5 Fall Activities to Prepare for Winter

Beyond your normal fall activities like visiting apple orchards, carving pumpkins, donning your favorite boots, and carrying fun Starbucks cups, autumn is the perfect time to prepare yourself for winter. By this I mean both preparing for the weather, but also getting in a great mindset to get through the winter months! Here are some ideas for how to prepare yourself for the cold that is yet to come:

Fall Activities to Prepare for Winterimage via

  1. Be creative.

With winter just around the corner, autumn is the perfect time to use your imagination and come up with a project to keep you busy during the colder months. Whether it’s creating a product, learning to crochet, working your way through a cookbook, creating art, or starting to write – whatever strikes you as being interesting and rewarding is a great place to start.

When I’m in a creative rut, I try to take a few days and really brainstorm things that I’d like to have, be able to create, or be able to give away. I write down each one of these ideas, regardless of how silly they seem, and at the end, I usually have one creative idea I’m excited about and want to pursue.

  1. Be generous.

The holidays are usually seen as a time of huge generosity, both in giving gifts to loved ones and for charity. Spread that idea into autumn. If you’re a little tight on cash or are saving up for your Christmas budget, try being generous with your time. There are always options to volunteer, both in your community and in your own circle of acquaintances. Whether you volunteer at an animal shelter, donate canned goods for the needy, or simply help an older relative accomplish household tasks, making a difference during this season is a great precursor to the holidays.

  1. Perfect your fall recipes.

This may seem like a given, but I know that I’ve certainly spent a lot of time on it! I love to bake, and have been trying to figure out exactly what desserts I want to bring to the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. So far, the winner for Thanksgiving is pumpkin blondies… although I still have time to change my mind! As the weather cools off, it’s the perfect time to turn on the oven, spend some time in your kitchen, and be rewarded with yummy baked goods.

  1. Clean out your closet.

Now that the warmer weather is behind us (at least if you live in a more seasonal climate like I do!), cleaning out your closet is the perfect fall activity. Are there clothes hanging in your closet that you haven’t worn in the last few months? If you didn’t wear shirts, shorts, or dresses within the last two seasons, chances are they aren’t worth keeping. Another favorite cleaning-closet trick of mine is to organize by color – when you do that, you often see how many similar or identical items you have! Plus, organizing in this way forces you to take each item out and move it. This way, you see each item and really can make a decision on whether or not you like it before you hang it back up.

  1. Gather all necessary winter supplies.

By this I obviously mean… Lots of hot chocolate and marshmallows, your favorite sweaters, winter coats, warm beanies, soft blankets, ingredients for big bowls of hot soup, and whatever else makes you feel warm and cozy. After all, winter is coming!

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Why Sundays Are Important for Your Mental Health

I love, love, love Sundays.

In college, I worked every weekend, so until recently I’d never really appreciated the magic that is a Sunday.

In my view, Friday night and all of Saturday are always gone by in a flash. Sunday, however, usually goes slower and is more relaxed. After a long week and a busy first half of the weekend, this is usually much needed!

 Why Sundays are important for your mental health 

If I have plans on a Sunday, it is almost always exclusively with family and friends. I often cook or bake on Sundays, and have long conversations with those closest to me. I usually take a nap in the afternoon, which is an amazing feeling. These moments are treasures, and are a great way to set yourself up for the week ahead.

I really believe that time like that, lazy days meant for the things you enjoy most, are crucial for your mental health. The long week of school or work can be so demanding, so a time of rest should be something you deliberately plan into your schedule. 

 

Why Sundays are important for your mental health

The perfect day for a (cat) nap!

 
Reset. Plan your meals for the week. Cook a warm, filling meal. Bake. Relax with your pet. Have a cup of coffee with a friend. Watch some football. Take a nap. Eat a cupcake. Enjoy the weather. Try not to think about Monday. Just be.

Tips for Packing Food to Get Through the Work Day

When I first started working full-time, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to handle meals when at work. Based on my schedule, I usually eat both breakfast, lunch, and a few snacks at the office, and those meals are crucial for keeping my productivity high!

I knew that I didn’t want to go out to eat for every meal, since that can be expensive, time consuming, and even boring after awhile if the restaurant selection around your workplace is fairly limited. However, packing two meals per day isn’t easy, either – it takes a lot of planning, creativity, and time.

After a few weeks of working, I figured out what my schedule usually looks like and came up with a game plan for packing meals at least most of the time (usually 4 out of 5 days of the work week, at minimum)!

Gearing up for a long week at the office? Follow these tips to make the most out of bringing meals to work, and save money while you’re at it!

Follow these tips to make the most out of bringing meals to work, and save money while you’re at it:

Breakfast:

  1. Find a few quick, easy breakfast meals that you can make and eat while you’re getting ready to leaveMy personal favorites include peanut butter and jelly toast, cooking an egg in a coffee mug, or throwing some granola in Greek yogurt. These breakfasts are easy, filling, and are ready to eat in almost no time at all!
  2. Try overnight oatsIf you’ve never experienced the magic that is overnight oatmeal, I highly recommend you try it! In a nutshell, the steps are as follows: combine equal parts liquid (milk, water, or yogurt) with old-fashioned oats; add fruit, nuts, spices, and anything else you want; mix it all up, seal in a container, and place in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up the next morning, the oats are ready to eat! They’re meant to be  eaten cold, which means you can throw the container in your bag and just go. Oatmeal is a very filling food, which means this breakfast will keep you going all morning. My favorites are apple cinnamon and peanut butter banana!
  3. Prepare for the inevitableSome mornings are just busier than others, and making breakfast just isn’t possible. I like to keep granola bars and instant oatmeal packets in my desk at work for scenarios like this.

Lunch:

  1. Utilize leftoversSometimes, I’ll even cook meals in the evenings specifically so I have leftovers for lunch! When you have leftovers, package them in single serving containers so you can just grab and go in the morning.
  2. Just like with breakfast, prepare for the inevitable. While quick, microwaveable meals aren’t always the healthiest, they’re often cheaper and easier than going out for lunch when you didn’t have time to pack one. Keeping these staples on hand will allow you to simply grab one in the morning on your way out the door. I recommend Mac and cheese cups, soup, or even frozen meals if you have access to a freezer at work.
  3. Be creative. If you pack a fun lunch, you’ll have something to look forward to all morning! Look up some recipes, take the time to prepare them in advance, and you’ll be all set with some fun meals.

Snacks

  1. Always have fruit and veggies on hand. Apples, clementines, grapes, carrots, bell peppers… The list is endless. I often want to snack at my desk simply for another way to occupy my hands while I’m working, so having a low-calorie, healthy snack is a must.
  2. Try Greek yogurt. With lots of protein and often few calories, Greek yogurt is a great pick-me-up when you need it most in the afternoon. It comes in awesome flavors, too, although I almost always stick to basic strawberry.
  3. Water. While this might sound like a weird thing to “snack” on, drinking water is great for your body and often leaves you feeling fuller. I rarely drink enough water, so I try to treat this like a snack!

What are your favorite tips and tricks for packing food for work? Any advice?