Fall Is Coming: How to Prepare Your Body for the Autumn Season

From the colorful landscapes and sweater weather to jack-o-lanterns and apple orchards, there’s so much to enjoy during the mild autumn months. To make sure you can take part in all your favorite fall activities, here are some tips that will help you stay healthy all season long.

1. Get your flu shot.

According to the CDC, September and October are the best months for most adults to get vaccinated against the flu. As the weather starts to get cooler, the chances of getting the flu virus increase, so it’s a good idea to get vaccinated in early fall. If you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy, a flu vaccine can also help protect your infant from the virus during the first few months of life, when they’re too young to be vaccinated themselves. 

2. Enjoy seasonal fruits and veggies.

Go beyond pumpkin spice lattes and apple pies to create a tasty fall menu for you and your family! Foods rich in beta-carotene — such as carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash, and pumpkins — are all in season and can give your immune system a boost to fight off the common cold. Further supplement your diet with foods high in vitamin C (like citrus fruits, broccoli, berries, and peppers) and vitamin D (like eggs and salmon) to keep your body in top shape.  

3. Plan fun ways to move more.

Exercising regularly is a great way to improve your mood, increase your energy, and tone your muscles. As the weather changes, countless Americans experience seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Staying active can help ease symptoms of SAD, such as fatigue, depression, and difficulty sleeping. 

The key to sticking with a regular exercise routine is to find activities you enjoy. If you don’t like running, for instance, try taking a brisk walk with a friend or going on a bike ride to admire the fall colors. If you’re unable to exercise for any reason, healthcare professionals recommend trying to get outside for 15-20 minutes a day to help you get some of that much-needed vitamin D.

4. Treat yourself in moderation.

Halloween candy, sugary pies, and high-calorie Thanksgiving day staples can make it all too easy for women to pack on a few pounds during the autumn months. However, this doesn’t mean you have to completely deprive yourself of these tempting treats to maintain your figure! Instead, dieticians emphasize the importance of balancing your food intake with healthy nutrients and occasional indulgences. A few pieces of candy or a slice of pie here and there won’t hurt; just don’t overdo it. You’ll feel more satisfied than if you force yourself to swear off sweets altogether.

5. Take your vacation days.

With the year drawing to a close, now is a great time to take advantage of any unused vacation days. Don’t feel guilty about using this time to unplug, relax, and spend valuable time with your loved ones. Taking a break from work will help you destress and refocus on prioritizing your mental health, whether you choose to hang out at home or go on a mini road trip with friends.

6. Adjust your skincare routine.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains that cooler weather and low humidity can cause your skin to become dry, itchy, and irritated. The cleanser and moisturizer that worked well for you in the summer might not do the trick in the autumn months. 

To prevent and treat dry skin, dermatologists suggest:

  • Using warm water as opposed to hot water in the shower.
  • Washing with gentle, fragrance- and alcohol-free cleanser.
  • Applying moisturizer right after gently blotting your skin dry.
  • Avoiding products with alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), retinoids, and alcohol.
  • Wearing layers to protect damaged skin from cold weather.

7. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

When the sun starts setting earlier, it can be tempting to hunker down into bed before your usual bedtime. Try to resist this by sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Whether it’s a weekend or a workday, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time and get at least 7 hours of sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you can put yourself at a higher risk of catching a cold, and you’ll find that your mental health may diminish as well. Get a good night’s sleep to make sure you’re ready to tackle the day tomorrow!