Fall in Love With the Season
Crisp, cool air scented with woodsmoke. Crimson- and flame-hued leaves. Pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider. These signs signal the start of fall, the season of new beginnings. As the days begin to shorten, we return to work or school, with the carefree hours of summer in our rearview mirrors. To smoothly navigate this shift, try these simple routines to promote your health and reduce any feelings of anxiousness.1
Seek out light
Fewer daylight hours in the fall and winter mean less sunlight, which can bring on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression. Even if darker days don’t bring you down, though, you might find it challenging to adjust to shorter days. To boost your mood and help you sleep, begin your days by heading outside or sitting in front of a 10,000-lux light therapy lamp and reading a new book.
Later, a couple of hours before you go to bed, dim the lights. The darkness will cue your body that it’s time to release melatonin and shift into rest mode. Since electronic devices emit blue light (which stimulates your brain to stay awake), consider shutting them off. Otherwise, visit the Settings to adjust the screen (choose “Night Shift” mode on iPhones and iPads and use the Night Light or Blue Light feature on many Android devices).
Try a foliage hike or bike ride, so you can soak up fall color while breaking a sweat. To combine your workout with a classic autumn pursuit, visit a hilly apple orchard, picking fruit as you contend with inclines. Think of the apple-filled tote as a substitute for free weights. For a dose of community with the fresh air, attend some outdoor sporting events, like local college football games. When the days get colder, warm up by wearing heated clothing, fleece-lined leggings, long underwear, or reusable heat packs.
Visit a farmstand
Pick up some crisp apples, sweet butternut squash, peppery radishes, and leafy kale. This autumn, begin with seasonal fruits and vegetables, and prepare them in your oven, slow cooker, pressure cooker, or Dutch oven. Throw in winter spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove), hardy herbs (like rosemary or sage), and fresh citrus (like orange or lemon) to flavor your dishes plus scent your home. Consider these ideas for a start:
Orange-rosemary cranberry sauce: Simmer fresh or frozen cranberries with orange juice and zest, fresh rosemary sprigs, monk fruit sweetener or molasses, and salt to taste. Serve with sliced roast turkey.
Spaghetti (squash) and meatballs: Halve a spaghetti squash vertically, scoop out and discard the seeds, and place squash cut-side-down on a greased baking sheet. Roast in a 400-degree-F oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Scrape flesh into “noodles,” then serve with meatballs.
Veggie chili with butternut squash: Saute chopped butternut squash, red onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Add (rinsed and drained) canned pinto and black beans, canned diced tomatoes with their juices, vegetable broth, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the stew thickens. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and top with sliced avocado, tortilla chips, and Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Braised pork with sweet root vegetables: Into your Dutch oven or slow cooker, toss sliced red onions, carrots, parsnips, and garlic. Add a boneless pork shoulder, cut in a few pieces. Pour in canned whole tomatoes and fresh orange juice, with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low until the meat is fork-tender. Serve over pasta, showering with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped fresh basil.
Give your space a fall makeover by adding layers of warmth. To achieve what the Danish call hygge (coziness), invest in some soft, thick, textured throws, and drape them over your bed and sofa. Bring the outdoors in by arranging pinecones and autumn leaves on your mantel or placing a rosemary bush on your kitchen table. Arrange your fluffiest slippers by the bed and an assortment of long, inviting novels on your living room table. Light some candles, then curl up and nest.