September is here. Can’t believe the summer is over already. Kids back in school. Last trip to the beach. Let’s review our fall health checklist and make sure we’re ready for autumn.
Change Clothes With The Seasons
You don’t have to pack away your t-shirts and shorts just yet, but make sure to pull out a few sweatshirts from the back drawer. We will start to get some cooler nights and mornings, and you don’t want to be caught catching a chill. It’s common for us to under dress during season transitions. Just tie the windbreaker around your waist during early morning or evening walks during September. By October you’re wardrobe will be all caught up, but right now you need to remember. A chill can lead to a nasty cold. You can avoid this quite easily with a lightweight jacket.
Get Your Flu Shot
We’ve had patients over the years swear that the flu shot was part of a great conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies. Others say, with some truth, that half the time they don’t even work. Last year our whole family got flu shots, and we still got the flu. But our flu lasted only three days, not two weeks. The last time I had a full blown flu is was painful unscrewing the toothpaste cap! If you’ve never had the flu or flu shot, don’t start now. But if you’re like most of us, and have had the flu in the past, we suggest you get one this September. It is a good preventative for our health.
Boost Your Defensive Qi
Chinese medicine recognizes a specific type of energy (qi) whose purpose is to protect us from viruses and infections (pathogens). It’s called Wei Qi (pronounced Way Chee). It’s kind of like your immune system, but a whole lot cooler. If your Wei Qi is strong, you won’t get sick. You can be in a room filled with cold virus and not get sick if your Wei Qi is strong. How do you boost this defensive qi? Get enough sleep, eat well, keep your stress levels manageable.
How can you reduce stress? Put aside the frustrations you have been harboring. They can wait until Spring. Mend a relationship. Start going to church again. Call your mother – or stop calling her for a while (depending on the situation). These stress-busting suggestions are not just helpful for a fall health checklist – they are good for all seasons. Imagine your Wei Qi resides on the surface of your body in full armor, ready to defend you against the enemy of colds and viruses. Keep your troops well nourished and happy.
Eat Warm, Cooked Foods
We counsel our patients all the time about eating properly. For example, your stomach needs warm, cooked foods in order to digest properly. Yet there is a current fad right now of drinking smoothies. It’s supposed to be healthy for you. Well, the ingredients are healthy, but the cold nature of the food, along with the raw fruits and vegetables, make it very difficult for your stomach to digest.
In fact, the cold nature of smoothies and other raw, cold foods actually damages your stomach and digestive system. This is especially important as we move into a colder season. So start eating stews and soups. Stop the ice water until next summer. Cold water from the tap is OK. Don’t take my word for it. Adjust your foods for two weeks and see if you can feel the difference. Then you will understand why this suggestion made it to the fall health checklist. And by the way, eating warm, cooked foods will keep your defensive qi happy (keep the troops happy).
Dust Off That Lightbox
If you struggle with seasonal affective disorder (lower mood when the days get shorter), try purchasing a light box from Amazon. It will run you about $45. The idea is to indirectly shine it on your face for 20 minutes a day. Your eyes will pick up the light rays and it will boost your mood. A better idea is to make sure to get outside every day during the fall and winter when it’s sunny. Good for Vitamin D too.
Let’s make this fall the best we’ve ever had. Take good care of your health. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Enjoy this quiet time before the holiday season arrives.
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Fall Health Checklist
Five easy steps to a healthier autumn. Try at least two of these fall health checklist ideas and see how you feel. Courtesy of Chinese medicine!