Beat back-to-work blues with healthy habits
For summer lovers, the transition to fall can be challenging. As leaves change colours and the sun sets earlier and earlier, some people may even start to feel blue. Every year I struggle with getting back into a routine after the summer, but I have learned a few tricks over the years that stave off the end-of-summer sadness I used to feel.
I have identified four healthy habits that have the biggest impact on a smooth transition back into the busy-ness of fall.
1. Focus on good sleep hygiene.
Proper sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being. Studies have found that chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Adequate sleep is also essential for maintaining healthy skin. Restorative functions, such as tissue repair, occur when we sleep. We really do need our beauty sleep to feel and look our best.
What’s good sleep hygiene? Keeping a regular sleep schedule (yes, even on weekends) helps stabilize your circadian rhythm or internal body clock. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Don’t bring your smartphone to bed with you. Electronic devices emit blue light, which makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. That text or email can wait until the morning. Do what it takes to protect your sleep, whether that means investing in some good blinds or a comfy duvet.
2. Get regular exercise.
You don’t need to become a gym rat to benefit from exercise. Going for a brisk walk or dancing to your favourite tunes will boost your mood, help you sleep better (providing you don’t exercise too close to your bedtime), and combat health conditions and diseases. Regular exercise can also help you control weight, which is beneficial for the health of your skin. If yoga is not our thing but you love to swim, stick with the swimming. You will only reap the benefits of exercise if you do it consistently. The fall is a great time to commit to a class or a run club so it becomes a part of your schedule. The stress-busting benefits of exercise will make tweaking your schedule worth it.
3. Shake up your skincare regimen.
We all have our favourite products, but our skincare needs change with the seasons. You may need to switch up your moisturizer when the indoor heat comes on in fall. You may also want to invest in some products that can help repair sun damage from your fun in the sun. I am a fan of ProDerm’s Regenerating cream. This daytime moisturizer hydrates, regenerates, soothes and protects against damaging environmental agents. Packed with physician-grade ingredients, it improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles and loss of firmness. During your next appointment, we can discuss how we can amp up your skincare regimen.
4. Manage stress by taking time to play.
Stress affects skin by causing inflammation, and inflammation will make your body more reactive. If you’re prone to eczema or acne, you may find you have a breakout when you’re stressed out. Although it is unlikely that a lion will chase any of us, our body will go into the same flight-or-fight response if we have an encounter with a difficult co-worker or almost get sideswiped by an inattentive driver. In stressful situations, our adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol so we can focus on fighting and fleeing. Our heart rate and hormone levels go back to normal once the perceived threat is gone. When we’re constantly experiencing stress due to an ailing parent or a difficult co-worker, for instance, our stress-response systems don’t turn off, which can cause skin issues and more serious health problems.
So, what’s a gal or guy to do? We all go through extremely stressful periods in our lives. It is vital to manage stress so we stay healthy. For many people, “playing” does the trick. That could mean knitting, strumming a guitar or gardening. “Playing” is whatever takes you out of your head and allows you to become completely immersed in the moment in a positive way. It may feel selfish to take that time for yourself, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t really be there for anyone else.
I hope you find the beauty in fall! As always, I am here to help and to answer any of your questions about skincare and treatments.