As summer starts to wind down there always is a sense of depression that comes with it. The days get a bit shorter and returning to school looms; it still strikes dread into me even though it’s been so long since I had to worry about getting all my school supplies in order!
Yellow #2 pencils still make me break out in a cold sweat and to this day the sight of a school bus leaves me on the sidewalk in the fetal position.
So with the fall and start of the school year being the second New Year in my mind, here’s how you can make the best of the end of summer.
1. Enhance Your Diet By Embracing The Fall Harvest
If you are a foodie then this time of year is like Christmas. When the fall harvest begins to kick in a real abundance of true local and organic food becomes available.
Many people look to January 1st and the New Year to start getting healthy or losing weight but to me the end of summer and the fall is when you really want to undertake it. This is the time of year when you get food in its purest and healthiest state and it will be right in your own backyard.
Apple picking becomes a bigger activity and things like corn and squash are available everywhere. These are great, real whole foods that should make up the cornerstone of your diet. Do yourself a favor and start looking for farmers markets in your area as the amount of fresh local produce is at an all time high for the year. At a farmers market you know you are getting local, organic and most important, seasonal food.
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So many of the foods we eat now are out of season as they are available year round, but getting foods when they are meant to be grown gets you a little more in tune with your environment and ultimately your health.
So get online and see what’s nearby you. The USDA has a Farmers Market Directory to search for them but you can even just do a Google search, and you might be surprised what’s close by! I pride myself on eating as natural and local as I can and I feel I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the local food scene where I live, but have recently searched online for other farmers markets in my area and found two within five minutes of my house! I had no idea they were even there, so get out there and meet the people that are actually growing this high quality food.
2. Make Use Of The Outdoors For Exercise
As a personal trainer I always tell clients to get out of the gym for the summer and make use of the outdoors, sunshine and warmer weather. I live in Canada and when we are buried up to our necks in snow half the year we crave those few months of summer. It’s what I dream of when I almost get hit by snow plows trying to dig my car out of ditch.
The one issue in summer is when it gets too hot and exercise outdoors is not the healthiest thing. Poor air quality from humidity, smog and blazing heat can actually do more harm then good. There is the potential for heat exhaustion, sun burn, sun stroke, and dehydration. When the weather starts to cool at the end of the summer and we go into the fall it becomes the ideal time to get outside to get healthy.
You still can get that healthy sun exposure and fresh air and the cool crispness of the weather has a motivating and energizing effect. So this is a great time for those longer runs, hikes, hill sprints, long bike rides, outdoor boot camps, yoga and even early morning walks.
Once again, get a jump on things earlier and embrace that crisp, healthy late summer/early fall weather.
3. Instead Of A Spring Cleaning, Do An End Of Summer Clean
This is where I will stress the point of looking at the fall/back to school time as the real New Year; and that means getting things organized and removing the clutter from your life.
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Don’t wait until after a harsh winter to start making things fresh, get a jump on it at the end of summer while the weather is still good and really organize the things around you. The more clutter and disorganization around the more it impacts other areas of your life.
This is a good time to keep tackling those projects around the house, the yard or anything you can do to get things organized around you. That way, when you get out of those winter months you are farther ahead in the game than you normally would be.
Wrapping It Up
I love summer and I know you do too, it’s the time of year when things get to move a little slower and it feels like we can finally take a deep breath and relax. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you need to lose motivation and feel let down!
Use the end of summer and the start of fall to make some improvements in your life, your health and your fitness and use that momentum to tackle the rest of the year and the winter head on.
But everyone needs to take it easy with all the pumpkin spice products and lattes…
Featured photo credit: amira_a via flickr.com