Tuesday after Labor Day is unofficially the first day of fall. Now the stress begins! I don’t hate fall, I actually love it down here in the south. It’s still warm and sunny but without the humidity, and the ocean is still warm enough for swimming. We finally have a breeze blowing, and it’s really the only time of year to sleep with our windows open. Did I mention football season starts? Fall can be downright heavenly! But on the flip side, fall can be the most stressful season of the year; and if you’re anything like me, my stress level jumps up by at least 10% on September 1st, every single year! As a mindfulness life coach, I won’t lie to you and say that the 10% spike will go away for all of us, but keeping your stress from sky rocketing is definitely possible. The trick is to start implementing a few mind-body routines and a few holiday preparations right after Labor Day.
Because most of us find the holidays stressful, we tend to just avoid thinking about them, holding off preparations until the very last minute. Unfortunately, that just makes us all the more stressed. If you allow yourself to make a few well in advance plans, doing something small each week, you will be the one friend that doesn’t get sick, doesn’t gain weight, is able to attend all the parties and functions because your tasks are done already, has a beautiful complexion because you’ve had time to get that December facial, perfect hair because you had enough money and time to get your hair done.
Here are 12 tips for a fantastic fall!
1. Start getting up an hour earlier to incorporate the added tasks, including exercise and meditation.
2. Set up a regular exercise routine, that includes both cardio and stretching. Yoga can give you a great workout when you want it to be , but can be calming and restorative when you need it to be.
3. Start a guided meditation practice every morning for a minimum of 15 minutes.
4. Look at your calendar now, and write down everything you know about, and even the yearly things that aren’t confirmed yet. For example: your work holiday party. Schedule in tasks like baking cookies, holiday decorating, etc. Check to see if there is anything you can take out of your schedule to give yourself more time. Consider suspending things for November and December like dinner club, book club.
5. Consider your time carefully – the last 4 months of the year might not be the time to start something new that is time consuming.
Also, try not to make any major life decisions during the last few months of the year if you are able: putting your house on the market, switching careers/jobs, any big financial decisions. This will add unnecessary stress to your life.
6. Make any travel arrangements well in advance that you can, and put a reminder in your calendar/phone when it’s time to buy tickets/rent a car.
7. Buy your holiday cards online now, if you didn’t buy them after Christmas on sale last year. They are cheaper online now then they will be come November.
8. Print out address labels and address envelopes. You can even start writing out your Christmas cards – 2-6 a week.
9. If you are someone that likes to make homemade Christmas gifts, decide what you are making and begin buying the supplies and organizing your craft project. It’s never too early to start homemade gifts.
10. Keep an ongoing list handy on your phone or tablet for gift ideas or things to buy (spices, ingredients for baking) prior to the holiday.
11. Set up appointments in advance for hair, facial, massage, yearly doctors appointments.
12. Create a budget for gifts, Christmas cards, groceries for holiday baking, new party dress/outfit.