Adjusting to Fall Routines from Preschool to Careers
Ready for routine? The last long weekend of the summer marks the end of laid-back summer mornings and late at nights. Fall brings a new routine for all, from preschool to high school to careers. Here are some simple ways to adjust to your new routine and be at your best as you get back into the swing of things.
Keeping it Cool
Starting back to work or school can be stressful. Plan ahead to reduce feeling rushed or stressed: packing your briefcase and filling in permission slips the night before, or playing music as you’re getting ready to create a motivating feeling in the morning. Still stressed? Try to breathe deeply from time to time. There are even apps you can download to your (and your kid’s) phones which can promote mindfulness.
Avoiding Sick Days
There is a lot to do in your busy life. Want to avoid having to take a sick day? Some nutrients are well known to support the immune system including vitamin C, zinc, probiotics and vitamin D. Good personal hygiene can stop microbes that cause snotty noses and upset tummies from gaining access to your kids’ bodies – and, from theirs to yours! There is also a surprisingly large body of evidence supporting the widely held belief that not getting enough sleep increases your likelihood of getting sick. In a 2013 report in the Pediatric Infections Disease Journal, studies have shown that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune system and may be linked to an increase risk of obesity and heart disease. Plus, sleep is great for your brain! A 2013 study in the journal Science shows the brain gets rid of harmful toxins when you sleep. An optimally functioning brain is a smart way to ensure you adjust well to your new routine.
Certain foods can help the brain focus so you feel more on top of your new routine, such as fish, chocolate and blueberries. The ultimate brain food is fish because it contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). Omega-3 researcher reported in the July 2014 issue of Nutrients, that the consumption of DHA enhances cognitive performance relating to learning, cognitive development, memory and speed of performing cognitive tasks.
The Ultimate Lunch Box Ingredient
When you pack your lunch, consider including some dark chocolate as a little treat for your brain. According to researchers from Arizona University, chocolate has natural attention-boosting powers. In the study, the researchers fed 122 participants (age 15-18) dark chocolate or placebo, and then watched their electroencephalography (EEG) results to measure brain activity. The study, which was published in the journal NeuroRegulation, noted chocolate increased participant’s attention spans, and significantly lowered blood pressure bringing a sense of peace and efficiency to the brain.
Your brain would also love it if you snack on some pumpkin seeds or blueberries. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which is found in high concentrations in the hippocampus part of the brain where learning and memory occurs. Blueberries contain pterostilbene. Pterostilbene is an antioxidant that is lipophilic, meaning it moves efficiently into fatty areas of the body, such as the brain. Research conducted at Tufts University found supplementing rats with pterostilbene improved their cognitive behaviour and their ability to remember. Human studies show pterostilbene may help fight age-related memory and neurological decline. At the end of your long day, your brain may enjoy the benefits of a small glass of red wine, as purple grapes are also a source of pterostilbene.
Rocking Your New Routine
How long does it take a person to settle into a new routine? According to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes us about 66 days before a new habit doesn’t feel new anymore. It will likely take us two months before we settle into fall routines and all the habits that go with it. In the meantime, you can be at your best as you get back into the swing of things this fall by fueling your brain, taking a few moments to breath in your day and getting enough sleep.
Foods and Their Nutrients that can get Your Brain Ready
|Food||Nutrient||Functional Benefit In the Brain|
|Fish||DHA + EPA||Memory, Learning, Brain Speed|
|Chocolate||Cocoa Flavanols||Attention Span|
|Pumpkin Seeds||Zinc||Learning, Memory|
|Broccoli||Vitamin K||Cognition, Behaviour|
|Spinach||B Vitamins||Energy, Less Mental Fatigue|
Some Nutrients That May Help You Avoid Sick Days
Oil of Oregano
Montopoli, M et al. The acute electrocortical and blood pressure effects of chocolate. NeuroRegulation, 2015;2(1).
Vitamin D effects on musculoskeletal health, immunity, autoimmunity cardiovascular disease, cancer, fertility, pregnancy, dementia and mortality – a review of recent evidence. Autoimmunity Reviews August 2013; 12(10):976-898
Sleep and Infection: No Snooze, You Lose? Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, October 2013; 32(10):1135-1137.
Shields M. Measured obesity: overweight Canadian children and adolescents. In: Nutrition: findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey; issue 1; 2005 (cat no 82-620-MWE2005001).
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