While the calendar says there are still a couple more weeks of summer, we all know that here in the NEK Fall shows up as soon as the Barton Fair is here, and, well, it’s here right now! We can try to deny it, but the leaves have been turning, the nights are cooler, days are shorter and Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been back for a while. If you are dreaming about football games, hoodies, and bonfires, it’s officially time to embrace the call of Fall and we can make it even better with this fool proof F-A-L-L health haul!

When we think about how to prepare for a healthy, happy and meaningful Fall we think of this acronym:

Food

Action

List

Love (Self-love and more!)

Food! Fall is all about those warm and rich flavors and nostalgia that just don’t taste as good any other time. You know, everything apple cider, pumpkin spice, chili and so on. Yet, pack them all into one day and it’s a ton of work, less enjoyable and over too quick. Take just a few minutes to map out your Fall flavors. If you know you want real apple pie and full fat chili, think about how you can best space those out to stay feeling your best this season. Think of something special for each week to really savor Fall. There are of course healthy recipes all over the internet, but we also want you to think about what is meaningful to you. If you love to savor a warm drink on Sunday mornings, enjoy your warm drinks then.  If you are heading out on a long hike, that pumpkin donut can be part of your fuel. Other fun Fall twists are adding apple slices and a cinnamon stick to your water, add some pumpkin pie spice to your shakes and even swap out your salad greens for shaved Brussel sprouts.

Action! Fall is the BEST time to get outside when you live in the NEK because it feels like we are living on a movie set! You just can’t beat the views from the bike paths and mountain tops. Make some time to take one last kayak, bike in the brisk air, dog walk by the lake or even go play frisbee at your favorite beach. Sure, we may be bundled up in buffalo plaid and skipping the shorts, but there is still so much activity we can do. Here at NCH, we are offering a free 5K for everybody to join on September 25th. It’s called the “Lil’ Lat 45,” because you’ll actually be moving right along the 45th parallel, aka halfway between the equator and north pole!  It is a super-flat course, and you can walk, run, jog, or push a stroller if you like. While we are accepting donations to support our Diabetes Fund, the real goal is to offer a safe, healthy, and memorable day for our community in the splendor of fall. For more information check out: https://northcountryhospital.com/events/lillat45/

Lists. List-making may not be your favorite activity but let’s admit it, they help! Seeing a list of all your to-do’s not only keeps you on task but also accountable! Make a list or get everything on your calendar so you don’t forget all your appointments, tasks, and events. How many of us wake up to that first fallen snow and wish we’d have cleaned the gutters, picked up the patio furniture, gotten our tires changed or scheduled that out-of-town appointment? Making a list now can keep you organized for the weeks ahead. Lists give us structure, help us set priorities and help us feel that much more satisfied when we get to literally cross something off them. Relaxing by the firepit will be that much more blissful when you are scrambling inside your head to remember what you have going on. Make a list, update it as needed, and carry on.

Love. We all need more love! Some love you can only give yourself. Make it a priority to give yourself a little more care, patience and attention. One really great way to do this is to think about how you talk to yourself. Sometimes the things we say to ourselves, we wouldn’t say to our worst enemy. Sometimes the advice we give ourselves is the exact opposite of what we would give our loved ones. What if you talk and treat yourself like the most important person in your life, because you are? If you are tired, give yourself rest. If you are bored, think of something fun to get out of that rut. Thank yourself when you do something good. Hype yourself up by thinking about all the great things you offer. Look in the mirror and only acknowledge what’s positive. No more, “I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve or I’m not worthy.” How about, “Thank you body for getting me through another day!” How about, “I did such a great job at work being creative and thinking on my feet.” And why not, “Wow, I look awesome today, but I know I’ll look even better with a smile.” Learn what makes you feel loved and share that love with yourself abundantly!

It’s Fall y’all. Let’s enjoy it. No more ridiculous food rules or punishing yourself with tireless exercise. Eat what you really enjoy, move in a way that feels good! Try a new recipe, join our free 5K on September 25! No more scrambling to stay organized or beating yourself up. Make a list and add in reminders of just how strong, independent and valuable you are. Top that list with FALL, to remind yourself of our tips: food, action, lists and love. Wishing you lots of wellness and adventure as we move into this season with our Fall health haul!

Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center