Autumn without the Fall

summer garden

One of the cruelest realities from the buoyancy of summer life into autumn’s rhythm is the reduced time for personal exercise and wellness care that often comes for many of us. Though this is poignantly true for working parents with children (I remember well those elementary through high school days), it is equally true for the rest of us, as the switch from summer schedules flip without transition into the denser impact of non-summer work mode agenda. Add to that the decreasing light and oncoming cooler temperatures and our zest for outdoor exercise is often truncated, and the bulking up begins. WAIT…don’t go there yet! It’s still only September!!

Where does your mind go when you see the positive patterns you’ve created for yourself begin to lessen or unravel? Life’s responsibilities and work schedules understandably take precedence, but how can we still keep our attitude and best choices for self-care alive and available?

I know there is more to creating a lifestyle for wellness than healthy food and exercise (though they are major facets that affect us). We need sufficient sleep, and we thrive with fresh air, time spent out of doors, personal time for reflection, pursuing our interests, and enjoying friendships. Taking time to include these facets in our lives and maintain a workable balance between them and our obligations is a challenge. (What happens when you replace the word “challenge” with the word opportunity?)

This process requires a conscious evaluation of our lives, patterns of behavior, desires and expectations. It’s worthwhile to do this yearly, as our lives change with circumstance. Whatever your particular situation is, the shift from summer to autumn is an excellent time to take stock and recognize your top lifestyle priorities. What, if anything, is so important to your health and wellbeing that you are willing to call them your “non-negotiables”?

Think about it, and in a relaxed moment, I recommend you write them down. Consider what changes you may need to make in order to bring whatever it is you really want into your life on a consistent basis. Nothing happens without awareness, intention, and action. Then, employ the Continuum Principle because it is wise and kind. Whatever healthful actions you want to make in your life, remember to not sabotage yourself with all or nothing rigidity.

·    Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.
·    Build a team of supporters from family members and friends. Communicate what you need from others and create a new pattern.
·    Remind yourself daily of what matters most to your wellness so you remain energized.
·    Recognize making some time for healthy self-care isn’t selfish.
·    If food and weight gain is an issue for you, anticipate your day and don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry so you eat junk. Bring food from home and have a  simple healthy lunch
and/or snacks readily available at work and long car commutes. (Hardboiled egg, a handful of walnuts or almonds, fresh fruit, a yogurt, etc.)
·    Give yourself permission to have pot lucks and enjoy your friends over for dinner; don’t worry about impressing them.
·    Integrate movement into your life as often as possible:take stairs instead of the elevator,park further away in the lot, get up from your desk a few times a day to walk for 10 minutes.
·    Get sufficient sleep so you don’t crave junk food at night for pick-me-up energy.

Here’s to beautiful days and a graceful transition into autumn.

PS  Remember – when it comes to positive change – don’t underestimate the small stuff!