Autumn can be a stressful time. School is back in session, holidays are on the horizon, and everyone seems to be busy, if not overwhelmed. With digital devices buzzing and growing to-do lists, prioritizing personal wellness and fostering a positive climate can be challenging.
Thankfully, October is Farm to School Month and the celebration provides many opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. Below are 4 activities to try this month. Share your ideas in the comment section below or via Twitter using @healthiergen.
Enjoy a Friendship Salad Bar
If you’ve explored the new Healthier Generation Assessment for Out-of-School Time, you know we encourage out-of-school time providers to incorporate seasonal and locally produced fruits and vegetables into snack and meal time. Gather your tribe (and invite new friends) to a salad bar potluck featuring produce from your local farmer’s market.
Have Fall Festival Fun
Flip the switch on your cell phone for the day and relax at your local Fall Harvest Festival. Headed to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard? Cultivate awareness and STEM education by measuring your find and counting the seeds inside; get your hands dirty and take your time to enjoy the experience. Then, try a new recipe (like healthy pumpkin pudding) and create your own pumpkin container garden as a visual reminder of your commitment to health.
Focus on Mindful Enrichment and Intentional Movement
Inexpensive blank bookmarks and leftover art supplies make for an afternoon of reflective writing with nature poems. Play some peaceful music and enjoy plenty of healthy hydration. Here are even more nutrition enrichment resources to explore. Grab a teammate or a new friend and find your favorite outdoor spot for some peaceful yoga or a mindfulness walk – listen to the birds and animals around you and be appreciative for taking a few minutes out of your day for your mental and physical health.
Make a Difference, Together
Team up with youth leaders and do a food waste audit for your organization. Identify a few strategies to encourage recycling and composting. Find ideas in the tool-kit, Reducing Food Waste in Out-of-School Time. Reflect on your own personal practices and identify a few steps you can take daily to consume mindfully.
BONUS: Cultivate a “Take What You Need” Mentality
As I was writing this article, one of my teammates shared an idea they saw at an afterschool program; a “take what you need” wall. The bulletin board had envelopes labeled with feelings (e.g. love, hope, humility). Inside each envelope were quotes and inspirations. Farm to School Month is a great time to reflect on environmental stewardship – a tangible bridge to how important it is to take care of ourselves and each other.
For even more ideas to celebrate Farm to School Month, download the full Celebration Toolkit. For resources to create healthier school and out-of-school environments, visit healthiergeneration.org
For breakfast, I had a Green Monster smoothie (get the recipe here).