It is that time of the year when the days get shorter and the nights become longer. This year, September 22, 2017 marks the Fall Equinox; the time in the Northern Hemisphere when summer comes to an end and autumn begins. The word Equinox is derived from the Latin word “equal night”, where the night and day are roughly 12 hours each. The Fall Equinox marks a new beginning, an opportunity to start fresh.
Summer is notorious for increased consumption of sugary foods and drinks, a lack of quality sleep and a disappearance of our daily and weekly routines. Although we blame summer for this disruption in our life, we must recognize the need to re-establish structure and routine.
How can we re-create our routine while reducing the stress and anxiety that accompany change?
Start slow and gradual.
Slow and steady wins the race. As with any change in life, it takes time to adapt. Recognize and accept that re-creating routine may take a few weeks until you feel adjusted. Deliberately taking the time to slow down in the mornings can reduce your daily stress. It will prevent you from worrying about what may happen that day. It is not too early to ease your way into routine. The sooner you start, the smoother the transition into September will be.
Support your body with an Adaptogen.
Herbal medicine is one of the powerful modalities that naturopathic medicine has to offer. It provides Naturopathic Doctors with the opportunity to create an herbal formula that is personalized to an individual’s current state. Adaptogens are herbs that support the body in its ability to adapt to stress. When we introduce change in our life, we often introduce anxiety and stress as well. Withania somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha, is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine that acts primarily as an adaptogen to help mitigate the harmful effects of stress. In conjunction with lifestyle modifications, Ashwagandha can ease the stress by lowering cortisol in those who feel overexcited, nervous and have troubles with sleep.
Note: Ashwagandha is generally considered a safe herb; however please consult your Naturopathic Doctor prior to initiating if you have any health concerns.
Get the proper sleep that you need.
Optimal sleep is one of the foundations of health. It allows our brain to recharge and our bodies to rest. We often sacrifice sleep during the summer months as a result of soaking up the long summer days. Why do we create structured bedtime routines for children? As with adults, it fosters healthy sleeping patterns to ensure one gets the sleep one needs to function optimally. Humans are naturally designed to repeat daily patterns. Creating patterns at the beginning and end of our day help us to feel better and reduce stress in our lives.
Track your habits to understand yourself better. When you know where your life needs more structure, implement it. Give yourself credit for welcoming the new season and start your September with ease, energy and a clear mind.