This month – and not a moment too soon – Shawnna, our cataloger provides some welcome tips on taking care of ourselves as winter approaches.

One of the pumpkins I carved is looking rather shriveled…

As summer turns to fall, the days slowly get shorter and the nights cooler. I like fall but it doesn’t last long enough.

Anyone who has lived in the Midwest long enough knows we often skip straight from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. Along with that change comes allergies, colds, and busy holidays — and staying healthy through all of it can feel like a chore.

I start to feel like my Halloween pumpkin looks! 

So, here are some recommendations for staying healthy as the seasons change.  

I hate “exercising” — pandemic or not, I would not feel comfortable going to a gym. My favorite ways to stay active are walking and riding my bike, but as it gets colder and darker, it gets harder to motivate myself.

No need to worry about how silly you look playing Ring Fit Fit Adventure!

Enter Ring Fit Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. Ring Fit  turns exercising into a fun and silly adventure. With the included accessories, your real-life movements are translated into in-game movements. Run in place to trek through each course in Adventure Mode and perform exercises (such as squats and yoga poses) to defeat enemies along the way. 

You can scale the difficulty to whatever feels comfortable for you. It still feels a little bit like exercising but it’s more motivating for me so I enjoy it. 

Another thing I don’t like to do is cook, but I know that what you make at home is usually cheaper and healthier than what you can get from takeout. I prefer cookbooks with recipes that are simple with few ingredients. That’s why I like Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal by Toni Okamoto.

 It has “healthy” and indulgent recipes. I particularly like her suggestion for sprucing up a cheap package of ramen – add tofu and veggies and you’ve got a meal (it’s got veggies, so it’s healthy, right?)! Also, check out some other cookbooks by Toni Okamoto if you enjoy easy to make recipes: The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook: 100 Easy, Healthy Recipes That Are Ready When You Are and The Friendly Vegan Cookbook: 100 Essential Recipes to Share with Vegans and Omnivores Alike. 

According to the CDC, “studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.”

That’s why my final recommendation is to spend time with your companion animals! Let your cat sit on your laptop while you are trying to work (although he might leave if you don’t seem bothered…) and take your dog for a walk when she asks – even if it’s cold or raining – make it an adventure and have fun. 

Even though I abandoned him when I moved out of my parents’ house, Garfield (my baby!) still sits with me when I visit.  And people that say cats are not loyal!  They can be difficult though…  Also, check out this book by  Hidekichi  Matsumoto: With a Dog and a Cat, Every Day is Fun

Matsumoto illustrates her personal experiences with her companions Inu and Neko. It’s a fun, quick read and people who take care of a cat or a dog will probably relate to some of the stories. 

After you’ve exercised and filled your belly with a tasty “homemade” meal, wrap up in a warm blanket, cuddle up with your four-legged friend, and enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate while you read a good book. 

Have a happy Fall everyone!  

Garfield (my baby!)

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