Sweater weather is upon us and our daylight hours are slowly dwindling. For many of us, fall and winter are the hardest months to stick with our healthy lifestyle goals. This time of year, I am so tempted to skip my workouts, pop some avocado brownies in the oven,and binge watch my favorite TV series.
We tend to cut ourselves some slack during the holiday months because, after all, we still have months before we need to have our bodies beach-ready, right?
The problem with this mode of thinking is that when we slip back into old, unhealthy patterns of poor diet and minimal exercise, while adding in the stress of the approaching holiday season, it takes a huge toll on our immune systems and our health.
Staying proactive in caring for yourself should be top priority all year long, so here are some tips that I use to keep healthy all year long.
#1 – FIND LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS
As simple as it sounds, finding friends with similar health and lifestyle goals is an important way to stay encouraged to stick to your ideals. I think we often underestimate the power of positive, like-minded friendships.
Did you know that laughter releases endorphins that help to diminish stress hormones in the body?Get together and laugh it up! Don’t be a lone ranger trying to be healthy on your own. We need friends to help us on this life-long health journey.
Many of us have memories of our “freshman 15” gained during college, though some of us still carry that around with us. Staying up late, studying into the wee hours, eating junk food, and succumbing to the culture of college may create fond memories…but who wants a visual reminder of the stress we put our bodies through?
Someone once told me that the type of people that you hang out with is the type of person you will become.
Spend time with people who bring out the best in you.
Find people you admire.
Take the initiative and invite them into your world.
Keep each other accountable when it comes to making your health a priority.
Having friends to encourage you to be the best you that you can be will make sticking to your healthy lifestyle goals a blast and keep you healthy in the process. I know I depend on my Tribe and my husband to keep me supported and in check with my goals!
#2 – EAT SEASONALLY
Eating healthy does not have to be a complicated and expensive process. Check out this post on the best way to maximize your local farmer’s market – Healthy Fall Recipes from the Farmer’s Market.
Failure to plan is planning to fail. Keep healthy staples on hand at all times. Free-range eggs, organic meats and fish, fresh and dried herbs, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, almond or coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and frozen fruits for smoothies are always in my wheelhouse. It makes for easy snacking and deliciously fresh recipes.
Find shortcuts to make your healthy eating habits doable, like slow cooker recipes. For example, if you have a busy work schedule and can’t find time to cook, spend an hour on Saturday prepping some freezer meals that you can thaw out the night before and pop in the slow cooker. Nothing beats opening your door and being greeted with the aroma of a freshly-cooked meal!
Personally, I love a hearty homemade soup on a chilly evening, especially when it’s made with healthy organic ingredients from my local farmer’s market. Try out this tasty twist on pumpkin soup when you need something easy, satisfying, and packed with nutrition.
Crockpot Curried Pumpkin & Coconut Soup
2 c. either raw,pureed pumpkin, canned pumpkin, pureed winter squash or pureed sweet potato
1 can coconut milk
½ small green onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. & then 1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 drop Ginger essential oil
1 tsp. organic cold-pressed coconut oil
Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add garlic and onions andsauté until onions appear translucent. Remove from heat and add them to your crockpot along with pumpkin, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and combine well. Next, add coconut milk and just enough water to cover pumpkin mixture. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours. Just before serving, stir in 1 drop of Ginger essential oil. Enjoy!
#3 – EXERCISE FOR YOUR EMOTIONS
Exercise plays a huge part in our overall health and helps to equip us to face the ups and downs of life with strength. Not only will exercise increase your physical prowess, but it will also help to balance your emotions and reduce your stress levels.
Linked with exercise is a lot of talk of endorphins, but what are they? Endorphins are like a little army that helps to empower our bodies. They send messages to the brain that diminish the feeling of pain, help us battle stress, and strengthen our immune systems.
But what if you hate to exercise? Start with some baby steps. At least try to get outside and appreciate the wonder of nature during this time of year. Try walking or hiking, get on your bike and go, join a yoga class, or find something that makes your heart rate rise and gets your blood pumping. Those endorphins will do their job after that!
Another tip is to check out your local parks and recreation program. I’ll bet you will discover some interesting options for even the most exercise-resistant.
The key to exercise is consistency. Find out what you enjoy, invite some friends, laugh as you go, and just get moving!
#4 – GET THAT BEAUTY SLEEP
Adequate sleep has always been a struggle for me. My busy schedule keeps me going non-stop at times and I have to remember to take the time to nurture my body by allowing it to properly reset and recharge. Even if that means disciplining myself not to stay up late to get that one last thing done!
For adults,7-9 hours of sleep is the recommended range for optimal health. We need this time to recharge, to allow our bodily systems to do their given jobs, and to destress from the day. A good gauge for how much sleep you actually need is to try going to bed one night at a reasonable hour and not setting an alarm. When you naturally wake up will reveal your sleep needs.
To promote a peaceful night of sleep, be sure to limit screen time at least one hour before bed, darken your room, lower the temperatures to keep your heart rate slow, and restrict those evening snacks.
And don’t forget to use your diffuser! Lavender, Cedarewood, and Vetiver essential oils are great for creating a soothing atmosphere and easing into a restful slumber. You can also double-up by applying these topically to your pulse points before bed while diffusing them through the night.
3-2-1 Sleep Diffuser Blend
3 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Cedarwood essential oil
1 drop Vetiver essential oil
#5 – ESSENTIAL OILS BRIDGE THE GAP
Essential oils are like the icing on the cake when it comes to our health. When we are taking care of ourselves by eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and allowing for adequate sleep,essential oils help to bridge the gap and support our overall health year-round.
My very favorite essential oil go-to for strengthening my immune system is dōTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend. Boosting your immune system when the yuck amps up this fall can be the key to your health if all other areas are balanced as well.
Add 4 drops to your ultrasonic diffuser and let the amazing fall aroma fill your home.
Make your own hand sanitizer and foaming hand soap with an On Guard® boost.
Dilute in a glass rollerball bottle and apply to the bottoms of your feet nightly.
BONUS – YOU ARE A TABLE!
A healthy lifestyle works like the legs on a table. We need all the legs on the table for the table to remain steady and in-tact. If one leg is fractured or missing, the security of the whole table suffers.
If our health is the table and the legs of the table are friends, nutrition, exercise, and rest. We need all four of these things for our table to do what it was designed to do. If we don’t have adequate rest, for example, our health and immune system will suffer, even if we are eating well and exercising. Use your high-quality essential oils to bridge the gap and support these pillars of strength, especially this fall.
Need some help figuring out which essential oils are right for you? Contact me here and we can figure it out together!