Autumn is when Mother Nature is at her fiery best — a magical time of brilliant colors, cool nights and pumpkin spice everything! But for some, the switch from the carefree summer months, to shorter days, long, dark nights, and crammed schedules trigger “change of season stress,” a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Stress in any form is harmful for the body and the mind. Elevated cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone, can weaken the immune system, causing cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease such as type 2 diabetes, weight gain and short-term memory loss. Adopting healthy habits can help ease stress and smooth the transition to the new season:

1.Choose the proper foods: Food is a form of medicine; it helps to bolster overall health as well as reduce the risk of disease. Choose wisely, avoiding sugary and processed foods. Fatty fish high in omega three oils like salmon, eggs, and pumpkin seeds are a good stress-busting choices.  Add a sprinkle of turmeric on your dishes to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

2. Drink, Drink, Drink! Being even slightly dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Aim for eight eight-ounce glasses of filtered water per day, increasing your intake if you are exercising strenuously .

3. Prioritize sleep: Stress causes the brain to be in a hyper-aroused state. Setting a regular sleep/waking routine calms and restores the body and regulates mood. Taking a warm shower, meditating and/or using essential oils are peaceful activities that can release stress and encourage restorative sleep. (Neurofeedback therapy is another helpful non-drug tool for those with chronic insomnia).

4. Exercise the mind: Activities that require thinking and problem-solving skills like puzzles can refocus the mind away from stressful thoughts.  Reading, painting/drawing, visiting a museum or taking in a concert are other healthy outlets to relieve stress.

5. Exercise the body: Regular exercise increases oxygen levels in the brain and throughout the body, which is necessary for healthy brain function, and stimulates production of endorphins, the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Go for a walk, a run, or bike ride; try tai-chi or yoga (try a free 30 minute one-on-one session with our yoga therapist Sarah Grecocall 315-404-0965 for info!).  Not only does exercise boost energy levels, it also helps enhance mood and reverse the effects of stress.

6. Soak in the rays – Step outside at lunchtime  and spend 10 minutes basking in the sun to improve mood and energy. While you’re at it, focus on your breathing. Rapid, shallow, erratic breathing is a common response to stress. Concentrate on taking slow, deep, breaths to relax your body.

7. Get a massage – enough said! (Experience the healing energy of massage by booking an appointment with our massage therapist –Alaina White, LMT!)

It is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of human illness is related to an overactivated sympathetic nervous system. If runaway stress is taking control of your life, give us a call. We have a wide range of natural modalities to help you regain control of your life!  631.265.1223.