by Erin Guidry
Autumn is, for many people, a favorite time of year. In most places, the weather starts to cool off, which means outdoor activities abound. The holidays are also quickly approaching, which lends some excitement to the doldrums of daily life. Here are a few tips for making the most of the season.
Studies have shown time and time again that our environment has a huge impact on our state of mind. Putting up even a few seasonal decorations can provide you with a significant mood booster. And while reenergizing your space with a few ceramic pumpkins or a new throw pillow or candle takes very little time, it will also give you a chance to do a bit of tidying to make next year’s spring cleaning less of a heavy lift.
This is a great time of year to focus on a few oft-forgotten cleaning jobs before the bitter chill of winter sets in. Fall is a great time to dust and prep heaters before the first cold snap really happens. And since the weather is so lovely, you’ll probably be opening your windows more often, which makes it a perfect time to do a bit of detail work on things like cleaning fan blades, dusting blinds, and washing curtains.
Another gift that autumn provides us is a wonderful bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Whether you’re making trips to the local farmers market or having your groceries or meals delivered, there are some amazing eats you can only find this time of year that are not only healthy options to incorporate into your diet, but delicious to boot!
Next time you’re at the market, look for seasonal picks in the produce department. Some of our favorites are beets (red and golden), squash (butternut, spaghetti, and acorn are all great varieties), pumpkin of course, Brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes. On the fruit front, you can’t go wrong with apples, figs, and cranberries.
Wondering how to best utilize those ingredients? Don’t worry! We grabbed a few recipes for you (with varying levels of skill/time required). Check them out below:
28 Squash Recipes (featuring acorn, butternut, patty pan & more!)
Savory Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Honey Roasted Chicken and Figs
Glazed Cranberry Orange Scones
As we mentioned before, the weather this time of year is perfect for getting outside and getting some fresh air in your lungs. Depending on where you live, there are likely fall/harvest festivals, apple picking, pumpkin patches, football games, and more that you can add to your agenda. This list has some great idea-starters for planning fall outings. How many will you tick off your bucket list this year?
Fall is also a great time to prepare your lawn and garden for winter, ensuring that when the frost finally melts in the spring, your garden will bounce back in good health. This is the ideal time to amend your soil, adding fertilizer, manure, or mulch and doing some light tilling. Turning the soil over now will give it plenty of time to absorb those much-needed nutrients before spring.
If you want to see tulips, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, or bluebells blooming in your yard next spring, make sure to plant the bulbs now. If you’re growing veggies, don’t forget that greens love the cold! Take advantage of this often-bypassed growing season by planting kale, collards, bok choi, mustard greens, etc.
Lastly, don’t forget that this is peak migration time for many species of birds. Make sure you have fresh water and food in all your feeders to help your feathered friends refuel as they make their way south. They’ll be grateful and, as a result, you’ll get a beautiful show in your yard on a near-daily basis.
As we age, the years can truly seem to fly by. But celebrating the change of seasons and doing our best to live in the moment is an incredibly important tool for optimizing mental health. We hope these tips help you to more eagerly embrace all that fall has to offer, making this another wonderful season in a life well-lived.