As Autumn does it's best to settle in, I am reminded why this season is my favorite. The colors, the leaves dancing from their branches, and comfort in knowing that even when things are changing beauty can be found in the midst. I wait patiently for Autumn every year.
Often when the season's change, specifically when summer fades into fall and fall transitions into winter, our moods tend to swirl and shift right along with it. Around this time of year I am greeted with lots of emails and questions about happiness. The main inquiry being "how do I find my light" and "where can I go to find joy?" A lot of folks share similar concerns about feeling dull and being unable to find their happiness. I can relate to all of the above first hand.
Perhaps these feelings come to the surface because, during this time of year, the things around us start to settle and quiet down a little earlier, the temperature drops drastically in some places, and overall we are faced with change, and change, more times than not, is uncomfortable and scary. Or maybe it's because we've given ourselves deadlines that we haven't met or we don't feel like we are where we should be in life. These feelings are extremely individual and take some serious one on one time with self to dissect and figure out. Nevertheless, I am a strong believer that happiness is a choice, and sometimes that choice needs a little bit of coaxing when our surroundings change. That's where self-care comes in. Yay! My favorite thing.
Below you can find a list of things to do to help elevate your mood during this season. All it takes is commitment and willingness to change your thought process.
1. Find a good therapist: I am a huge advocate for mental health and mental hygiene. Having a neutral party to talk to, who is licensed and qualified can work wonders. If you have health insurance, take advantage of what your plan has to offer in regards to mental health. If you don't have insurance or are looking for an alternative, there is also a great new app on the market that I heard about on a podcast. It's called Talkspace. The platform is an affordable online therapy resource with licensed therapist available to help and assist by way of talk therapy.
2. Make time for alone time: A lot of us are constantly on the go and serving others in different capacities. That means there's a higher need for personal recharge sessions. One way I like to fill back up when I am feeling drained is by going for a walk and engaging in meditative breathing. This exercise requires me to slow down and take in what's around me. The sounds, the smells, the feeling of the air, etc. Not sure how to meditate or feel weird doing it? Guided meditation is a great way to get started. I love Headspace, Insight Timer, and Calm.
3. Create a self-care chart: This is one of my favorite exercises to do myself and to teach at my workshops. Not only does it tap into your creative juices but it encourages writing as a way of healing and self-soothing. The chart helps us see what we long for on paper, and for those of us not great with verbal communication, jotting feelings, thoughts, and desires down can be extremely helpful. Additionally, creating this chart has the ability to help us hold ourselves accountable when it comes to making self-care a daily practice and priority. Journaling is a part of my daily life in some way or another. I look forward to my self-care charting exercises at the top of every week. See below for an example.
4. Pencil yourself in: We make time in our calendars for lunch dates, business meetings, grocery shopping, hair appointments, dinner plans, you name it! Some of us have calendars that are jammed packed with stuff. Most of which is unrelated to self-care. Let's change that. Start saving chunks of time for yourself, daily or weekly, for 15 mins or for an hour. Whatever works for you. Make sure you are on your schedule in some way. Whatever you choose to do with yourself, for yourself, and by yourself matters just as much as everything else on your calendar.
5. Daily affirming notes: This takes no longer than 5 mins. It's an exercise that I like to start or end my day with. See below for an example. More of a guided journaler? My #ANOTE2SELF Meditation Journal may be helpful.
I hope these 5 tips can be put to use! Leave below in the comments how you take care of yourself as the season's change. I would love to hear your self-care methods and practices.