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I love everything about fall… bright blue skies, the return to school and routine, crisp temperatures, apples, pumpkins, cinnamon spice candles, and the changing color of trees. I get so much joy from seeing the beautiful array of fall foliage. I actually feel more energetic during the fall. I tend to do more “fall cleaning” at home instead of “spring cleaning.” Sometimes, I even have enough energy to start some home renovation or painting projects.

fall

So in the spring while many are doing their spring cleaning, I tend to feel more stressed by the busy schedule with my children’s school and mounting yardwork. I need to remind myself that spring is not my season to tackle cleaning or extra projects, and not feel guilty about my lack of motivation.

Maybe you’re one who struggles with the shortened daylight hours and lack energy in the fall. There are many who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The degree to which people are affected can be minimal to severe. If you find that your normal functioning is impaired or you experience significant depression, you might consider seeking help from a doctor or mental health professional.

It’s important to know yourself and what season best suits you, in order to plan your projects and activities to match your energy level. So how do you know what your season is? There is actually a self-assessment you can take to determine your seasonality. But the main question to consider is: in which seasons do you tend to feel the best, or feel the worst? Do you have significant changes on your sleeping and eating patterns from season to season? Do you tend to be more social or energetic in certain seasons?

Knowing your season can help you adjust your activities and schedule accordingly when possible. For more ideas on how to find out how seasonal you are, check out this article by Norman Rosenthal.

No matter your season, you can follow these tips to help yourself during the less energetic times:

Eat healthy. Resist the urge to default to comfort foods, as the extra fat and sugar make us feel worse. Look for heart-healthy, low-calorie foods to help you feel your best.

Stay active. Try to find ways to enjoy the season, whatever it is. Exercise can boost your mood and your immune system.

Stay connected. Spending time with family and friends is critical to fighting isolation.

Seek help. A mental health professional can help you identify problem areas and develop a plan to work through them. Maybe you need to adjust your goals.

 

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Sources:

American Psychological Association. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved Sep 20, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/seasonal-affective-disorder.aspx.

Norman Rosenthal, N. How Seasonal Are You? Assessing and treating seasonality. Posted Dec 22, 2008 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-mind-your-body/200812/how-seasonal-are-you?collection=106209.

Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved Sep 20, 2017 from http://www.ubcmood.ca/sad/spaq-sad.pdf.

 

 

 

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Height, genes, metabolism, behavior and environment all work together to make up a person’s weight.  Changes that have taken place in our environment make it harder to make healthy choices.  These chances have lead to an increase in our overall weight.

As adults or children, our daily life does not involve a lot of physical activity.  Make the effort to schedule physical activity with your family. Food is everywhere.  It is too easy to buy food wherever you are.  In addition, portions are much larger than in the past.

ENERGY is another word for calories.  Whenever you eat or drink, ENERGY is coming IN.  Your body is also constantly working, so ENERGY is going OUT.  BALANCE is when the same amount of energy is going IN as is going OUT.

Weight Gain = more IN than OUT

Weight Loss = more OUT than IN

Your energy (calories) does not have to balance everyday, but it does need to balance over time.

Here are a few ideas from the “We Can!” program to help you get your energy IN and energy OUT in balance.

ENERGY IN

  • Choose food portions no larger than your fist.
  • Choose a checkout line without a candy display.
  • Eat a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast – it may make you less hungry later in the day.
  • Cut high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into small pieces and eat fewer pieces.

ENERGY OUT

  • Take the long way to the water cooler.
  • Buy a set of hand weights and play a round of Simon Says with your children—you do it with the weights, they do it without.
  • Choose “labor-spending” devices instead of “labor-saving” devices:  wash the car by hand instead of going through an automatic car wash.
  • Go on a family bike ride or hike.

Consuming an extra 150 calories a day can lead to a gain of 10 pounds in one year.  So, get out and move!

Source: http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

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