The shift from summer to fall is many people’s favorite. There’s something magical about sweater weather, changing leaves, warm drinks and the start of the holiday season. But there’s also the prospect of shorter days, seasonal illness and the stress of those upcoming holidays. As a result, autumn ends up being a season of highs and lows, and many people feel like their emotions fluctuate toward the end of the year.
By now, we all know the importance of self-care. Taking a little time for yourself has positive benefits for your mental and physical health. Self-care is especially important in times when your stress levels might be high—like the upcoming fall season. So, enjoy those magical fall days and balance out those not-so-magical ones with an extra ounce of self-care!
Here are nine self-care tips tailored specifically for fall:
- Brew a hot beverage: Will a fresh-brewed cup of tea make all your troubles go away? Probably not, but it can help you find a moment of bliss when the world around you is hectic and stressful. Treat yourself to that ever-popular pumpkin spice latte or steep a flavored tea at home, then savor every sip on your way to relaxation. You can even find a range of delicious brews that are formulated for extra immunity or energy!
- Take a spa-like shower: Showers are cleansing in so many ways. Sometimes, just standing for a few minutes under a stream of hot water is enough to uplift your mood. Add in some aromatherapy, turn on some music, and get some exfoliating scrubs. Fall is the perfect time for hot showers and deep contemplation. Whether it’s your morning shower or a mid-day soak, you’ll feel rejuvenated after.
- Cut your screen time: Fall weather might force you indoors more often than not, but that’s not an excuse for more screen time. Increased screen time has been linked to depression, and the blue light can mess with your sleep. Turn off your devices and do something constructive to boost your mood, whether it’s a puzzle, playing with your pet or chatting with a friend.
- Pick up a creative hobby: Creative outlets are wonderful ways to de-stress and recuperate. Self-care advocates can’t stop extolling the benefits of arts and crafts! Learn to knit, paint a picture, work on a coloring book, play an instrument—whatever appeals to you most. Make sure you’re bringing a little creativity to your self-care regimen.
- Go for a walk: Fall is one of the best times to convene with nature and expose yourself to the rejuvenating effects of the outdoors. Breathe in the crisp, fall air. Dress in layers, so you’re warm and cozy. Walk under the changing leaves or along a quiet path. Even if it’s only 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll feel brand-new after an autumn walk.
- Find a good book: Even if you’re not an avid reader, fall is the perfect time to pick up a book. Nothing quite sets the mood like a hot beverage, a warm blanket, the wind howling outside and a good book in your hands. Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, drama—whatever your preferred genre, there are an infinite number of options to choose from!
- Dress for success: For most people, fall is the season of sweatpants and hoodies. And while there’s no denying the allure of comfy clothing, sometimes it’s better for your mental health to get dressed for success. Put together an outfit that makes you feel great and benefit from the positive vibes that’ll stay with you all day.
- Cook or bake: If you’re an avid kitchen creator, now’s the time to start experimenting with recipes for sweet treats and tasty meals! Try out different combinations with fresh ingredients from the farmers’ market and explore new ways to use some of your favorite superfoods. Cooking is both creative and good for you!
- Purge negativity: There are enough factors in the world that can get you down; it’s time to get rid of the ones you can control. Comb through social media. Get rid of clutter in your home. Stay away from the things that bring you down. Meditate to let go of stressors. Self-care is as much about avoiding negativity as it is about finding positivity.
Can’t seem to get out of your rut or over the hump of a particularly troublesome week? If your blue feelings persist, it might be a symptom of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is diagnosed more and more these days—largely because more and more people struggle during the fall and winter months of the year. If you’re one of them, supplement your self-care with advice from your physician. Adding a little vitamin D to your diet or investing in a light box can be great ways to boost your mood, in addition to the little self-care treats you take time for every day.
Whether you’re feeling the effects of SAD or just the hectic nature of the season, make sure you’re taking time for yourself this fall. A little self-care goes a long way!