Fall Wellness Tips for You and Your Employees

Autumn is here. Some people are feeling disappointed because they had hoped summer would hold on just a little while longer. Others are reveling in the cooler weather and the crispness that hangs in the air. Many of us are embracing the beauty of the season with its changing leaves as we prepare to indulge in apple cider, hot chocolate, and bowls of chicken noodle soup. It is a perfect time to find joy in the small pleasures that this season brings. It is also important to remember to use the change of seasons as a time to focus on well-being ─ our own, our families’, our communities’, and our workplaces’. The ALA-APA Wellness site states that, “Wellness is an active and lifelong process, involving positive decision-making and finding balance between many priorities. It is tied to awareness and to making choices that lead to being happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.” This statement indicates that well-being is a decision. This implies that we must be intentional in our continual efforts to achieve wellness. Listed below are ways to help us focus on staying healthy during this fall season. Being purposeful as we attempt many of the activities listed is a way to make positive choices that could result in improved overall well-being.

1. Prioritize Self-Care: Fall can be a hectic time with work and personal commitments. Prioritize self-care and make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, journaling, dancing, painting, singing, or practicing yoga, self-care is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Keep in mind that the shorter days and cooler temperatures of autumn can sometimes lead to feelings of sadness or loneliness. If you find yourself feeling down, reach out to friends or family members, join a support group, or talk to a therapist.

Read: How to Prioritize Self-Care and Your Mental Health

Coping with Stress: Make Time to Unwind

2. Focus on Social Wellness

In addition to focusing on stress-relief activities for yourself, it’s important to focus on your social wellness and stay connected to your community of loved ones. This can help you battle symptoms of seasonal depression and overall improve your mood. There are lots of ways you can improve your social well-being. Here are a few ideas:

  • Reflect on your own needs. The path to improving your wellness in any aspect is to determine what would improve your life. Starting by setting goals can improve your emotional health.
  • Reach out to friends and family members, even if you don’t see them often. Staying in touch can help you feel more connected and supported.
  • Join a social or hobby group. This can help you meet new people and form new friendships.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to your community can help you feel good about yourself and connected to others.
  • Make time for social activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s going out to eat, seeing a movie, or taking a walk, spending time with others can be enjoyable and good for your health!

Read: Connect with Others

3. Stay hydrated. Although the weather may be cooler, it’s still important to stay hydrated. Believe it or not, feeling chilly can dehydrate you much like sweating on a hot day can. Track your water intake to be sure you get enough. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure your body functions optimally. Proper hydration helps with digestion, energy levels, and overall well-being.

Read: Water and Healthier Drinks

4. Eat healthy seasonal foods: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher and tastier, but they’re also more nutrient-dense than out-of-season produce. Fall is the perfect time to indulge in the delicious flavors of the season. Incorporate immune-boosting autumn fruits and veggies like apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and dark leafy greens into your diet. Doing so can boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work to keep your immune system strong.

Read: Learn How to Eat Healthy

5. Move more, sit less, go outside: As the temperatures cool down, it’s important to continue staying active outdoors. Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health, fitness, and quality of life. It also helps reduce your risk of chronic conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, and dementia. Also consider that as the days become shorter, natural light can lead to a lack of vitamin D. Exposing the skin to sunlight is the way our bodies naturally produce vitamin D. Try to get outside in the sunlight for 15 minutes a day to get your fill of this important vitamin. Take advantage of the pleasant weather by going for walks, hikes, or bike rides. Schedule a quick walk at lunchtime to get fresh air and a bit of exercise. Remember to wear sunscreen and be careful about exposing the skin to UV rays. Being in nature while moving will not only improve your physical health but also uplift your mood.

Read: Physical Activity Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases and Health Benefits of Getting Outside

6. Get Enough Sleep

With the change in season, your body may start to feel tired earlier in the evening. Make sure to get enough sleep by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury—it is something people need for good health.

Read: Tips for Better Sleep and How Sleep Affects Your Health

7. Practice Gratitude: Fall is a season of gratitude and reflection. Gratitude may be the best-kept secret to help you reduce stress and feel better. Practicing gratitude every day can improve your physical and emotional well-being. Practice gratitude by sharing what they are thankful for during team meetings or through a gratitude journal. Cultivating gratitude can improve mental well-being and foster a positive work environment.

Read: Gratitude Works and Health Benefits of Gratitude

8. Be vigilant about handwashing. Cold and flu viruses run rampant in the fall. Regular handwashing and use of sanitizers (especially when you work with the public) can be your first line of defense. Keeping your hands clean helps prevent the spread of germs and reduces the risk of infections. This isn’t just a fall tip but one that we should practice year-round.

Read: When and how to wash hands

9. Get flu and other necessary shots (as recommended by your physician): As flu season approaches, it’s paramount to prioritize getting vaccinated. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Not only does this protect you, but it contributes to community immunity. Because the flu virus evolves each year, it’s important to receive the vaccine every year as it is modified to keep up with the changes of the virus.

Read: Healthy Habits to Help Protect Against Flu and Flu Shots Can Protect You and Your Community

Bonus Suggestions for Employers

Encourage Mental Health Support: Fall can sometimes bring feelings of sadness or anxiety for some individuals. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can also affect many employees as the days grow shorter. Promote mental health support by providing resources or organizing workshops on stress management or mindfulness. Let your employees know that seeking help is a sign of strength and that you’re there to support them.

Organize Well-Being Days: A fantastic way to acknowledge and appreciate employees is by organizing a Well-Being Day. This unique day allows employers to invest in their employees’ well-being, promoting their physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s a meaningful way to demonstrate that employers value their workforce and care about their overall wellness. Unlike regular vacation days, Well-Being Days are a day of rest for employees, specifically created to improve the overall health of the workforce. Well-Being Days serve as a reminder to employees of your appreciation for their hard work and commitment. The goal is to allow employees to take this time to reduce stress, engage in healthy activities, and wholeheartedly focus on their well-being. It may take some coordination since it can be difficult to close the library for a full day. But with planning, it can be done.