Creating a Fall Routine that is Healthy and Wholesome
By Irene Roth
As the leaves change and the temperature drops, the arrival of fall brings with it a sense of renewal and transformation. However, for those dealing with chronic illnesses, the changing seasons can also pose unique challenges.
Fall is still one of my favorite seasons of the year. It’s a time when we all go back to a routine, and when the hazy, lazy days of summer are over. The days are shorter, prompting us to move inside the house. Everyone is back to school and work. And it’s up to us to create a lifestyle that’s healthy and happy for ourselves.
The key to maintaining health and well-being during fall lies in establishing a routine that caters to our specific needs. It can be hard to create and maintain healthy habits in the fall, but once we set them and act in accordance with them for a few weeks, we lay the groundwork for a fulfilling fall season.
Below, I will explore some habits that promote our health and well-being.
A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone of any healthy routine, especially for those with chronic illnesses. As the days get shorter and nights longer, it’s essential to adapt your sleep schedule to ensure you get enough rest.
You can do this by maintaining a consistent routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Furthermore, create a sleep-conducive environment by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Limit exposure to screens (phones, tablets, TVs) before bedtime to improve sleep quality.
Eat a Nutritious Fall Diet
Fall offers us a harvest of fresh, vibrant, and seasonal produce. Make the most of this time of year by incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet. Try seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and squash.
You may also want to experiment with warm and comforting soups and stews that can be prepared in advance for convenience. If you’re stuck, consult with a registered dietitian to tailor your diet to your specific condition and dietary requirements.
Get Physically Active
Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining overall well-being. Be sure to choose exercises that suit your capabilities. Consult with a physical therapist or trainer experienced in working with individuals with chronic illnesses to create a customized exercise plan.
You may want to try engaging in low-impact activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, or swimming to improve flexibility and strength without straining your body.
Fall can bring about increased stress due to various factors such as upcoming holidays or changes in routine. Stress management is particularly crucial for those with chronic illnesses, as stress can exacerbate symptoms.
You may want to practice mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises to calm your mind. Schedule regular breaks and incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Consider seeking professional help through therapy or counseling if you find that stress is significantly affecting your health.
While it’s common to associate hydration with the hot summer months, staying hydrated in the fall is just as important. Chronic illnesses can make it especially challenging to regulate your body’s water balance, so be mindful of your fluid intake.
Try to carry a reusable water bottle with you to remind yourself to drink throughout the day. You may also want to include warm herbal teas in your routine, which can both hydrate and provide comfort during cooler days.
The unpredictability of chronic illnesses requires careful planning to ensure you feel in control of your health and well-being. Create a weekly or monthly schedule that includes medical appointments, medication reminders, and self-care activities.
Also, you may want to prepare for seasonal challenges, such as flu season, by discussing vaccinations and preventative measures with your healthcare provider.
Seek Social Support
Maintaining a support network is critical for anyone dealing with chronic illness. Fall provides many opportunities to reconnect with friends and family. Arrange small gatherings or virtual meet-ups with loved ones to maintain social connections without overexertion.
You may also want to communicate your needs and limitations to those around you, so they can better understand and support your well-being. No one can read your mind and know what you’re going through, not even those closest to you. So, be sure to tell them how you feel. This is especially important to ensure you don’t feel frustrated and alone.
Creating a fall routine that promotes health and well-being for the chronically ill involves thoughtful planning and self-care. By prioritizing sleep, adopting a nutritious diet, engaging in gentle exercise, managing stress, staying hydrated, planning ahead, and nurturing social connections, individuals with chronic illnesses can navigate the challenges of fall with confidence and well-being.
Remember that consulting with healthcare professionals, including doctors, dietitians, and physical therapists, is essential to tailor your routine to your specific needs. Embrace the beauty and opportunities that fall offers while taking care of your health, and you can enjoy the season to the fullest.
Have a happy and healthy fall season!