September often brings with it a desire for a fresh start. You want to emerge from summer feeling healthy and energized. Here, three tips for welcoming the new season in peak condition.
1. Get back on schedule: If you’ve spent the summer staying up late, sleeping in, and napping away the afternoons or if you’ve recently returned from a flight across time zones, you may have thrown your body’s natural sleep rhythm off. To help reset your body’s sleep pattern, expose yourself to daylight first thing in the morning. Exposure to sunlight influences circadian rhythms, which are responsible for synchronizing your internal clocks to a 24 hour cycle matching the daily cycle of the sun. Getting sun exposure promotes wakefulness during the day and can you help you sleep at night. You may want to consider using a wake-up light, which offers artificial dawn simulation to help you start the day refreshed. The Stay Well Rooms’ wake-up light is also available for purchase at the Stay Well Shop, so you can also enjoy its benefits in the comfort of your home. Other ways to get back to a regular sleep schedule include: practicing good sleep habits, such as waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day (even on weekends); making sure your bedroom is quiet and dark; avoiding caffeine in the afternoons; and adopting a relaxing bedtime routine. If meal times have changed over the summer, get those back on schedule, too, as eating at the same times each day can help regulate sleep.
2. Boost your immune system: Our immune systems vary with the seasons, with summer being a time of peak health for most people and winter proven to be a time of increased risk of disease. Protect yourself against illness by establishing and maintaining healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep and exercise, protecting yourself against chronic stress, and eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables. Since probiotics may stimulate the immune system, increase your intake of probiotic-containing foods such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. A probiotic supplement may also be in order.
3. Allow transition time: If September equals a return to “real life,” prevent feeling overwhelmed by planning your re-entry. Give yourself at least a full day at home after vacation to unpack, sort through emails, clear away clutter, and take care of essentials. Leave your first day back at the office meeting-free so that you can catch up and clean your workspace. When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus, which can result in decreased performance and increased stress. Even if you’ve spent the summer at home, allow yourself time to transition your environment – and your mind – from summer to fall mode.