response) nervous system. Try 3 2 4 breathing, breath in for 3 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. Do that 5 times and I think you will feel a bit more relaxed than you did a minute ago.
2. Exercise. You know it's a love/hate relationship but don't think about it just do it! Your body will thank you for it. Burn off some of that stress with a run, play tennis with a friend who makes you laugh, walk your sweet dog who waited all day for you to come home or join a community where you might engage in meditative exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or qi jong.
3. Get some Sunshine. This is especially important for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Spend at least 15 minutes a day near a window or better yet outside, there is a reason it's called the winter blahs, shorter days mean less sun exposure and this leaves many of us feeling depressed. Start this habit now so that by january you are the one person out walking the neighborhood in 20 degree weather while everyone else is wondering what in the world are you doing outside just walking?
4. Socialize, make plans to visit with a variety of loved ones and friends . Have a taco night, go bowling, watch football, get away for the weekend. Remember whilst socializing- try to eat healthy and limit the alcohol.
5. Drink tea. Green tea is for me! I love it for it's calming but uplifting affects and for staying warm and feeling mental alert without the anxiety of too much caffeine. Have tea with a friend or coworker after lunch. Have a cup of herbal tea in the evening with your family after dinner. I love chamomile because it is calming , sweet, and safe for children. One cup and I am already yawning.
6. Eat pumpkin. I had to chuckle as a patient of mine said today, "I love everything pumpkin"It's rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants, great for the eyes, skin , and immune system. It also contains luteine and zeaxanthin known for their memory boosting properties. Bake those sugar pumpkins and skip the sugary corn syrup laden pumpkin spice lattes or consider making your own!
Happy Wellness Wednesday Everyone!