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Lifestyle & Travel

Six Summer Habits to Continue in the Fall

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The pleasures of summer fade too quickly for many of us. We can’t prevent temperatures from dropping or command the sun to remain out until 8 pm as the weeks go by.

But as fall approaches we can make a commitment to continue some of the habits and activities that make summer so joyful. Here’s how:

 Spend time outside. According to an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. The Harvard Health Letter notes that “as we get older we become even more inclined not to venture out.” The summer is often the exception to the rule, with visits to the beach or to backyard barbecues. That time out of doors in nature has benefits for both physical and mental well-being. Before the deep freeze of winter sets in, why not set an intention to step outside your door for 20 or 30 minutes a day. The best way to follow this intention is to make a habit of it; a daily walk around the block after you pick up the mail; a post-dinner stroll with the dog.

 Gather with friends. Those barbecues or picnics are enjoyable not just because the food is good but because you’re enjoying it with friends. Keep the communal meals going by starting a weekly breakfast club at a neighborhood diner or happy hour at a local restaurant. Can’t find a friend for a Thursday happy hour? You might try venturing on your own, especially if it’s to a place you regularly frequent. You’ll likely find other people who are solo, enjoying half-priced appetizers and a glass of wine or beer.

Be adventurous. Somehow the stakes seem lower when you’re going to a concert outdoors or enjoying a play at the park. Many of us have a carefree, why-not spirit when it comes to summer outings. That relaxed approach can survive the change of seasons. After all, entertainment doesn’t have to be a splurge, especially with senior-priced tickets. Search online for “fun and affordable things to do near me.” You’ll likely be surprised at what you’ll find. Some local symphonies, for example, offer free or low-cost tickets to dress rehearsals of upcoming performances.

Grow something. Eating tomatoes, basil, or strawberries that you’ve grown in your own backyard garden is deeply satisfying. But even when your herbs and vegetables go to seed as the summer ends, you can maintain the joy of cultivation with a windowsill herb garden. And, for those without outdoor space, it’s a great way to discover your inner green thumb.

 Chill out. Whether it’s improvising dinner with pasta and whatever veggies we have on hand or inviting friends at the spur of the moment to come over for a glass of iced tea or a wine spritzer, we’re often more spontaneous in the summer. That open attitude doesn’t need to end in September. Drop by a local comedy club. Take that one-day class in making bread or pottery that you’ve always thought about checking out. It’s not a big commitment! Invite the kids, grandkids, or some friends over for a Saturday afternoon experiment in pizza making.

 Take a vacation without leaving home. Vacations don’t need to be a once-a-year splurge. Head over to the town next to yours or two towns away and stroll its main street. Shop at a supermarket that specializes in Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Filipino, or Lebanese ingredients; whatever is unfamiliar to you. Then look up recipes online and cook up something new. Turn off the television and browse a travel book about a destination you’ve always wanted to visit. If you have a library card, you can access electronic books and publications on the spot. Best of all, with all these no-travel vacations, there’s no jetlag and no long lines at customs!

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