How to Optimize your Health: During Every Season

Using the seasons to make the most out of your health is a powerful tool I call “Wellness Seasonality.” Essentially, this helps you embrace the variations that occur with every season. By doing so, not only can your body acclimate to external environment change, but also becomes the most aligned and optimized from the foods you eat down to the sleeping patterns you have. 

Understanding this is everything when it comes to developing a deep insight about yourself, why certain things are the way they are and maximizing your health on a holistic level! Just like life, we ebb and flow with the seasons or cycles – weekly, monthly and quarterly! It’s time we give your body what it needs and embracing “wellness seasonality” will help you with just that!

Here’s how to get started  👇🏻 

1 |  Eat in rhythm with the season – your health will thank you

To no surprise, our bodies need certain foods (and nutrients) during specific, set times of the year. During the colder, winter months we naturally gravitate to warm, calorie rich foods like chilis, stews and soups and during the warm summer months, we lean into water rich foods that help hydrate. 

Eating food that is grown within their natural season offers you with more nutritionally rich foods. This directly translates to your health and what you need at specific times of the year.

So what’s in season? Well this all depends on where you live in the world, what season it is by you and other factors including accessibility.  

For a general fall / winter season, some in-season produce includes: apples, arugula, basil, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cilantro, citrus varieties, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, parsley, peppers, radishes, rosemary, sage, spinach, sprouts, thyme, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips and winter squash.

For more options of what’s in season by you, check out: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/!

Start with introducing just one new food per week to try out! What food will you try?

2 | Variation plays with our taste buds (and bank accounts) – positively 

Eating healthy does not have to equal boring, tasteless or the same ole’ foods you’ve eaten over and over, again. Instead, by eating with the cyclic seasons, you embrace new tastes and a punch of flavor!

I’ve been asked by clients and members within our Simply Wellness community before, “how can I eat healthy but not lose the taste and also eat something ‘different’ that our usuals?” Eating in season is your answer!

What I’ve done personally for my clients is created a “Harvest Calendar.” At a snapshot, you can look at the calendar and see what’s in season by you. Then you can make seasonal swaps in an instance to provide a variety without loss of flavors.

👉🏻Simple how-to create your own: write the titles for each month as the header. Underneath, have subcategories: veggies, fruits and herbs/spices. Then fill in the calendar as each month passes with your seasonal items. Then take these items and start building meals and snacks with them or make swaps within your already favorite dishes!

This approach helps narrow down your choices when grocery shopping, but also allows you to reignite your excitement to try new recipes based on what’s in season and therefore will pack a load of flavor at the same time! Take a trip to your local farmers market or look for these seasonal items in your grocery store. Pus there’s a bonus – because it tends to travel less and is seasonal, it tends to be available at a lower cost, which is nice for your bank account!

Yes or No: Have you ever gotten stuck not eating healthier because you were afraid it wouldn’t taste good?

3 | Go guiltless for the holiday season

As great as the holidays can be, they can be just as harsh on your mental health. Between the “out of the norm” routines, sometimes not-so-fun encounters and holidays food binges that can bring on cycles of guilt, shame and “I’ll start over again in the new year,” the holidays can be intimidating to think about. BUT it doesn’t have to be this way.

Instead of approaching your holiday foods with an extreme “all or nothing or good vs bad” mentality, use this 3 steps approach:

  • Embrace the idea that food plays a larger role than nutrition or health alone. It is a part of family traditions, sharing and showing love, a form socializing and making memories. Food has many roles.
  • Experience the holiday seasonal food.  Acknowledge the foods you look forward to and actually enjoy them. Rather than “woofing” them down while you think about seconds, experience that food by turning on your senses – sight, feel, smell, taste and textures.
  • If you’re going to “give up” anything, give up guilt. Whenever you find yourself labeling food (or yourself) “bad or good,” it can lead to cycles or binges and restrictions. Instead, reframe it and say, “I give myself permission to enjoy (insert food or drink). If I’d like more, it’s okay.”

Turn your holiday binges and new year restarts to balanced healthy living, no matter the season by enjoying all the things – without guilt. Just like my clients, you will be going into this season free of guilt and without worry of “undoing” any of the great efforts you’ve already done.

What food, drink, or tradition will you be looking forward to in this holiday season?

4 | Sleep with the rise and fall of the seasonal sun

Have you ever wondered why you want to sleep more in the winter and less in the summer? Other than the cozy beds and comforting blankets 😜,  the simple answer is: your circadian rhythm! 

Melatonin, a natural hormone we produce in our brain and the prime regulator of this natural sleep-wake cycle, changes with the seasonal length of days and nights. And as you can imagine, as we approach winter with longer “nights,” the amount of melatonin we produce can be higher. This helps our body become regulated with the natural season, knowing when it’s time to sleep versus when it’s time to wake up.

So before you get frustrated with yourself wondering why you are having difficulties getting up at the same time you were in the summer to *workout, read a book, have quiet time, etc.* give yourself grace in understanding that your body is naturally flowing with the season, wanting to wake up with the rise of the sun.

Okay, okay I know what you’re thinking, “but Sammy – I’ve got to get up for work at the same time. I don’t have that leisure to get up when the sun is naturally rising.”

So here’s your melatonin hack 👉🏻 if you want to get up sooner and feel refreshed, turn on as much light as possible. Open your curtains if there is natural light available. Turn on any lights. Light exposure will help to reduce the melatonin, stimulating your body to wake.

Are you a natural early riser or an evening owl?

5 | Biohack the internal seasons within your body

Not only are our bodies affected by the season, but they are also influenced week to week from our monthly cycles. As a woman, this is especially important to be aware your body has these internal seasons affect everything from productivity and focus to the nutrients your body needs to what type of workouts you most benefit from and when this will all occur.

By taking cues from our bodies, we can predict patterns including the way we think, feel and do activities and when they actually work best. This helps gain massive insight to the signs your body has been giving you the whole time – what needs attention and what needs adjusting so you can feel your absolute best – each week – by working with your body and not against it.

How to start biohacking

  • First understand where in your cycle you are. There are four main phases within a woman’s cycle. 
  • Then for each week, take note of 4 categories:  1) where your focus is (i.e. focused and energized, social, detail oriented or reflective and internal), 2) what foods you are inclined to reach for, 3) what activities or exercises are you gravitating towards and 4) how you feeling (i.e. energized, tired, constipated, bloated and crampy, etc.).
  • Start writing this down weekly and see what insight you gain about yourself. This can be a part of your weekly reflection and planning.  What you do from there is where you can start biohacking what works!

I love to cycle sync my clients so they reap immediate benefits including having regulated periods without all the classic symptoms and actually feeling energized throughout while they gain an even deeper understanding of biohacking their wellness, making it work for them!

Did you know that cycle syncing your body was possible?

6 | Work Daily to Wash Winter Blues Away

With longer nights and less light the colder seasons can bring, you may notice a change in mood, more prone to overeating and feeling less energy. 

Harvard Health and other research suggests some of this can be attributed to change in hormones, one of which includes serotonin – our feel good hormone. So work daily to intentionally promote feel good mood, desire the seasonal change in the darker months.

Here are some ways to get going:

  • Get moving first thing – if there is light outside and you have an opportunity to kickstart your day with a morning walk or take a working meeting outside or on a break, do it. Exposure to light plus the movement both can help promote mood boosters.
  • Try a light box with a minimum power rating of at least 10,000 lux and for 30 minutes a day, ideally in the morning. Note: consult a physician first, before using to ensure it’s appropriate for you. 
  • Consume foods that may support mood boosting like salmon, eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds.
  • Get your Vitamin D tested to help ensure adequate levels which may have a role not only in your mood but can have other health benefits including your immune and bone support.
  • Support. Stay social with your family, friends and if you need, consult a therapist who can offer that exact support.

What’s one thing that boosts your mood up? For me, music is my immediate mood booster that is a daily must have!

7 | Weather the season with water

Did you know that in the winter you can be just as prone to dehydration as the summer? 

In the colder seasons, you can experience change in the taste buds due to the colder temperatures. How this manifests for you? Foods taste perception can decrease, realizing you’re thirsty goes down and most forget to keep up on their water when it gets colder!

So instead, reach for water before you get parched and stay hydrated! Here are some quick go-tos you can use:

  • Watch your urine color. Pale to light is our goal for hydration.
  • Pay attention to your skin and “tenting” of the skin you can quickly check right on your back of your hand.
  • Drink warm liquids like hot teas or room temperature water (flavored optional) and have a goal daily to keep you on track.

What’s your favorite go-tos for staying hydrated?

8 | Seasonal workouts, you betcha!

Making your workouts seasonal is a great way to not only add variability for excitement but also can be a nice switch up when it comes to boosting your metabolism. Doing the same workout, over time without strategic changes like progressive overloads or challenging yourself in general can lead to metabolic adaptation. So why not use the seasons to switch things up not only mentally, but physically for your body as well!

Like the winter sports? Take your exercise outdoors with skiing, snowboarding, sledding or trekking through the snow.

Hate the cooler weather but love the look? Transition your workouts indoors at the comfort of your house and utilize workouts like HIIT training to increase steps without weathering the weather *hehe* outside.

Want to keep it simple? Kickstart your day with a quick brisk walk around the block and plan activities for the fall / winter season that includes movement like apple picking, pumpkin patching, building a snowman. Sometimes the smallest yet fun activities can challenge you.

What’s an activity you can commit to this season?

9 | Create Sustainability through the Seasons

If you had to commit to anything this holiday season, commit to what you can actually continue to do throughout the whole season into the New Year. This helps build that trusting relationship with yourself that what you say you’ll do – you’ll actually do and continue sustainable healthy lifestyle practices into the New Year!

This holds true for any and all of your health and wellness related goals or focuses such as steps per day, journaling practices, the foods you want to eat more each day, etc.

So next time you make a goal, if it’s not a “hell yes” I can absolutely rock this, then it’s a hard no and readjust it until you can’t help but say “YES I can do it!”

What’s a “hell yes goal” you can commit to throughout the holiday season?

10 | Slower season with the holidays

To all my go-getters, hard workers, can’t stop won’t stop entrepreneurs, hustle and grinders – this one’s for you. From a fellow recovering perfectionist to another, take the season as a time to embrace slowness. 

This factor alone has been a very difficult one for me to embrace after literally YEARS of working non-stop on what was likely an adrenaline rush roller coaster followed by a heaping scoop of passion + love for what I do that kept me going. But just like seasons and life, we ebb and flow with it and we need to honor that.

If you haven’t had a slow season in a while, this is your permission to slow down in whatever capacity that looks like for you. Take time to be more present, reach out to people you’ve been meaning to, grab a cup of coffee or tea with a friend, take a day off media or take off in general – whatever it is – here is your permission slip to embrace this season with slowness,

🔥If you could write yourself a permission slip, write it now and fill in the blank: “I give myself permission to ________.” Share yours below in the comments AND for bonus points, share your stories written on a piece of paper and tag me with your permission slip! 🏷

I’ll start: I give myself permission to take days off to be with the ones I love and create memories that will last a lifetime.If you enjoyed this article, make sure to connect with me on Instagram and join our wellness membership and community where we release exclusive monthly easy-to-use recipes, quick-to-use tips, resources and tricks to optimize your health and live your best healthy (and most successful) life!

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