A person with a backpack walks along a road surrounded by tall trees in a forest. The ground is covered with fallen leaves, and the road stretches ahead, inviting exploration. The scene is bathed in soft sunlight filtering through the trees.

Live Fully

5 Pick-me-ups for that post-Summer slump

Whether you’re all about Autumn or mourning the end of fun-in-the-sun, these post-Summer tips will get you motivated for the best Fall yet. Who doesn’t love summer? Endless opportunities for outdoor exercise and ice-cold smoothie cravings have us in peak health, but as days get shorter and early morning runs require a few extra layers, some of us lose steam and are contented to cozy up with a Netflix binge and an extra helping of pumpkin spice latte. Not that we have anything against pumpkin spice, but you can do better! Here are five tips for defeating the post-Summer slump and gliding into Autumn in good health.

First, Focus on Brain Health

Whether it’s nostalgia for two-a-days or getting that new Trapper Keeper, there’s something about Autumn that makes us want to get organized and improve. Good health is about more than eating well and exercising, and Fall is a great time to capitalize on that back-to-school motivation and hone in on new ways to feel a little more mentally and emotionally stimulated. Consider taking a class, refreshing your reading list, working with a mentor, or joining a book club.

Start Your Meditation Practice

Summertime is chock full of activities, but as the days get shorter and you have a little more time indoors, consider adding meditation to your daily routine. A daily meditation practice actually changes how your brain and thereby body responds stress, which works wonders on depression and anxiety. Start with five minutes every morning. "A lot of my clients are athletes, so I equate it with going to the gym," explains Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, mindfulness researcher, and peak performance coach. "You're not going to get fit working out one day a week; it needs to be several times a week. We’re changing mental muscles in your brain, and it takes repetition and consistency for those changes to occur." For more from Dr. Ward and other meditation experts, start with this SELF article.

Eat with the Season

Beets! Squash! Kale! Apples! Pumpkin! Brussel Sprouts! We may be able to get these year round but there is zero doubt that fruits and veggies taste best at their natural harvest time. Fall is a downright delicious time of year, rich with nourishing fruits and vegetables. Plus, the natural cycle of produce is perfectly designed to support our health. Fiber-rich apples are the perfect transition food, helping the body get rid of any summer excess. Leafy greens like kale and chard help us alkalize and detox. Vitamin-A is particularly prevalent in squash, which is not only great for healthy skin and hair, but also for boosting that immune system. Plus, it’s super fun to incorporate all of the seasonal fruits and veggies into your favorite smoothies and recipes in new and creative ways. Farmers Market, anyone?

Book a Fitness Vacation

That’s right, sitting on the beach with your umbrella drink is the vacation of the past. Fitness-inspired vacations are where it’s at in 2017. As we spend more time in front of a screen and less time being physically active for our jobs, when vacation time hits it’s less about “relaxing” and more about “experiencing”. But you don’t have to hike the entire John Muir Trail (although we totally recommend it!) to get the rejuvenating and recalibrating effects of a great outdoor adventure experience. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) recently reported that global wellness tourism revenues grew an impressive 14% from 2013 to 2015, more than twice as fast as overall tourism. This unstoppable travel category includes yoga retreats, back country skiing, spa vacations, and a multitude of hiking, biking, climbing, and eco-tourism offerings all over the world, or in your backyard. What are you waiting for?

Sign Up for a Winter Race

Don’t think. Just do. What better way to motivate you to get up and out for those morning runs than a looming mid-winter half-marathon? Some of the best races happen in late fall/early winter and you’ll never meet a better crew than those crazy enough to crank out a dozen+ miles in freezing cold temps. Don’t worry, those yummy, warming Overnight Proats will be ready and waiting for you when you get home. So don’t mourn summer’s passing for too long. Before you can say “pumpkin spice”, Autumn will kick in with hundreds of opportunities to enjoy the season in good health.

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