New seasons offer new events, experiences, and holidays to celebrate, but they can also usher in new health issues, fall in particular. Each year, seasonal colds and influenza appear as the leaves begin to change, which is why it’s so important to focus on health and wellness for the entire family during this season.
“Many people focus on health at the beginning of the New Year,” shares Megan Burgess, Family Nurse Practitioner at McKenzie Rural Health Clinic in Sandusky. “I would encourage community members that fall is also a wonderful time to pay attention to your health. With the oncoming holidays, flu and cold season, and a time when cold weather can make people more sedentary, being proactive can make all the difference in how you’ll feel come New Year’s Eve!”
Following are four top tips for taking care of your health so you can enjoy every moment of this beautiful season:
- Schedule check-ups and flu shots. If you haven’t already seen your healthcare provider this year, there is no time like the present to make these important appointments. Annual doctor’s visits are essential for monitoring health, staying up to date on exams and vaccinations, discussing any concerns, and, of course, getting your annual flu shot to prevent or reduce the impact of influenza for you, your family, and your entire community.
- Stay active. As the temperatures drop, it can be tempting to huddle under a warm blanket on the couch, but it is important to maintain healthy exercise habits. Aim for at least 30 minutes of movement a day, which can be as simple as walking the dog or lifting weights while you watch your favorite TV show. And don’t forget to soak up as much fresh air as you can before the snow flies! Fall is the perfect time for hikes and bike rides.
- Choose healthy foods. What you select for meals and snacks plays into your overall health. Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains and healthy fats, give your body what it needs to stay strong and fight off infection. Plus, fall and winter brings an array of diverse types of produce that can become part of your meal plan.
- Make mental health a priority. Many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as the days get shorter and cooler, yet another reason to focus on your mental health and well-being. Staying active helps create feel-good endorphins and can help you find a community of others to connect with as well. Other options for supporting mental health include meditation, therapy, getting involved in community events, and regular get-togethers with friends and family. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
- Take time for gratitude. Gratitude reminds us of what and who we have, and it can support strong relationships, better health and well-being, and even improved sleep. Take a few moments each day to note three things you’re grateful for as a way to spark appreciation, connection, and wellness.
“Of course, the list doesn’t end there,” adds Burgess. “It’s always important to focus on getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, washing your hands regularly, and managing any current health needs or conditions.”
For more information about McKenzie Health System, including articles focused on Healthy Living, visit www.McKenzieHealth.org.