8 Ways to Make October Brighter

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What’s good about October? During this transitional month some people feel their energy drain as the seasons change, days become shorter, and the anticipation of September’s “school-time new beginnings” (even for those long-out-of-school) begins to wane. Here are 8 ways to keep your motivation high when fall starts to make spirits fall.

1. Get fresh air. Fresh air aids digestion, strengthens your immune system to protect from seasonal viruses, improves blood pressure, cleans your lungs, makes you happier and clearer minded, and gives you more energy! Get outside for brisk walks to take in beautiful leaf colours that fall to the ground and create a crunchy blanket to walk through. As they disappear, neighbourhoods get decorated for Hallowe’en, offering a great reason to explore, and seek out haunted houses.

2. Party. October brings an excuse for celebrating – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Octoberfest – without the stress of the “big holiday” season. Make these events healthful by subtly introducing options for guests. Remember traditional Hallowe’en molasses candies and candied popcorn? Make them with reduced sugar for parties and times you’re enticed to munch on that bag of Hallowe’en trick-or-treats that were supposed to be saved for end of month. Try new Thanksgiving vegetable recipes that are as interesting as turkey so guests will eat more of them than the starring meat attraction. Concoct your own low alcohol/nonalcoholic ginger beer (a big trend at local grocers, and easy recipes are online) to serve at Octoberfest /football parties as an alternative to conventional beer.

3. Take your workouts indoors. As the weather cools, and the swimming suits, straw hats and bikes go into storage, take a gym/community centre class like pilates, pickleball or belly dancing! Have you heard about wildly popular pickleball? This new paddle sport combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. With solid paddles made of wood/composite materials, two or four players hit a perforated ball similar to a Wiffle ball over a net. It’s easy to learn and easier on the knees than other net sports so great for all ages and abilities.

4. Reorganize your closet. This might sound like work rather than play, but there is a therapeutic sense of accomplishment when you get organized and simplify. Separate clothes into piles of “to keep” and “to give away to a good cause” as you carefully move your autumn wardrobe to star front and centre in your closet. It’s comfy-cozy sweater weather; treat yourself to a new one.

5. Spend more time in the kitchen. You can start heating the house with oven-cooked meals again; it’s time for harvest apples and pumpkins to star in all of your recipes: fruit crisps, comfort-food casseroles, curried roast veggies, baked beans…

6. Stretch out in front of the TV. It’s also time to light your fireplace and start staying in to watch scary movies. But this doesn’t have to mean resorting to couch-potato hibernation. Grab a yoga mat and use this time to stretch stiff muscles and ligaments with slow yoga movements that don’t disrupt your viewing too much: try the “behind the back arm stretch”, “pigeon”, “butterfly”, “lizard”, “upward stretch”, and “seated neck release” (view these online) to get you limber as you lounge.

7. Be creative. The weather drew you outdoors last season, pulling you away from those creative projects you’ve been hoping to accomplish, but now is the time to begin. Paint a canvas, write a novelette, recover a chair, take a cooking, singing or quilting class, or simply put some effort into carving super-creative pumpkins this month!

8. Get energized! Drinking an extra cup of coffee each day might seem like a good way to curb reduced energy pervading the “autumn humdrums,” but you may pay for it later. First, consider why you feel more tired: are you fighting a virus? Has your sleeping become a little restless as seasons change? Are you dehydrated due to drier indoor heated air (dehydration reduces energy levels)? Then drink something hydrating and energizing instead of dehydrating and nerve/hormone/cognition disrupting. The latest trend in healthy energy drinks avoids conventional stimulants in favour of new ingredients like beetroot juice that is shown to boost stamina and even make exercise less tiring!

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