Daily Living

Five self-care tips for fall

Women enjoying autumn

As the vibrant colors of summer gradually yield to the warm and earthy hues of autumn, many of us find comfort in crisp air and cozy sweaters. However, for individuals living with arthritis, the change in seasons can introduce a unique set of challenges. The cooler temperatures and shifting weather patterns can exacerbate joint pain and stiffness, making it essential to adapt and find ways to stay active.  

Embracing the beauty of autumn while managing arthritis requires a thoughtful approach that includes gentle exercises. Here are five tips to keep up with self-care as the season changes: 

Move every day 

Moving may not be the first thing you want to do as the air takes on a chill, but staying active offers many benefits, such as boosting strength, energy, sleep quality and mood, while also reducing stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. Unfortunately, many individuals living with arthritis avoid physical activity because of joint and muscle pain, fatigue, or swelling. As a result of not moving regularly, arthritis-related pain and symptoms, such as stiffness, muscle weakness and tightness, can worsen over time. 

Find ways to move every day and consider movements that put less load on your joints like swimming, yoga and stationary biking. To soak in a beautiful fall day with the sun shining on the colourful leaves, try Nordic walking on a flat forest trail or through a local park.  

Find exercise videos and tips for staying active in the exercise section of Flourish.  

Nourishment matters 

Our gardening may be fizzling out, but we get to cheer our spirits with delicious and nutritious warm soups. Fill your pot or slow cooker with colourful veggies that are high in vitamins like folate and B6, minerals such as magnesium and potassium, as well as fibre and antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E). A piping hot butternut squash soup, turmeric-infused beef and barley soup, or hearty lentil soup will hit the spot! 

Recharge with sleep 

As the season changes and days grow shorter, you may notice your body requires more rest. Getting enough sleep helps improve your energy, brain power and coping skills. Restorative sleep also helps with pain management for many living with arthritis. Here are a few things to try to improve your sleep:   

  • About an hour before bedtime, power down all electronic devices and allow yourself a moment to relax.  

  • Consider options like reading, taking a bath, or enjoying some music.  

  • ​Aim to maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times daily. 

​Read more on how you can have a better night’s rest in our Daily Living section on our website.  

Stay Warm 

To counter the cooler days, remember to keep your body warm with layers and keep gloves handy. Follow our recommended tips on heat therapy to help relax your muscles, stimulate circulation and decrease pain.  

Social Connections 

Strong social connections boost your mental well-being and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. As the daylight hours decrease, brighten your days with community by connecting with family and friends, or meeting new friends at places like your community centre. Join a drop-in program, a book club, or volunteer with seniors or for a cause you support. Combine socializing with a walk or an aqua-fitness class, and you’re off to a great start for fall self-care! 

Fall can be rejuvenating if we’re intentional with how we move and nourish our bodies, rest and connect, and lean into the beauty and life all around us.