There’s a definite mourning period as the last weekends of bonfires and picnics fade away. The end of summer is bittersweet. If you’re feeling bummed about packing away your sundresses and flip flops in favour of toques and rain boots, here are some healthy, joyful pick-me-ups to help smooth over the transition to fall:
1. Plan a mini autumn getaway. Happiness researchers have found that the anticipation of a holiday actually has more of an impact on happiness than the trip itself.1 So you can make yourself happier today just by planting the seed of a little escape. Airbnb is a great place to start – you can rent anything from a single bedroom to a villa. Embrace what fall has to offer; maybe a cozy cottage nestled in multi-hued foliage with a fireplace and a hot tub? If day trips are more realistic for you, pencil in a few before the holidays. After all, more excursions planned lead to more anticipation and more happiness!).
2. Get some fresh air and exercise. I’ve always felt that exercising in a natural environment makes me feel better physically and mentally. Recently, I came across a research study that confirmed my hunch.It turns out that exercising outdoors is associated with decreased tension, anger and depression, increased energy and greater feelings of enjoyment and revitalization.2 Whether you’re a runner or a walker, the air is never fresher than on a crisp autumn day, so lace up those sneakers!
3. Adopt a new routine. After years of starting school in September, this feels like the month of fresh starts. Now’s a great time to embrace a new healthy practice, or even several of them. Here are a few ideas:
- Be a weekend meal warrior: make a pot of healthy soup every Sunday to carry you through several days of lunches; pre-wash and chop salad ingredients to toss alongside your dinner every evening; shop and/or prepare in advance for busy weekday breakfasts.
- The farmer’s markets are packed with incredible bounty right now. Why not invest in a juicer and squeeze a batch of veggie-packed juice? Sip throughout the week for concentrated vitamins and antioxidants (this ABC juice is a great place to start).
- With s’mores season behind us and sneeze season (sneezon?) on its way, it’s time to focus on digestive and immune health with a daily probiotic regimen.
4. Pick up a cozy mystery. Snuggle into a chunky sweater, pull on some wool socks, pour yourself a steaming mug of tea and sink into a page-turning yet wholesome who-dunnit. A few I’ve snuggled into lately are The Lake House by Kate Morton, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.
5. Be social. With autumn’s return to bustling routine, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of becoming too busy and missing out on regular face-to-face social contact. Surrounding ourselves with friends makes us feel happy and connected, so why not invite a few over for dinner? People get anxious about entertaining, but remember: your friends are coming because they love your company, not your perfect hors d’oeuvres. In fact, keeping it casual and homey puts everyone at ease. I suggest serving a big pot of Hearty Chili Con Carne with a few toppings, and planning your next dinner as soon as the first is over.