Be present: this autumn is all about going outside

As the saying goes—when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, but in this case, make pumpkin spice lattes and apple pie.

As the leaves begin to fall off the trees and you feel a crisp breeze brush up against your cheek, you may find yourself wondering what fall activities you can get into during this public health conundrum. But who says you can’t have great fall fun in a pandemic? 

Firstly, avoiding enclosed spaces is a given. But COVID-19 aside, taking in landscapes adorned with multi-colored leaves has innumerable mental health benefits and promotes a happier frame of mind

“Nature is an amazing guide to grounding in the present moment . . . practicing mindfulness retrains your brain to be in the here and now,” said counselor, yoga teacher and speaker Julianne Schroeder. 

According to Schroeder, some great ways to practice mindfulness is to notice the color of the leaves around you and take note of the change in color. Paying attention to what you feel physically such as a cool breeze and listening to the sound of leaves rustling are also great ways to put mindfulness into practice.

“That’s important because a lot of emotional and mental distress comes from either rehashing past events or worrying about the future,” she continued.

Fall is a great time to take daily walks before fattening up during the holidays. Photo credit: Josh Hild

So get out there and be mindful of your surroundings. Here are six ways to enjoy the fall season outdoors: 

Take a hike on a Native American trail

Native American trails known for their winding roads, rivers and streams are especially beautiful during the fall. For thousands of years Indigeounous people traveled on trails for purposes of hunting, commerce and religious or celebratory reasons. To mark important places, they intentionally bent trees. Today you can immerse yourself in their leaf covered beauty. 

Hit the road

Now is the time to hop in the car and take a road trip to watch the foliage turn. From New York to Washington you can watch the leaves turn through October 25 according to statistical expert David Angotti. 

“Similar to any meteorological forecast, leaf predictions will never be 100 [percent] accurate…However, after publishing our predictive fall foliage map for nearly a decade, we are quite confident in our data sources, process, and algorithm.” stated Angotti. 

Go for a bike ride

If a road trip is not for you, keep it local by going biking. With the cooler fall temperatures balancing out your sweat ratio, this is an opportune time to get some cardio in on your two wheeler. Just imagine the wind whistling through your hair and the sound of your wheels rustling over the leaves.

Rake those leaves

Not many people look forward to raking but did you know that it can be therapeutic for individuals with dementia? The repetitious nature of the activity makes them feel productive and useful. More than that, it can reduce the progression of memory loss, so take advantage while you still can. 

Go apple picking

Instead of going to the supermarket to buy apples for your pie, why not shake things up a bit by going apple picking? Enjoy apple bobbing before making your final decision about which ones to take home. The sense of achievement you will have knowing you went out and carefully hand selected the apples for your pie will make it taste all the better. 

Make your way to a pumpkin patch

Get a head start on those Halloween decorations by picking out the perfect pumpkins for your jack-o-lanterns. Choose an extra one and make a few spiced lattes from scratch to help keep warm while you adorn your front porch or lawn with spooky face pumpkins. 

. . . .

All factors considered, one thing social distancing did was force people to slow down and observe the scenery around them. Individuals who were laid off reported heightened amounts of gardening, walking and wildlife watching

“This suggests that COVID-19 is overturning the idea that nature and its benefits–from stress reduction to social connection– are becoming ‘luxury goods,’” said Rubenstein School PhD candidate and Gund Graduate Fellow Diana Hackenburg. 

Since we’re not quite out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19, make the best out of a bad situation and partake in some good old fashioned fall fun. 

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

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