The Three H’s of Autumn

The Three H’s of Autumn

The shorter summer days and crispness of the air are nature’s signals that it’s time to start preparing for winter. Depending on the climate where you live or are considering moving to, the list of tasks may seem endless. Here’s a shortlist of tasks that can be checked off your to-do list no matter where you reside.

Health

Taking care of your health is a top priority when preparing for the winter months. Autumn is the ideal time to visit your primary care physician (PCP) to make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccines and preventative health exams. Medical experts advise getting your annual flu shot in October for optimal protection from the upcoming flu season. Both the shingles and the pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for people over the age of sixty-five. It’s also a good time to discuss boosters with your physician. The tDAP and COVID-19 boosters may be required to keep you safe.

The noticeable drop in the number of daylight hours requires adjustments to your outdoor exercise schedule. Early morning and late afternoon exercise schedules can be modified in order to take advantage of the natural Vitamin D your body produces in sunlight. Exercising around lunchtime will help keep you fit and safe.

Home Care

Preparing your home for the winter months can be daunting, even in mild climates. Some tasks that can help get you started are clearing your gutters, drains, and walkways of debris. Slip and fall injuries can be avoided if proper maintenance is done beforehand. Now is the time to assess where the leaf litter piles up and schedule getting it removed before it becomes a hazard. There are exercise benefits that come from doing your own yard maintenance. However, in order to avoid injury, experts advise hiring professionals to clean your roof gutters and trim your trees.

Heating your home is crucial as the weather turns colder. Autumn is the ideal time to get your heating systems checked out. Fireplaces should be professionally inspected and swept. Natural gas heating systems and water tanks should be checked for CO2 leaks. You should inspect portable space heaters and electric blankets for any signs of excessive wear or exposed wiring, and replace them as needed.

Holidays

It may seem too early to think about preparing for the holidays. Still, there are tasks you can work through to make the time between late November and early January less stressful. Now is a good time to use the darkening hours of early evening to work on updating your holiday card list. Make sure the contact information for your family, friends, and work colleagues is correct and current. You will have a much better idea of how many cards you need to send if you take care of this task early.

This is also the time to consider making alternative plans for public events and family gatherings. Your health and safety are important and it’s up to you to assess the level of risk you’re willing to take to spend in person with people who don’t live with you. You may want to consider doing multiple gatherings of small groups rather than one big party. Or have “virtual” parties using a computer app like  ZOOM for a virtual group get-together. Having a backup plan will help you have a more enjoyable holiday season.

Even though it seems like summer will never end, it’s time to start taking care of health, home, and holiday tasks. By getting these chores completed, you will be more comfortable as winter approaches and have more time to enjoy the colors of fall.

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