The days are shortening as each one passes, with less sunlight and usually more rain. We often experience an overall slump in energy during this time of the year. This drop in energy still seems to occur despite healthy eating habits, adequate hydration, and regular exercise. So, what gives?
Our moods can largely be affected by the decreased exposure to sunlight during the fall and winter months. Our brain will link our circadian rhythm (the internal clock) with the length of the day and exposure to sunlight, to keep track of the seasons. So, it’s not uncommon to feel less energetic as our bodies adjust to the new season.
Here are a few ways to combat sluggish energy this season:
1. Ensure Exposure to Sunlight:
Appropriate exposure to the sun and UV light can enhance mood and energy through the release of endorphins. Take advantage of the daylight hours and spend 15 minutes outside during the day. A brief and brisk walk will be energizing to get blood flowing and increase mental alertness.
2. Decrease Screen Time:
As the weather shifts, we tend to spend more time inside. Try to find ways to stay active despite being inside. Also, try to avoid too much screen time. Keep your computer screen at an arm’s length distance from your face to avoid easily tiring your eyes. Computer applications like f.lux software are great for warming up your computer screen contrast to match indoor lighting, which also decreases strain on the eyes that can precipitate fatigue.
3. Energize with Essential Oils:
Essential oils can be great at improving alertness and offer an immediate, yet gentle stimulation of senses. Lemon and lavender essential oils are great for reducing stress, while peppermint and grapefruit are energizing. Consider rubbing 2 drops directly on the wrists or temples, avoiding the eyes.
4. Consume Seasonal Fall Foods:
Focus on foods that are in season during the fall - think apples, pumpkin, squash, beets, and Brussel sprouts. Warming foods, and drinks, will also best serve your digestion this season.
Speaking of warming, yet energizing foods - head over the recipe tab and check out the recipe for a healthy Pumpkin Spice Steamer!
Dr. Sarah Silverman