What comes to mind when you think of Fall? For me it’s the scent of crisp apples, warm colors–red, gold, burnt orange, and the nip in the air in the early morning. Fall is my favorite season! Here in New England, we love the festivities that autumn brings–hay rides at local farm fairs, cinnamon spiced cider, and of course pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins! Just thinking about it makes me want to grab a slice of pie.

It’s also the time of year when we love to get cozy–swapping out cotton tees for brushed flannels, and pairing leggings with various heights of suede, leather, or vegan boots. We feather our nests with freshly laundered throws in anticipation of Netflix nights. Our salad cravings give way to warmer indulgences.

But Fall is not all warm and fuzzy. Those of us with kiddos in the house are also distinctly aware that it comes with a catch: back to school. (Oh, the grade schoolers’ groaning and teenagers’ door slams!) Inching back from late bedtimes and summer days filled with popsicles and play dates is no small feat. And the reintroduction of homework is often enough to bring everyone to tears–parents included!

Getting back on a regular schedule can be really challenging. The shorter days can affect our mood and productivity, adding to the difficulty. So, how might we head into Fall to maximize its gifts while easing into its demands?



Attitude can be everything. Remember the fairs and pie? Bringing mindfulness to our Fall favorites helps us focus on what we love about the season. Schedule the road trip to go apple picking. Look up the county fair dates. Get that ginger pudding recipe from your co-worker. Personally, my attitude improves exponentially when I have something to look forward to. 

Having a few fun activities on the calendar can also help those aforementioned kiddos keep moving: “Yes, your AP Chem teacher is THE WORST for scheduling a test tomorrow. Text a friend, we’ll go to the Fryeburg Fair this weekend.” (For more parenting tips/bribes, follow me.)

Perhaps leaf peeping is more your speed. Is there a little B&B you adore in the White Mountains/VT/insert your scenic locale of choice? How about a relaxing grown ups only weekend to connect with one another under a canopy of colorful fall foliage? Or a glamping trip with cool hikes? You could take the dog on those trails in your neighborhood you’ve been meaning to investigate. What is important is that you find joy in the activity. Sometimes simply having tea with a good friend is just what we need to stay grounded.

Think about what you love, and give yourself those gifts in a tangible way. 



Admittedly, I am Type A. (Full disclosure: I’ve already ordered myself a 2024 Tomoe River paper planner because that’s how I roll.) If you are a free spirit who can get by on your wit and the good vibes of your ancestors, feel free to skip this discussion on organizational tools.

I have found it to be generally true that a little organization on the front end can help avoid frustration when in the thick of things. Using a personal planner to keep track of responsibilities and commitments can be a useful starting place. A planner–whether paper or electronic–is a purposeful tool to make our lives easier. I think of it as a sort of ‘home base’ where I can revisit appointments, readjust plans as needed, set goals, etc. Along with being useful for us as individuals, for those who care for aging parents or who juggle the schedules of multiple children, a planner is indispensable. 

It’s also worth noting that besides keeping appointments, there are planners geared towards personal reflection, as well as journaling or creating art. So beyond keeping us organized, a planner can help us check in with ourselves–which is always a healthy practice. I find that when my schedule is particularly busy, it helps me to follow through on taking restorative breaks when I’ve penciled them in.

Paper planners can be as basic as a spiral bound Blue Sky, or the well-known Moleskine. There are different types of paper for an upscale experience, like Tomoe River paper–which is used by Hobonichi. The styles and layouts across various brands are really endless. 

Apps, too, are available for every niche. For example, I recently learned that there are organizational apps geared specifically for those with ADHD. My husband has taken to using Microsoft To Do, but there are a wide variety of types based on specific needs. For students, apps like Google Calendar or iHomework2, the latter of which actually helps with accomplishing longer term assignments, can assist with staying on target. Strides is one of many personal goal setting apps available that allows you to set goals at your own pace.

As we get back into regular routines this Fall, it’s a great time to organize our schedules, create goals, and continue (or start new) healthy habits. 



Summer may be over, but spending time outdoors is ideally something we take advantage of year round. The health benefits that come with being out in nature have been well documented. For example, in Japan, the term “Forest bathing”–shinrin-yoku–emerged in the 1980’s to combat tech fatigue and encourage residents to reconnect with the country’s national forests. By the 90’s, there was ample evidence to support the benefits of this form of ecotherapy. Spending time in nature was linked to lowered stress and anxiety levels, a more robust immune system, elevated mood, increased energy and focus, and decreased blood pressure. 

Fun fact: the phytoncides that trees produce not only have antibacterial and antifungal properties that help them fight disease, but when we breathe these chemicals in, our own bodies begin to increase our production and quantity of powerful disease fighting cells (called NK or “Natural Killer” cells) that fight viruses and tumors. Thank you, Mother Nature!

It isn’t necessary to have access to an entire forest to reap these health benefits. A nature bath can be enjoyed wherever there are a few trees, and where we can be mindful of our surroundings–our backyard, a local park, a nature reserve or trail system. 

An example of a 5-10 minute nature bath: (For maximum benefit, stow electronics away.) 

  • Sit (or walk) with openness and intention. Become aware of all that is available to your senses: the feeling of sunlight on your skin, a gentle breeze, perhaps the scent of cedar, the flutter of birds as they chirp from higher branches, the soft moss growing near the tree roots… 
  • Consider your connection to this living world as you take it in. 
  • Become mindful of your breath. 
  • Relax your shoulders. 
  • Take a deep breath in from your belly, hold a moment, then release the breath slowly. Notice your muscles relaxing and your mind begin to quiet. Another deep breath in, hold, then release. 
  • Allow yourself to feel supported by the earth beneath you. 
  • Let your brow relax. Keep breathing–slow, deep breaths. 
  • Know that you are part of this beauty. 
  • Inhale clean, clear air, exhale any tightness or stress in your body. Repeat as many times as you wish. 
  • Slowly become aware again of your surroundings–the trees, the birds, the dappled sunlight. 
  • Let your breath become regular, as you bring that feeling of calm with you throughout your day.

Guided meditations for nature bathing are available online, and it’s also worth a google search to see what in person experiences might be offered in your area. For those here on the seacoast, Wells Reserve at Laudholm has held Fall guided forest bathing on their trails in past years. 

Two reminders: after any outdoor activity, remember those tick checks! Also, it’s time to restart taking Vitamin D. The more subtle autumn sun is not enough by itself to keep us at healthy levels here in New England. QFH recommends a vitamin D supplement from now until late Spring.



If I had personal headlines running through my mind, this is a story that would be featured repeatedly. A slow cooker, IMHO, is a must have…especially for those of us living where the temperatures trend downward as Fall sets in. For one thing, who doesn’t love coming home from a busy day to dinner already being done? Preparing a meal earlier on when we have more energy can make the process more enjoyable. Having a meal ready to go at day’s end also increases the likelihood that we will eat something nutritious, as we won’t be tempted to munch on sea salt and vinegar potato chips instead of cooking. (Anyone?! Just me?)

The cooler months are a perfect time to start making comforting one pot meals: chilis, stews, soups… We can play with seasonal squash offerings: butternut or pumpkin squash adds depth to stews and soups. 

If your slow cooker is of the Instant Pot varieties, the pressure cook setting opens up even more options. Making a vegetable or chicken rice/noodle soup can be done super fast. This is handy on days when prepping food in the morning wasn’t an option. (See: Sleeping Through My Alarm.) To maximize time efficiency, I put the broth into the pot and set it on “Saute” (my machine’s high heat setting) so that the liquid will be nice and hot by the time I’m ready to add the chopped veggies. Using leftover/precooked chicken means less cooking time as well. Once everything is in the Instant Pot, it only takes 7-12 minutes on high pressure for the soup to cook–depending upon the ingredients and what size the chopped vegetables are.


Summer must inevitably come to a close, but autumn offers its own brand of warmth. It’s a season of becoming cozy, renewing (or beginning) healthy routines, enjoying vibrant colors and spices, and making soothing comfort food.

As we head into Fall, may we enjoy in good health all that it has to offer. 

From our Quinn Family Health family to yours, 

Kathryn Yingst

Front Desk Staff



GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN PANCAKES (King Arthur Baking. Kathryn likes to add grated apple to the mixture.)




CREAMY CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP (A favorite of Rachel’s)


  • 2-3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
  • 32 oz chicken bone broth
  • 2 cans of Pacific Foods organic cream of chicken soup
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 or 3 potatoes, sliced and diced
  • Bayleaves (2-3)
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1.5 tsp dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Cornstarch slurry

Saute onions, garlic and celery until soft — add to crockpot.

Add all other veggies, chicken, broth and herbs to the crockpot, stir well.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

Before serving, add slurry to the bubbling crockpot, stir well. Then add juice of half a lemon to brighten flavors, remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

Serve with cornbread or biscuits, if desired.




  • 1 butternut squash (2.5 lbs)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage OR 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine (or vegan margarine)
  • 4 C chicken broth*
  • 1 small, tart apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon OR lime juice
  • Pepper to taste


  • ⅓ C sour cream**
  • ½ tsp lemon OR lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated lemon OR lime peel

*Vegetable broth can be substituted for vegans/vegetarians.

**Plant based or lactose free sour cream can be substituted, if desired.

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until tender.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash. Place squash in a bowl and mash; set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute onion, sage and allspice in butter until tender. Add broth and apple. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until the apple is tender, about 8 minutes. Add reserved squash. Simmer for 5 minutes longer. Cool until lukewarm.

Process in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Or use a hand blender to process.) Return to the pan. Add the lemon juice and pepper. Heat through.

Combine topping ingredients. Place a dollop on each serving.


caring for our families, caring for ourselves 


Talk to yourself as you would someone you love. — Brené Brown

Do you remember being in school on Valentine’s Day? The tiny cards being passed around with shy glances… Perhaps finding an anonymous declaration of love in your pile via sweetheart candy: “Be Mine.” “Secret Admirer.” “Super Star.” The day was both exciting and completely awkward.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are somewhat murky–there were at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus which may have played a part, as well as the ancient Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia which took place in mid February. In modern times, the holiday is celebrated by offering kindness and small gifts to those we love.

Perhaps we enjoy a special dinner out with a partner. Or we send frosted treats into our child’s classroom. Or we cuddle up to watch a gloriously cheesy Hallmark movie. If we find ourselves at a loss for ideas, retailers are happy to tell us how we could best express our feelings. (I mean, the KAY Jewelers commercials alone…) 

The people in our lives appreciate knowing how much we love them. There is no downside to spreading good vibes! But culturally, we don’t tend to give that same attention to caring for ourselves. We take in many subtle and not so subtle messages about how to be a “good” (i.e. selfless) parent and/or spouse. But the reality is, if we never refill our own tanks, we won’t have the reserves to care for our loved ones.

Too often, we get to the end of the day and realize that we are burnt out. We have cared for our children or aging family members, met the demands of work–both inside and outside of the home, and ran all of the errands. We may or may not have taken a moment to check in with ourselves. How are we feeling? What might WE need today?

An important first step in self care is cultivating mindfulness as we go about our day. To keep in touch with our feelings so that we don’t end up losing ourselves as we try to keep up with our responsibilities. To be just as compassionate towards ourselves as we are with our loved ones. Or, as Brené Brown says, “Talk to yourself as you would someone you love.” 

Does our inner voice sound like someone we would befriend in the outside world, or would we never in a million years choose to hang out with them? Spending time with a judgemental person is terribly draining–and we are with ourselves 24/7! When we observe how we speak to ourselves, we can make adjustments as needed. For many of us, using positive self-talk can take a bit of practice, especially if we received negative messages growing up. But our gentleness will promote healing from the inside out. So, how do we improve our inner dialogue?

Dr. Kristin Neff has some thoughts. She is a leading research psychologist in self compassion–a pioneer in her field with over twenty years experience. Dr. Neff’s website ( offers tips, as well as guided meditations to help begin the practice of self compassion. The guided meditations start at five minutes long–completely doable even on a busy day!

“Research indicates that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience we have available to us, radically improving our mental and physical wellbeing.” — Dr. Kristin Neff

Another way we can take care of ourselves throughout the day is to capitalize on small moments while we go about our other tasks. Playing music that makes us happy while paying the bills (which definitely does NOT make us happy). Taking five minutes to stretch before we start the morning. Running a warm bath before bed to let our muscles soak, mixing in a couple drops of our favorite essential oil. Lighting a naturally scented candle. 

Making time for ourselves takes a little creativity, but we benefit from the cumulative effect. Here are some quick respite ideas from the QFH staff:



Rachel loves listening to ocean sounds on Spotify. Practicing slow, deliberate breaths at the same time is even more calming.

Dr. Quinn likes meditating using the Square Breathing Technique while she’s waiting for her kids to get ready.

She also likes to sneak in exercise by doing wall/counter push-ups, squats. Air boxing and playing with dogs can be fun too! 

Dr. Alyssa is a nature enthusiast. Even when the weather is less than ideal, she will get outside to reset and breathe fresh air. Five minutes still counts!

Kathryn also loves nature bathing. When she has a few moments in between errands, she likes to find a scenic spot to pull over and enjoy the view with some hot tea. Kathryn also believes in the joy of dark chocolate.

Jackie begins her mornings by getting up early. She makes herself a cup of tea, lights a few naturally scented candles, and meditates. This calm, soothing start helps to set the trajectory of her day.

Let’s say we’ve succeeded in using a few moments to recharge throughout our day. We then face our ultimate trial-by-fire: dinnertime. How do we maintain our Zen when one of the little people in our families inevitably begins a full blown hunger melt down? (Full disclosure: In my family, that person is usually me.) Besides ordering take out–which is a sanity saver in a pinch–we can practice self care by keeping meal prep simple.

Here are some of our staff go-to’s for easy and nourishing meals on the fly:



Dr. Marley’s Beefed Up Pasta:

Brown ground beef in a skillet, then drain. Add beef to a good quality jarred pasta sauce and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over your favorite GF pasta.

Kathryn’s Veggie Pasta:

Saute chopped broccoli for 4-5 minutes in a cast iron skillet w/ olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Toss over GF pasta. Sprinkle with pine nuts or sliced almonds, nutritional yeast, and another drizzle of olive oil.

Dr. Quinn’s Pizza Rounds:

Choose your favorite GF english muffins or GF bread for the crust. Top with a quality jarred sauce, pre-cooked chicken, veggies (pre-chopped from the market is easiest), and cheese of choice. Add a dash of Italian seasoning blend and/or garlic powder and toast until the cheese is melted.

Rachel’s Breakfast Is Best:

Top your favorite cereal with milk and sliced fruit. Or whisk up a quick omelet using pre-sliced veggies like mushrooms and/or baby spinach.

Nancy’s Prime Planning:

On a day when more time is available, pre-form burger patties and freeze them individually for future use. Change up seasonings for interest. On a busy day, the patties can be thawed in a short time, then cooked to preference. Serve on a GF bun with a side salad.

Another plan ahead tip: when time allows, double the quantity of a meal you are already making so there will be enough for a second dinner that week.


Do you have your own meditative moments or quick dinner ideas that you’d like to share? Please let us know! 

On this Valentine’s Day and always, may we remember to offer ourselves the same care we give to our loved ones. By practicing gentle self-talk, claiming restorative moments, and keeping meals manageable, we give ourselves the daily grounding we need to show up for others, and we restore our own health as well.

QFH Front Desk Staff

Beat Seasonal Depression to the Punch!

It seems like just yesterday I was boogie boarding and swimming in the ocean after my work days, now it is getting dark and cold! The days are getting shorter and the temps are dropping. How do we keep our moods up through the fall and winter in New England?

  • Stay active every day. This can be running after your kids, having your kids run after you, walk with a friend, put on a favorite aerobic workout, do yoga in the living room or at a studio, run the stairs, wake up and do 15 min of exercise. The point is to move your body, 30 min a day for adults and two hours a day for children, yes every day.
  • Get outside. Wear the right clothes and all weather can be lovely. Enjoy the change of seasons by walking, hiking, ice skating, sitting outside by a fire with friends, visiting a park or playground, go to the beach, go sledding, learn how to skate ski, go downhill skiing, or have tea outside in the sunshine.  
  • Get adequate sleep. Go to bed earlier this winter and wake with the sun, it is lovely! For those of you who struggle with sleep, use Melatonin for a week after the time change 1-3mg is usually all you will need to reset your own clock. 
  • Eat healthy comfort foods. Roast your veggies instead of munching on them raw, make soup, make healthy meals for yourself every day and then have warm leftovers the next day. Find a new recipe every week to try out.  Spend time making yourself and family a nice breakfast every day: I like overnight oats with walnuts, ground flax, blueberries and almond milk, or eggs, avocado and salsa on a slice of gluten free toast.  
  • Are you taking vitamin D? IF you have not had your levels checked or if you tend to run low, make sure you check levels and are taking enough every day, this will help your mood! Most adults need 5,000IU daily, most kids are deficient so depending on age and weight, remember their vitamin D too. 
  • Sunshine and light is important so improve the lighting in your home and let the sunshine in whenever possible. Purchase a daylight-sunlight lamp if you feel you need it, these can be used for 20-30 minutes daily. 
  • B vitamins are essential for happy moods. I like a basic methylated B Complex or a stress B complex for us adults and a great quality methylated children’s multi for our kids throughout the darker times of the year. 
  • Friends and Family time is important to prevent depression. Keep it positive and plan activities that will help bring you closer, laughing together is even better. I like game night! Start a book club with like minded friends or family- this can be virtual or in person.

Ask for support. There are many natural treatments for seasonal depression and anxiety, we are happy to help you create a plan for your unique needs.

-Dr Quinn