Have you ever noticed how the autumn harvest season, though beautiful and rich, has a sense of urgency to it? There’s food to put up, animals to butcher, gardens to deal with and foraging that has to happen now or you’ll miss it altogether!
This time of year, life is often overwhelming.
There’s always more that could be done, more that should have been accomplished. Certainly I’m not the only one who faces these moments! My to-do list often requires more than I feel capable of.
It’s important to remember that we make our own choices. Let’s choose well. Here are 6 practices which, if implemented, will help you survive and even enjoy the fall harvest season.
Harvest Practice #1: Adequate Sleep
Aim for adequate amounts of sleep. Give yourself a bedtime during the fall season. If needed, set an alarm on your phone as a reminder. And make effort to sleep on the right side of the clock.
An honest confession? I sometimes laugh at the thought of a set bedtime. I’m sure you do too!
There are days when we need an extra hour (or two) to accomplish a pressing task. Go ahead! Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, take the cut on sleep. Finish the task and then return to a regular bedtime.
If you find yourself sacrificing sleep on a regular basis, remember that sleep deprived people act sleep deprived. Not a a good idea when juggling a canner full of hot food. Or trying to manage your children in the midst of putting up 10 bushels of beans.
Harvest Practice #2: Prioritize & Choose
Before starting into a busy day, make yourself a to-do list. Choose your essentials. What can’t wait until tomorrow? Begin the day with these necessary tasks.
Also take a realistic look at what you can let go of entirely. Often we don’t really need to accomplish everything we want to accomplish.
In it all, don’t lose sight of what is most important. Is it your faith life? Marriage? Kids? A friend? Rest for your own sanity?
Keep your wits about you during the rush. You are making choices every day and do have the ability to determine your course.
Harvest Practice #3: Recruit Help
Don’t muddle your way through harvest season! Is the work taking you away from friends and relationships? Those heaping piles of produce, are they completely overwhelming you? Perhaps you are facing burnout?
Time to invite others in. Ask interested friends, neighbors or family members to join your activities. Offer them a portion of the finished product in return for their help. Do you need a babysitter? Have someone care for the kids so you can tend to the work!
It doesn’t get more old fashioned than that!
At its heart, this truly is traditional living! No one can do it all themselves, particularly when it comes to putting your own food by! Throw a harvest party and get the job done!
Harvest Practice #4: Take Moments of Rest
Take short breaks from the harvest and put your feet up. Every day offers at least one opportunity! Perhaps when the pressure canner is jiggling away? Take a breather in whatever manner best refreshes you!
Harvest Practice #5: Make Work Enjoyable
When weariness sets in, its easy to lose focus. Half the battle is in your mind! Instead of looking at and dreading the work before you, find something else to focus on.
Put on your favorite music. Listen to a podcast. Play an audio book. Have a child read to you. Suddenly, the task becomes very manageable and will be accomplished before you know it!
Harvest Practice #6: Awareness of Surroundings
Instead of rushing through every task, take 10 seconds to acknowledge your surroundings.
If harvesting in the garden, stop to notice the beauty of nature. Let it soak in. Breathe the fresh air and listen to the birds! Then carry on.
Instead of frantically rushing food through the canner, pause for a moment. Enjoy the shape, colors and texture of your produce. Have you even stopped to wonder over the fuzzy hairs on a peach? The pattern found on every pit?
Make time at the end of each day to enjoy the work of your hands. Leave dinner’s dishes on the counter. Open up cupboards or take a walk into the pantry. Look at what you’ve done! Allow satisfaction to settle over you for a moment.
Take pride in your accomplishments! Food put by is like a nutritious, healthy, well-earned paycheck. You’ve worked hard for it! Acknowledge this.
Then, it’s time to return to the real world-yes, the one that’s always full of dirty dishes! Decide whether you should wash them now or catch an early bedtime!