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Fall Abundance 

– Albert Camus

For those of us who live in a northern climate, we need only to look outside our windows to witness the season's transformational energies. The chill in the night's air, the reduced amount of daylight, and the colorful falling leaves indicate that the fall season is upon us.

With the start of the school year and all its demands, work-related stressors, football season get-togethers, Thanksgiving celebrations, Halloween treats, and the onset of the cold and flu season, healthy lifestyle choices can become quite a challenge.

Here are 5 self-care tips designed to help keep you well over the autumn months. Please keep in mind that change requires motivation, discipline, commitment and effort. It is important to ask yourself, does this particular strategy feel natural and fit with my personality. Baby steps will allow you to sustain all the new changes in a few weeks from now. And just maybe on New Year's Eve 2015 you won't need to make resolutions and promises because what better time than fall to create healthy habits for the upcoming holiday and winter season.

    Thanksgiving allows us the opportunity to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for in our lives. Psychologist Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky feels that "cultivating gratitude is the key to experiencing deeper levels of happiness, fulfillment and wellbeing". Stress consultant Loretta Laroche has coined it so beautifully, "it is physiologically impossible to be stressed and blessed at the same time." I feel that it is important to focus our energies on what we have rather than what we don't have. It only takes a few moments to express and journal your appreciation for all that is good in your life.
    The importance of eating a balanced diet with the foods you enjoy in moderation and awareness is the key to staying fit and healthy. As the growing season winds down, the markets are offering a bounty of produce perfect for autumn soups and stews. A warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast along with an assortment of fresh fruit will fill you up for hours. Integrate into your daily diet lean protein choices of salmon, walnuts, almonds, beans and lentils, and multi-grains such as millet, spelt and quinoa. To enhance food flavors add spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger and mint. Drinking water as your first choice will increase your level of alertness and reduce dehydration. Green tea, high in polyphenol helps boost the immune system needed to fight colds and flus.
    As the gardens get ready for sleep and the lawn furniture is put a way, the words 'couch potato' and football snacks come to mind. Research has indicated that regular and frequent weekly exercise boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and releases the good hormones or endorphins that help reduce the symptoms of depression. The guidelines suggest that you should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week which can be broken down in many combinations to fit even the busiest of lifestyles. Even a 20 minute power walk to the grocery store and home has strong health benefits. The key is to keep the exercises simple, have the will to start, and just keep moving.
    Ask yourself, "Am I worthy of abundance and entitled to feel joy, aliveness and happiness in my life?" Research has shown that our brains produce between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts a day with most of them negative. Louise L. Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing states "if we do not accept the idea that we deserve to prosper, then even when abundance falls into our laps, we will refuse it somehow... True prosperity begins with feeling good about yourself." In other words, good mental and physical health begins with acceptance and approval of the self. The choice is within your control. A healthy step towards alleviating the negative thought patterns would be to add affirmations or short powerful statements into your daily routine. Dr. Christian Northrup's affirmation, "wake up all the desire and pleasure that your body is capable of experiencing, let your past go and follow your bliss just for the health of it" will help sweep away worrying and lamenting thoughts, like sweeping the fallen autumn leaves off the front porch.
    As the colder weather approaches, snuggling up beside the fire in your wool socks seems like a good choice. Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman feels that "the positive feelings we derive from being connected to others provide the ability to increase our overall level of happiness". Research has indicated that everyone needs close relationships in order to thrive and be well. People with strong social connections have less health-related issues and a faster recovery period. Call a friend, go for a walk in the crisp air, stop for a hot tea and track how your energy level and ability to concentrate will improve.

I would love to hear what strategies work best for keeping your mind, spirit and body fit and well during the fall months. Feel free to email me here or by using the contact form.

In health and wellness,