Fall is officially here, meaning it's time to trade in flip flops for warm boots and iced teas for Pumpkin Spice Lattes (but please, not from Starbucks!!! Try this recipe). Instead of triggering a case of the October blues, try making few positive changes in your life to boost happiness. Keep spending time outdoors (just dress properly!)and with your friends, take extra days off from work (if possible), attend interesting classes, learn something new (how about that Indian cooking class?) and commit to a regular workout routine (even if it's just one yoga class a week or a 15 min walk a day). You don't have to lose your summer glow as the seasons shift. Try these tips and share yours in the comments:
1. Plan a few mini-vacations
Make time for at least one or two short, affordable weekend trips during the fall, like driving to a nearby city or the countryside for the weekend. It does wonders for your health, well-being, and productivity. Personally I love the quietness of the countryside and we often find ourselves in the peace of small towns of Pennsylvania. The mere anticipation of a vacation can boost happiness for up to eight weeks before you leave! Do you notice how your energy is different when you have something to look forward to. I sure do!
2. Get outside
Yes, it's not that warm anymore, but you can still enjoy the benefits of nature throughout the fall season. The crisp, cool autumn air can make for a refreshing walk as long as you're appropriately dressed for the weather. Make time to enjoy an early-morning stroll, even if it's just 10 minutes. Walking through green spaces has been shown to reduce stress and put the brain into a state of meditation. Try doing deep-breathing exercises while walking and notice the benefits.
3. Prioritize friends-and-family time
When the weather is nice and everyone is out and about, we tend to naturally gravitate towards spending more time with our friends and family. Once the temps drop, it's easy to stay hibernating indoors. Unfortunately that's exactly what I tend to do. But no matter the season, making as much time as possible for your tribe will benefit not only your mood, but your health. Strong social ties have been associated with lower stress levels, increased longevity and improved mental health. If you feel lonely, just create your own circle of sisters! There's nothing stopping you.
4. Enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables
Find few good recipes and cook a meal using nutrient-rich autumn produce such as butternut and kabocha squash, grapes, brussels sprouts, apples, pears, beets, fennel, sweet potatoes or pumpkin. Get creative and add your own personal touch. For example I almost always add cinnamon to anything I'm roasting in the oven. It's my favorite and makes the house smell like heaven. Cooking can be a great de-stressor if you don't rush it and make it a chore. Put on some music and enjoy the process. It's a sensory experience with aroma, taste, touch and visual delight.
This has been a real issue for me and so far the most helpful thing I've done is scheduling my internet time. I put reminders on my phone's calendar that tell me what my tasks are throughout the morning. For example from 9am-10am: write a blog post about homeopathy. 10am-10.15am: make breakfast and eat. 10.15am-11.15am: write a blog post about Halloween events in NYC for hotel blog. 11.15am-11.45am: schedule Facebook posts for the next week, and so on. Too much screen time has been linked with stress and depression. Have you also noticed when you go on a vacation somewhere without WIFI how great you feel not checking your email and social media notifications every hour? Unplugging from work and social media on the weekends can be helpful for supporting well-being and boosting productivity.