Fall is here, and I know what you’re thinking: how is another year already coming to an end? The weather will be less than perfect, the days are getting shorter, and we tend to get a little… lazy and sometimes even sad.
You kind of can’t help but think of the time passing by, as you watch the leaves change their colors and nature preparing itself for its winter sleep and spring rebirth. In my experience, people either love this time of year, or they get the autumn blues and experience feelings of increased nervousness and anxiety. Some of us also get affected by the change in weather and the lack of natural light. I kind of tend to go back and forth with this, but I mostly enjoy fall season, even if there is some lingering end-of-the-year anxiety buried somewhere deep within.
Whether fall is one of your favorite, or least favorite seasons, it’s important to continue to make an effort to look after yourself. You don’t have to give in to the gloominess and spend your evenings planted in front of the TV. This time of year is great for diving into things like cooking, reading, focusing on self-growth, decluttering, organizing and… slowing down.
13 SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR FALL
SET UP THE MOOD
Don’t give in to those dark and chilly days- try to embrace them, instead. Set up the mood by hanging up pretty lights, burning your favorite scented candles and dig out your favorite blankets and cozy knits. These are some of the things that will help brighten up those long, dark evenings.
GET MORE LIGHT
Ahh, yes… speaking of brightening things up: get more light. Maximize the natural light that comes your way- one of the best ways to do this is by using window sheers instead of heavy curtains or placing mirrors opposite big windows. A quick walk in the morning or going out to lunch instead of eating at your desk at work is also a nice way of soaking up some more of that sunshine.
SPEND SOME TIME OUTSIDE
During warmer months we love spending time outdoors, but throughout those dark and gloomy days that come with fall… we tend to get a little lazy. As we already established though, every season brings us special gifts. One of the best gifts we receive this time of year is its beauty. The stunning fall foliage, the crispier air, that autumn sunshine, and the calmness it brings. Take advantage of those sunny weekend mornings and go for a long walk, spend some time in nature, even on those cooler days.
Indulge in the things that make your body feel good- do some foam rolling and stretching to keep your muscles flexible. Yoga and foam rolling have both done amazing things for my back since my injury. Foam rolling is great for relieving soreness and tightness and it’s a nice way to give yourself a self-massage before or after your workouts and warm up those muscles.
It’s November, and this means that the holiday craze is just around the corner. It also means that there are probably some stressful times coming your way. Getting together with your family for Thanksgiving and Christmas is always fun, but I mean… let’s not kid ourselves. All the cooking, cleaning, prepping, planning, getting everyone together- it can all be a bit much, even for those of us who are very organized. This is why it’s important to slow down a bit before life gets a little hectic and crazy again. You can find some ideas for slowing down in this post.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep is one of the most underrated aspects of wellness- one we don’t appreciate until we get a little older. It’s actually one of the most important parts of your wellness and self-care routine. If there is only one thing you can do from this list, it should be getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis carries increased risks of obesity, heart disease, you’ll also be more prone to mood changes and memory issues. Developing a good sleep/nighttime routine is one of the most important things you can do for your wellbeing. If you have trouble getting enough sleep during the night or struggle with nighttime anxiety you can see what helped me in this post and this one. I’ve suffered from insomnia for many, many years and take it from me: it doesn’t matter how healthy you eat or how much exercise you get- if you don’t get enough sleep sooner or later it will catch up with you.
SWITCH THINGS UP… IN THE KITCHEN
Try incorporating some of those fall superfoods into your diet. Fall also gives the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to some comfort food. You can try a new, exciting recipe or maybe re-discover an old one, maybe something that you loved to eat when you were little?
RE-VISIT YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS
Cuddling up with a book on a gloomy, rainy, fall day is the best, isn’t it? Discovering new authors and stories is fun, but re-visiting old favorites can also give you a ton of pleasure and bring back beautiful memories. Every year, right around this time I re-visit some of those old favorites. Sometimes, even when you read a book 10 times, you get to discover new things about it, each time you read it.
DEVICE FREE FUN WITH THE FAMILY
Schedule in some play time, without any screen time. Self-care doesn’t have to include things you only do by yourself. We recently started a tradition where one Saturday a month we get together with Mark, my brother, and sister and play board games. Everyone has their favorite game so we take turns playing different ones. There’s yelling, laughing, sometimes some screaming, but my favorite part is that no one reaches for their phone for hours- which is something that never happens.
STAY WARM AND COZY
Other than owls, there’s another thing I collect: blankets and throws. I have throws and blankets for all occasions and even some of my family and friends have their favorites stored in my closet, too. Keeping things cozy is another way to embrace those gloomy days and not let them affect your mood. I find that a heated blanket and a warm cup of tea make everything better- even if it’s me sitting in my home office working on something very dull and unexciting.
BE GOOD TO YOUR MIND + SOUL
When practicing self-care, remember that it’s not just your body that needs some loving. Even if you’re not prone to those fall/winter blues, it’s still important to be good to your mind and soul. Journaling and list-making are one of my favorite ways to get rid of that “mind clutter” and shift my focus into more positive things. You can try a book/journal like this one, which will walk you through the process. Meditation and deep-breathing exercises are also great.
GO FOR A LONG DRIVE
Every year, as the leaves begin to change color, I like to take a different route when coming home from work. While it takes me a bit longer to actually get home, I love driving through my old college campus which is huge and surrounded by beautiful trees and a lake. It’s such a small little thing, yet it never fails to put me in a good mood. I love seeing how the leaves fall and move, almost as if dancing in the wind. It kind of helps me get rid of that “work stress” and by the time I get home, I feel more calm and relaxed.
I always say that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing and it’s about a lot more than just taking long baths and slapping on a nice face mask. The truth is though, that sometimes after a very long, cold day, a warm cozy bath is just what you need. More about autumn pamper here.