Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell! The leaves are starting to turn, the winds are carrying a chill and the calendar shows that we're getting really close to an actual change of seasons. And while you'll want to focus on upping your chunky sweater collection and refining your hot coffee order, you'll also want to educate yourself on the ways that the autumnal equinox can affect your health, because the last night you want is to welcome the crisp season with a wet cold, or worse, a mood imbalance.
You know that feeling, when the temperatures start to drop and the skies start to gray, and you can't help but feel a slight pit forming in your stomach. It's anticipating the end of warm and the barren intensity that comes with the depth of winter, not too far ahead. Your body starts to prepare for the cold, short days with a hunger for comfort. And if you don't adjust your life properly the seasonal transition can be hard on you. Yes, the fall can bring much more than a stuffy nose.
But fret not — as long as you ready yourself physically and mentally for the equinox, you should be able to weather it with ease. Here are ways that you can expect your health to change with the season.
Immune System Repression
In cold weather, our bodies are more susceptible to illness. So when fall arrives with all its chill, our immune systems are repressed and we're more likely to get colds and other bacterial or viral bugs going around. Dressing warm and making sure to wash your hands throughout the day is a good habit to keep in the fall.
Energy Level Decrease
With less sun comes less vitamin D, and with more clouds, the combination of physical and psychological triggers might leave you feeling much more tired than you were in the summer. Suddenly plans after work seem like a hassle and weekends become more about sleep than parties.
Sleep Schedule Changes
It's totally natural for us to sleep more during the colder months, but you might start to realize you're sleeping in much later than usual right at the start of fall. We actually need light to regulate our sleep cycles, so you might need to consider exercising in the morning if you're having trouble shaking the groggy feeling in the gray fall mornings.
Winter blues can start in the fall. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you know that starts to rear its heavy head come fall. But even if you don't have SAD, the lack of sleep mixed with the less-than-rosy weather might make it hard for you to lift your mood. Try to make sure you're eating a balanced diet, get some exercise in, and consider taking up a hobby to give you something new to look forward to.
The sun can keep skin clear and full of color, but once we start spending less time outside, our skin will likely go through an adjustment period. It's still important to wear sunscreen and moisturize in the fall, but if your go-to summer face wash just isn't cutting it, you'll want to switch cleansers for the fall to keep your skin in check.
Change In Appetite
With the change of season comes a change in appetite for many. You might find yourself feeling hungrier than usual or craving things like bread and sweets. That could be your body's response to stress, so make sure you're checking in with yourself mentally. You might need to add meditation to your fall schedule.
Increased Sex Drive
Testosterone increases in both men and women in the fall. And for both sexes it can increase libido. So you might find that you're thinking about sex more, and that's totally natural.
Headaches & Migraines
The drop in temperature mixed with the change in barometric pressure can trigger headaches and migraines, so if you feel like you've been reaching for the ibuprofen more than usual, you're not imagining it.
In the summer, it's easy to tell when you're dehydrated. When you feel hot and sweaty, you crave cold water. But in the fall, when the temperatures drop and it becomes windy and rainy, it's harder to tell. When you're cold you don't crave water in the same way. So you'll have to remind yourself to drink water regularly, as you can't rely on your body for indicators as much.
Changes in barometric pressure don't just cause headaches, it can also cause joint aches. If you have a lingering injury, there is a slightly higher chance of it flaring up during the change of seasons.
It's not all bad, though — the decrease in weather will actually great an increase in workplace productivity. Reports also show that employees are more empathetic towards each other and get more work done during the fall and winter. So if the summer left you feeling distracted and behind, the fall will be a great time for you to catch up and get ahead.