Children are back to school, and even if you don’t have any children in school, it is time to turn our focus to autumn as the daylight gets shorter, the air cools and we get back to our routines. This is a good time to add some healthy routines which we may not have done before.
Now that summer picnics of hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad menus are done, this is the perfect time to start eating healthier foods. Be prepared to have healthy snacks on hand like cut up vegetables or fruits, hard boiled eggs or a container of tuna salad. Plan healthier breakfasts with yogurt or whole grain cereal, and meals with late seasonal vegetables to make stews and soups. This is a good time to plan family meals together, sitting around a table and sharing the day without cell phone or TV interruption. Try to have at least a night or two where everyone is at the table at the same time. Families are healthier when they eat together.
It’s also time to ease into regular bedtimes for you and the whole family. Start to get ready for bed about 10 - 15 minutes earlier each night for a week or so, and try to wake up 10 minutes earlier each morning to avoid the morning rush. Individual needs are different, but plan to get a healthy amount of at least 7 1/2 hrs to stay focused during the day. Getting your internal clock reset requires consistency in bedtime and rise times. If you or your children have trouble falling asleep, trying calming routines like reading, taking a warm shower/bath and using some of the calming essential oils, perhaps in a diffuser. Also turn off all electronic devices, preferably an hour or more before bedtime.
Less sunshine now can contribute to lower levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is common since we protect ourselves and our children from the harmful rays of the sun, but Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, supporting our immune and nervous systems. A weak immune system can leave us vulnerable to seasonal illnesses. Check with your medical professional, or give our office a call to see if you should consider a supplement based on your individual needs.
Of course, we all hear how important exercise is to our health and wellbeing. As you are putting new routines into place, make some scheduled time for yourself to get exercise. Even if your children have active after-school activities, spending time doing something physically active together with them is good for all of you.
Challenge yourself and your family to develop healthy routines now. It’s one less New Year’s Resolution you’ll be making!