Fall is my favorite time of year, the crisp mornings, the apple and pumpkin flavors and the splendid colors that surround the hillsides as I travel. Of course, those of you who know me, also know it’s a time to enjoy a horseback ride in the woods with rustling leaves while I enjoy time to reflect and recharge for the upcoming week. We also know that the holiday season is around the corner, so it’s really important to assess what my thoughts and plans are, what hopes do I have and what does my family value for the upcoming times together.
Using our senses to connect with nature is a way to reduce the stress we have in life. Whether we have it now or in the coming months ahead, learning to manage our stress is something to practice as much as possible. Here are a few ideas to try and incorporate into daily routines.
What can you see or feel? Sometimes we travel with blinders on, only going from point A to point B without really enjoying the journey. If your family can take a hike in a park, try a scavenger hunt or a matching game for young children (egg cartons work great!) Just noticing the changes in texture with leaves, flowers, grass and the seeds like acorns and pinecones surround us with the season changes.
What can you smell or taste that’s unique to fall? With so many fields being harvested and festivals going on the air is filled with aroma’s that tell you it’s fall. These are also many of the fall flavors to enjoy as well. We are so blessed that in this community there are many places to visit to explore each of these, check it out this week. We know that getting outside in nature is a great way to increase our health and overall wellness.
In addition, one of my peers, Beth Stefura from Mahoning County, in a recent article talked about these tips to focus on for fall:
- Boost your immunity– as colder weather arrives, it’s important to boost your immune system with foods containing Vitamin C (oranges, limes, grapefruit, peppers) to help fight off infections. Almonds, garlic, ginger, and spinach also aids immunity health. Wash your hands often and drink lots of water.
- Have dinner with your family. It’s a perfect time to reconnect with your family. Families that eat together tend to consume healthier meals and strengthen family relationships.
- Visit a local farmers market. Add in-season fruits and vegetables into your meals. Apples, turnips, brussels sprouts, and squash are great in-season options to add to your meals for nutrient dense benefits.
- Watch those tailgate party calories. Enjoy, yet consider filling up on vegetables and modify foods to healthier options.
- As cooler weather arrives, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the season. Take a walk-in nature for increased physical activity.
- Sterilize your most touched items. Your cell phone, keyboard, remote, and tablet are exposed to bacteria. Wipe down these surfaces frequently with a sanitizing wipe.
- Get enough vitamin D — This essential vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake decreases when the weather is colder since we spend most of our time inside during the fall/winter seasons. If you find you are not getting outside much, good sources of Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, and mushrooms. Fortified foods that contain Vitamin D are cow’s milk, orange juice cereal and oatmeal. Vitamin D can boost your mood and immune system!
- Prepare your home for possible extreme weather conditions. Is your snow shovel accessible? Is your furnace and snow blower serviced and set to go. Does the furnace filter need to be changed? Check the batteries in your flashlights and smoke detectors.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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