For many of us who live in the Midwest, this time of year can be challenging. The colors are becoming vibrant and the nights are often cooler—which is why some of us feel a bit less energetic. How so?
In a nutshell, when daytime temperatures run in the 70’s or 80’s and dip suddenly to the 40’s or 50’s at night, it creates stress on the body. Days of needing to run the air conditioner intermingled with those when we feel the need to flip on the heat may contribute to restless sleep, lack of energy, allergy/cold symptoms, and even feeling a bit “down” with no specific reason. It’s a rollercoaster ride that goes on for weeks.
We often associate stress with those situations that involve people, work, life, loss–yet may not associate it with weather conditions. The shifts we go through in spring and fall take a physical toll on us, and show up in various ways.
When I worked in the pharmacy, the number of prescriptions for ulcer and anti-anxiety medications increased in spring and fall. Interesting.
If you are dealing with some other tough issues, this weather shift may be enough to push you over the edge. It also tends to be more difficult on women, probably due to the never-ending hormonal balancing act, possible low thyroid function, and the idea that we need to save the world. (Of course, if these troubles persist, check in with your physician.)
What to do?
- Keep in mind that this too shall pass, when things stabilize a bit. When we consistently have cooler days and nights and less widespread temperature shifts, we will feel better. Allergies usually improve after the first frost. Not that I’m advocating the arrival of winter, I’m simply playing messenger here.
- If you can put less pressure on yourself in another area of your life, do so. For example, I really don’t recall accomplishing much last Tuesday. I sort of drifted through the day and was okay with that—which is not typical. It’s the weather. Really. I’m not making this up.
- Include some cold water fish in your diet. This increases your Omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in the body, and in turn boosts your immune system. Canned tuna, sardines, cod, salmon, halibut, and whitefish are some that qualify. Always choose wild caught fish. These also provide another source of iodine, which is beneficial to your thyroid health!
- Make a plan to allow for extra sleep.
- Move around. My dog has gotten used to our daily walks to the park. She is spoiled. If your typical exercise routine feels like more than you can handle, do something less taxing until you get over the hump.
- Do something nice for yourself and someone else. It will perk up your mood and improve your frame of mind. I think I had a bowl of ice cream AND gave one to my husband. Yep, that worked for me!
Now, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, relax. I’ve been making lots of vegetables and sharing them too, which also helps everything. Try it!
RECIPE IDEA: Roast a variety of vegetables by cutting them in similar size pieces, tossing with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, (I like salt and pepper), and roasting in a 350 degree oven until they are done to your liking. EASY AND DELICIOUS!
“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” –Unknown