The fall is usually a very hectic time: school is back in session; the workplace seems to be at its busiest time, traffic is worst between September and December (at least here in Victoria, BC) and before you know it is only a week until the winter holidays: presents need to be bought and wrapped, the house should have been decorated and you were supposed to enjoy the slower fall season with pumpkin spice, baking and cozying up with a blanket. Does this sound familiar?
Check out these 12 ways to reduce stress this fall and stay happy and healthy:
1. Get the right amount of sleep
This is what many people struggle with, but there is no way around it, the more quality sleep we get, the happier we are. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between ages 26 – 64 should get on average between 7-9 hrs of sleep per night. If you struggle with this as I do, try to set realistic guides on when to go to sleep. Challenge yourself every week to do better than last week and don’t be hard on yourself when you have not changed your habits in one week. It takes time.
2. Soak up the sun
As the days are getting shorter use any moment you can to spend outside. Sunlight triggers the brain to release serotonin, which is thought to help reduce stress, increase your mood and overall happiness.
3. Be active
You will likely not be surprised to see this point here. We all know that we should probably exercise more, but most of us struggle to incorporate time for working out into our hectic days. Try to think less exercise and more being active. Go for a quick walk during your lunch break. Park the car further away from work, run around with your children for 10 minutes before dinner is ready.
4. Schedule regular “Me” time
Yes, you can do it. Assess how you spend your day and find a pocket of time that you can dedicate to yourself. Start small and make your way up to one hour per day. When you work until late, being it either for work, your own business, or for household chores, you might start to feel resentment for not having time for yourself. Dedicate at least 30 minutes before going to bed to yourself. This will help you unwind and make you more productive the next day. Check out this neat infographic on “me time” by happify.
5. Start a project you wanted to do for a long time
Is there a DIY project or any other project (around the house, or a trip you wanted to make) that wanted to do for a long time? Schedule time for it now! It feels good ticking off one item off your list, whether it’s a chore or something that you are interested in.
I found a really cool vest on Pinterest that I wanted to crochet. Mind you I had learned to crochet when I was in elementary school and never done it since, but so what. Once it’s completed, I’ll post a picture.
6. Incorporate healthy eating habits, but treat yourself once in a while
If you are just starting out with healthy eating habits, track what you eat for one or two weeks. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll find on your list. I always am, even though I have been very health conscious for years now. Once you have figured out who the culprits in your diet are, try to substitute them with something healthier. Go easy on yourself. People find it rarely easy to change everything about their diet and then stick to it. Take a little bit less sugar in your coffee or limit the number of sweets you eat or pop you drink. I am certainly not an expert enough to go into lengths about healthy eating, Lauren and Alex over at Avocadu.com do a way better job at it. Check them out.
7. Give gratitude
This is a big one for sure. Giving gratitude will solve so many things for you. My favourite activity is to note down – at least once a week, but ideally every evening before going to bed – the things that I am grateful for. This will shift your focus on the things that you already have in your life. Once your mind is shifted to positive, you will notice more things to be grateful for or things that make you smile. The more positive vibes you send out there, the more you will receive back.
Give thanks to people around you, they might need to hear it more than you think.
8. Surround yourself with things that make you feel good (decorate your home/space)
When I think of fall, I think of cozy scarves (I LOVE scarves and even wear them in the summer), fall clothing (which is by far my favourite), blankets, hot tea, a fire in the oven, and fall decorations. Indulge yourself and shop for an item or two, but don’t get into a shopping frenzy. Material goods won’t make you happy in the long run, but surrounding yourself with a few key items that will make you feel good, can do wonders.
9. Do something for others/Give back
Much as with giving gratitude, giving back shifts your focus to the positive while knowing you made a difference in somebody’s life. Help a friend in need, or offer to help them without them asking, volunteer with a local organization if your time permits, or if you are hard pressed for time, consider donating. Every dollar counts. Even if you can only spare $5, your local non-profit organization will use it to help someone in need. Whatever makes your heart sing when you think about all these possibilities, choose that one. If you can, become a monthly donor, if not, one-time donations are just as much appreciated.
10. Your happy soundtrack
I bet you know exactly what music makes you happy. Have you ever tried to compile a playlist of those favourites? If you are like me, you like a wide arrange of music, but there are just a few songs that you connect with on deep level. They make your heart sing, so to speak. Have this playlist on your phone and whenever you need a dose of happy, put it on. Works like a charm anytime, trust me.
11. De-clutter one area of your home per week
Organizing and de-cluttering are liberating for the soul and mind. But again, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once. Start one drawer at a time and see how your home is being transformed. Plus, when you go slow, there are more items to tick off your to-do list. And that’s a good feeling any day put that special check-mark on your item list.
12. Start a bullet journal
Have you also seen these wondrous things on Pinterest or on the internet in general? The beautiful journals people seem to create with ease and in no time? And they look like so much fun. Besides the therapeutic creation of the journals, the content you put into these journals will help you with a lot of the above-mentioned points:
- You’ll get organized
- By creating these journals, you will spend time on yourself
- You can list the things that you are grateful for or went well. You’ll automatically focus on the positive.
- You’ll start ticking things off your to-do list because you can put your to-dos in there.
- You can track spending, eating habits, your mood, chores and so much more.
Stay tuned and find great resources here to help you create your own journal. It will be extra simple and fun!