How to use this change in season to build healthier habits

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Back to school means more than sporting the latest backpack style, new school supplies, or the grind of making daily lunches … it means a glorious return to routine! Even if you are someone who thrives on adventure and spontaneity, creating a routine can help you establish healthier habits so you can reach your wellness goals. 

Creating a back to school routine is not just for the kids! It’s your opportunity to prioritize your health and create a wellness routine that will sustain you through the fall and give you a jump on those New Year’s resolutions. However, after summer’s leisurely pace, the idea of structure and the load of increased responsibilities can feel overwhelming. So where should you start? 

Prioritize sleep

There are only 24 hours in the day and the competing priorities of work, school, family, sports, and social obligations can leave you wondering how you can make time for everything. (Spoiler alert: you can’t). Most people sacrifice sleep as a way to make room for one more “to-do” in an already jam-packed schedule, but sleep is the most critical component of the wellness equation. 

Getting enough sleep – both quantity and quality – improves your immune function, metabolism, cognitive abilities and more. But for most high-achieving and motivated people, sleep is the first thing that gets cut. Try scheduling your sleep like you would any other high-priority appointment and turn off electronic notifications an hour before bed so you have time to mentally unwind. Creating a tranquil evening routine that promotes restfulness, painting your bedroom a soothing color, or meditating before bed are also helpful strategies that promote better sleep. 

Soak up the sun

Despite the shorter days that fall ushers in, it’s still important to get plenty of sunshine, nature’s vitamin D. Exposing your skin to the sun for as little as 15-20 minutes a day can help your body produce vitamin D, which keeps your bones strong and your immune system functioning properly. Sun exposure also helps reduce stress, improve sleep, and lower depression. With the kids back in school, consider sneaking out for a lunch-time walk or take that important conference call outside to reap the many benefits of sunshine. 

Make a movement plan

Movement is medicine but it can be hard to find time for regular exercise during the busy summer months, especially when child-care is an issue. As the kids head back to school, make your movement a priority and create a plan that works for you. That might mean working out early in the morning, before work and family demands creep into your day, or taking a class on your lunch break. Ohana Yoga + Barre offers an impressive library of live-streaming and on-demand yoga and barre classes that you can easily fit into your schedule. If you are local to Denver, Ohana also offers a full schedule of in-studio classes, many of which have a child care option. Still, the best form of exercise is the one you enjoy so find something you love doing and schedule it into your day. 

Eat well, feel well

It’s easy to slip into less than stellar eating habits over the summer between vacations, festivals, backyard BBQs, trips to your favorite ice cream shop, and the constant snacking that seems inevitable when the kids are home. Don’t beat yourself up about it though – summer (and life) is meant to be enjoyed. However, now is the perfect time to clear out the junk and stock your fridge and pantry with healthier options. Small changes like drinking more water, adding an organic green shake, reducing or eliminating processed foods, and eating more nutrient-dense whole foods is a great start and can have a huge impact on your overall wellness. 

It can be tough to say goodbye to summer and her longer, lazier days but fall offers a unique opportunity to shift your attention back to your physical well-being and build a healthy routine that will sustain you throughout the year. 

Erin Entlich is a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, holistic health coach, and writer. She believes doing good starts with feeling good, which is why she loves helping people weave movement, mindfulness, and healthy eating into their daily lives. Find out more at www.erinentlich.com.