2017 Fall Edition

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Wow–the first two weeks of September literally blew right by me!

For us living in the U. S., Labor Day Weekend signals the end of Summer, although the official end is the 22nd, and that’s the date I go by although Labor Day has its influences as well.

For me, Labor Day signifies the beginning of my Fall Quarter: September, October, November. Even as a child, my calendar ran a bit differently than the usual January to December. To me, a year always begins around the Fall Equinox because that’s when I was born.

Several years ago, I started making New Year resolutions on my birthday rather than on January 1. That way, I didn’t feel so bad about starting my “new year” work nine months late. But that’s not the real reason I changed the New Year cycle.

The real reason is that, over the years, I noticed that my energy level was so much more ‘up’ in the Fall than in the middle of Winter. I’m another year older, another year wiser (hopefully!).

But then–I also live in Northeastern Minnesota, about 90 miles south of the Canadian border. Here, Fall means digging in for the Winter and being prepared not to go out too much. To work, home from work. A few trips out for groceries and supplies.

So Fall is a time of wrapping up the Summertime lifestyles and preparing for the Winter ones. Our winters run about six months: October to March. We’re kind of like Scandinavia that way. That’s why so many of them settled in this area in the 1800’s–it reminded them of home.

Those are all reasons why I operate on a seasonal schedule rather than the typical yearly calendar of the Gregorians. It might also explain why I gravitated toward work in sales and marketing after community college. Retail runs on a seasonal year too.

The sad part about that is it means preparing for Fall halfway through Summer. In those days, we used top-most shelving (called a ‘riser’) to put up displays of large items like seasonal yard ornaments or home décor. The year I found myself draping a Halloween spider web on the back side of a Christmas tree was the year I started getting depressed about holidays. Well, not so much the holidays but by the seemingly rapid passing of time from one season to the next. If you work in retail or marketing, you know about this.

So here I had my nice Fall schedule all laid out and ready to plug in right after Labor Day and WTHeck, it’s already the end of the second week. Time flies when you’re not looking.

What about you? Does your New Year run from January to December or do you operate by seasons? If you’ve never thought about it, take some time to do that now. Try to notice the times of year that your energy peaks or falls off.

When you discover your peak season or months, that’s the time to start new behavior or lifestyle change programs–when you’re energy is higher and you feel more positive.  But if your season is Winter and that’s when you want to make changes, and you’re able to dodge all the goodies that come with Winter holidays–then please share how you do that in the Sharing Box below:

  1. S.– September is also Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month. Help me out by leaving a comment in the box on your thoughts on this article or to ask a question.
  2. P. S. — I’ve been working on ways to change sweet-baking recipes into healthier ones. I’ll be sharing those as I work on a new recipe book, The DIY Nutrition Kitchen.

If you have healthy Fall/Winter holiday meal and snack recipes to share, please email them rather than posting in the comments box to make it easier for us to collect and compile them.  

Send your recipes to editor@healthylifestylesmedia.com

NOTE: Your own original recipes are preferred, or your healthy changes to existing recipes. If you post a recipe from another site or blog, please be kind to the editor/writer of the site and credit them in your post.

Learn Something New This Week

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My own local public library

It’s Back to School time for the kids and the college students of whatever age.

In a way, I’m glad I finished my degree and don’t have to worry about getting ready for another quarter. In another way, I miss the new learning and the sparking of ideas from that learning that would excite me about whatever I was studying.

You don’t need to be in school or enrolled in any course to be a student of something you’re interested in. It doesn’t have to be academic–it can be a hobby or a fascination with something in particular, say gardening, woodworking, playing an instrument, or whatever absorbs your interest.

Studies have shown that curiosity and a desire to learn new things go a long way toward strengthening your memory and cognitive functions. It is said that people who read more, watch educational television or videos, or spend time on a hobby maintain higher brain function into their 80’s and 90’s.

(I do have references on this stuff, just not handy right now. I eventually hope to have them available in some form down the road.)

All you need for exercising your mind is a public library. Free media everywhere on anything you ever wanted to know about. Books, videos, recordings, newspapers, magazines plus digital formats of paper media.

It’s the best of both worlds: free information on nearly anything and everything, in paper and/or digital formats, for people with or without computers.

I’ve been a library bookworm since childhood. But, during my recent studies, I got used to getting books on Kindle, and using downloaded e-books instead of ordering $300 textbooks or $18.00 paperback novels (that’s ridiculous!). We could also download research material to print if we wanted to but I like saving the forests.

Because of that, I hadn’t been to my library in years. I do pick up a lot of books and videos from garage sales but that’s different: you’re not seeking out a specific topic, you’re picking up books that interest you that just happen to be there.

You walk into a library and pick a section related to your interest and BAM–suddenly you don’t know where to start. Me, I always go for the “beginners’ guide to…” or “an introduction to…” if I’m learning something new.

If it’s something I’ve been learning about and want to know more, I’ll look for “techniques in…” or “the (practioner’s) guide to…(interest)”. These would be like the ‘watercolor painter’s guide to flowers’ or ‘the gardener’s guide to organic vegetables’. You already know about gardening but now want to learn to do it organically.

My particular favorites for exploring either new or familiar topics  are the For Dummies and the Everything (Topic) series. There’s almost nothing that hasn’t been covered by someone in any line of work. Many of those authors are university professors or professionals in that area so you know you’re getting good, solid  information–for the most part.

I have read some that confused me because the author of a “‘beginner’s guide” assumed the reader already knew a lot about the topic. If they assume that then why are they writing a “beginner’s guide”? Something I’ve often wondered.

Many authors of these series update their work every year, especially if the subject is one that changes frequently, like the Internet, economics, or social media. Others are timeless, like arts n’ crafts instruction using techniques that haven’t changed for centuries such as fiber arts, preserving, or wood-working.

Your library’s how-to video section is a good place to go too. I find it easier to watch something done than to read how its done. Some of the For Dummies books are also on video, which is very helpful for visual instruction like fitness workouts, Yoga or using the Internet.

If you already do use the Internet regularly, you can find literally zillions of free how-to videos from YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites as well.

Libraries also make use of the Internet to assist people. They offer access to all sorts of online information databases, can help locate media and get it from other libraries, and provide you with your own library ‘home page’ where you can keep your lists of things to look for and manage your loans, returns, and holds.

Now–what’s really cool about libraries: if you don’t own a computer, you can get time at your public library, and if you need to, you can have someone walk you through learning how to find stuff.

No matter your age or learning style, there are many ways for you to learn about something you’ve been interested in–or something entirely new–for FREE at your nearest public library.

So, in honor of Back to School Week, get out there and learn something new.

 

 

 

 

Fall Fitness Challenge

gimage-fall-woods-walk-960_720Autumn leaves in NE Minnesota already. Almost had frost last week. Eeek!

The Fall Monsoons are gearing up now too. As I write, there’s some really high, tree-branch scattering winds blowing. I hope my garden pots don’t get tipped. Oh well–it’s time to start wrapping up the garden anyway.

As much as I love September, I hate to think it’s time to wrap up Summer. I usually have until my birthday to get in a little more Summer. (It’s the 26th, in case you were thinking of sending a card 😉 ) It’s a milestone birthday too so it’s a very good time to roll out a new fitness plan.

Or rather, get back to the online program I was using. I don’t usually use it during the Summer since I belong to a community fitness group in my hometown. We wrapped that up last week. This was our second year. The first year, we were solely a walking club and walked around the 2 small lakes and the large park in our town once a week all together.

This year we added a variety of fitness activities to try out like QiGong, kayaking, disc golf, Zumba, Yoga, and Strength-Training. We also tried out lawn games like croquet, badminton, and bocce ball. I remember as a kid, our parents would get together at the neighbor’s house to play volleyball. They also belonged to bowling leagues. People just don’t do stuff like that anymore, and it’s too bad. It’s a fun way to keep fit and socialize at the same time. I think there should be Lawn Game Clubs too.

Anyway–back to that online fitness program. About five years ago, I discovered this really cool wellness site, The Daily Challenge. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a ‘package’ of different programs, or tracks, as they call them.

It’s free to join, which fits nicely into the frugal philosophy of DIY Healthy Lifestyles. You choose a track from a wide assortment of fitness and wellness programs and click ‘join’. Then you receive a daily notification by email, IM, or SMS (message to phone or device) that gives you a simple 5- to 10-minute activities to do related to the track you are in. You can choose to join more than one track if you’d like a variety of things to do during the day.

There is a new one that’s been added since I was last there. It’s called Better Weight but it goes beyond the typical diet and exercise programs. This one includes behavior change prompts for finding support, managing stress, and staying motivated. It’s that last one that caught my attention.

Seems like every Fall, I feel so good about the weight and BMI I’ve dropped and I vow to maintain it. But then there’s birthday cake and pizza, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas… I know that’s an excuse but you have to admit it’s not a bad one. I’ve been working on ways to make the holidays less fattening and healthier.

But, staying motivated is a challenge. So that’s why I chose to sign up for The Daily Challenge’s Better Weight Track. I’m inviting my friends and followers to join me in this program. Let’s start our own wellness group here to get and stay motivated!

Here’s where we’ll meet. If you’re not already a Daily Challenge member, it’s free to join so just sign up if you’re interested in getting together.

Hope to hear from you soon–
Kat