September 13, 2021
September 28, 2020
A new season is always a great time to begin some new healthy habits. As we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic together, this is more important—and a bit more challenging—than ever. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family on track.
Take Your Workout Outside
Exercising helps keep your heart and lungs healthy, increases your energy, and promotes mental health. When you are active outside, it gives you even more of a health boost. Being in bright light during the day helps you sleep better at night, and some studies show that nature helps reduce stress and improves well-being. COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses are less likely to spread outdoors than indoors, so you can more safely exercise with others outside.
As the weather cools and the leaves change, Lancaster County has many trails and nature preserves for adults and children to enjoy. Visit the Lancaster Conservancy website to find a place to explore near you. You can see sweeping views of the Susquehanna River at Pinnacle Scenic Overlook, the Falmouth Forest Garden at Conoy Wetlands, or hike along streams at Trout Run and Steinman Run. Look for locations within 15 minutes of your home, and find a different outdoor park or trail to explore if a parking area is full.
Savor Fall Produce
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, and apples are in season! Buying local fruits and vegetables in season can help you save money and eat more healthfully. Visit the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide for affordable recipe ideas for all your favorite fruits and vegetables. Trying a new food or a new recipe can be a fun, family-friendly activity at home. Farm stands and farmers’ markets are still open across the county. You can also visit a pumpkin patch or orchard to pick your own fall produce.
Cope with Stress
Everyone experiences stress differently and has different ways of coping. Current events have created new stress for many people, which may be related to worries about personal health, concerns about vulnerable friends and family members, increased job stress, financial difficulties, and worries about political unrest or injustice. This fall, try these strategies to protect your emotional health:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Be mindful while you do activities you enjoy. Notice the sounds of crunching leaves outside, the smell of your favorite fall foods, and the sounds of your neighborhood.
Connect with Others
Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, we have more opportunities to safely be with other people compared with last year. If you and your loved ones are vaccinated against COVID-19, there is very little risk in being together. If your friends or family members are at high risk for serious illness, or are not vaccinated, you can consider getting together outside, wearing masks, or seeing each other virtually.
If you feel comfortable, consider volunteering in person or taking part in community groups and faith-based gatherings to re-connect with others.