October is quickly coming to an end, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, it’s usually one of my busiest months of the year. It’s when I most feel like I’m always rushing from one thing to the next and, unfortunately, this flurry of activity generally makes me feel like I’m losing the plot on my goals.
Say what you want about New Jersey, but the relatively tiny state that seems to bear the brunt of so many jokes has a lot to offer. In case you didn’t know, I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood growing up in the Garden State, and the years I spent there were happy ones.
In what seems to be a surprising new tradition over the past two years, my mom and I have spent the second weekend in October traveling back to a special place that held so much meaning for us to do all of our favorite Jersey things.
Almost. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea too.
We’ve been going to Battleview Orchards for as long as I can remember. It’s the spot where I last went apple picking, but honestly, I really go for the hot apple cider doughnuts, fresh from the fryer and covered in cinnamon sugar. With a plethora of pumpkins and gourds and mums for the purchasing, it is perhaps the most fall-festooned place you’ll ever see.
New Jersey Botanical Gardens
Welp, they don’t call it the Garden State for nothing. Located in the northern part of the state, near the border of New York, the New Jersey Botanical Gardens at Ringwood State Park are really lovely in the spring when everything is in bloom. Autumn, however, brings the fall festival with lots of food, family-friendly activities and vendors selling their fall-themed wares. This year’s festival attendance got a boost from good weather and our pursuit of a parking spot landed us near beautiful Shepherd Lake, a vista I’d never have discovered if it hadn’t been for the crowds. See–the silver lining is there if you look for it.
My mom’s favorite place in the world is in and around Chester, New Jersey, but unfortunately, we had to skip visiting Cliff’s Dairy Maid for a cone of her favorite ice cream. We did, however, attempt to pass by Alstede Farms, one of our favorite summer harvesting activities. In fall, however, Alstede’s gets really popular, with people and cars flooding the fields around the property. For the second time in as many years, we decided to take a hard pass on the crowds, vowing to return during a slower time of year.
And while I wasn’t able to check any of the items from my fall bucket list, it was still a wonderful few days in a place that retains a special place in my heart.
Ask knitters ‘Why do you knit?’ and you’ll hear stories from people who love the challenge, those who enjoy creating something unique, or knitters who enjoy giving to people they love. But whatever our reasons, what unites us as knitters, is that we all go on a journey, and it’s in that journey that we find moments to contemplate, relax and feel at peace with ourselves.
For the Record is a look back at the month that was: I share my current obsessions, future plans, and other snapshots from a life in progress.
Early fall is one of my busiest times of the year and September followed true to form. I spent the first post-Labor Day weekend away, the second and third weekends working, and the last weekend in bed, trying to recover from one of the most virulent colds I’ve had in a long time. Still side-eyeing the colleague who passed it on.
I’m on the mend, though, and ready to get back at it. Here’s what been happening, for the record: Continue reading →
Happy fall, friends!
It’s no secret that autumn’s my favorite season. This time of the year is tailor-made for the wearing of your coziest sweaters, curling up in front of a roaring fire, and sipping on something hot (preferably hot chocolate or that seasonal standby the pumpkin spice latte). Throw in a few gray skies and a good book or craft project, and you have what I consider to be the plan for a perfect fall day. Continue reading →
For the Record is a look back at the month that was: I share my current obsessions, future plans, and other snapshots from a life in progress. Continue reading →
It’s been a pretty dry summer. I mean that literally–a nearly monthlong stretch of 90-plus degree days, anyone?–and figuratively. Usually at this point in the year, I’ve been on a couple of trips, with another trip or two lined up in the coming months, invariably spending my time vacillating between giddiness and anticipation. Continue reading →
Even though I live and work in Seattle, I don’t often take time to explore the city. A shame, right? There’s a world-class destination right outside my front door, yet I find myself bouncing between work and my apartment, rarely spending time checking out this amazing place I call home.
Continue reading →
I won’t get into the details, but on a scale of one to ten, my stress levels right now feel like they’re sitting at a solid 11. There’s a lot going on in my life (mostly good, which I’m excited about), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few moments when I feel like I’m skating on the edge of panic. Instead of freaking out, I’m taking a moment to slow down and remind myself of some ways I can more effectively manage stress.
Writing it down
The most stressful periods in my life are brought on when I’ve got a lot of open tasks and I don’t feel like I have enough time to do it all. The sensation of feeling overwhelmed usually stems from carrying around a mental task list in lieu of getting it all out of my brain and onto paper. Writing down tasks that feel like they’re breathing down my neck clears the mental clutter and helps me to focus on doing one thing at a time. If, like me, your stress stems from several different areas in your life, try this simple approach to task organization favorited by Christine Merrill of C’est Christine.
Taking a mental break
Some might call it avoidance (which isn’t healthy when practiced over long periods of time), but a little bit of escapism isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes picking up a juicy novel or watching a favorite film with a happy ending is all it takes for me to get lost in a different world and then come back fresh to the tasks at hand. It’s usually much easier to attack my to-do list when it hasn’t been top-of-mind for an hour or two.
Working up a sweat
I’ve been running on and off over the past two decades and during that time, pounding the pavement has never failed to drop my stress levels like a stone. Thanks to the feel-good endorphins that flood your body during and just after physical activity, I consistently experience an enhanced sense of well-being following a good run. For those times when the weather isn’t cooperating, jumping on the exercise bike for a few minutes or putting on some upbeat tunes and dancing around the living room like no one’s watching work too.
Working with my hands
Knitting is hands-down one of my favorite ways to de-stress. There’s just something hypnotic and meditative about the quiet repetition of knitting and purling stitches even if it’s just for a quick 15-minute knit break. Studies have shown that activities like knitting can lower your blood pressure and reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol. The best part? Knitting is not only meditative–it’s also productive since I’m making a practical item at the same time that I’m lowering stress.
Clearing it out
Are you surrounded by unnecessary clutter? That might be a big part of why you’re feeling so overwhelmed. It makes sense, right? A cluttered home or desk are a physical, visual reminder of all of the stuff you have to do that isn’t done, and doesn’t exactly promote restfulness. So I’ll be spending the next few days cleaning up to help keep my mind clear and focused for the priority tasks I need to handle.
You’d better believe I’ll be referencing and re-referencing this post in the immediate and distant future when everything starts to feel like it’s just too much. Hope you found it helpful, too.