How was your transition into fall this year? Are you excited to be back at work and familiar routines? Looking forward to cooler temperatures and pumpkin spice lattes? Or, if you’re an expat, are you sad to have said goodbye to your loved ones back home and overwhelmed by the return to busyness, finding it hard to believe that the end of 2022 is a little more than three months away?
I’ve always found this seasonal transition challenging. Not only because I’m a sunshine-and-warm-weather kind of gal, but also because the switch from vacation vibes to productivity mode and trying to do everything at once makes me anxious and overwhelmed upon my return. It took me many years of seasonal struggle to realize that resisting what I couldn’t change didn’t serve me (November would still come no matter what I did) and that it made more sense to focus instead on what I could control, starting with my attitude. It’s a process for sure, but it’s made a big difference in my stress levels and even my ability to enjoy the autumn colors.
So with October at our doorstep, I thought I’d share with you some tips and strategies that will help you manage your mindset and make the most of the last three months of the year.
Tip #1: Acknowledge your emotions
Recognize what you’re feeling; is it anxiety, stress, or sadness? You are allowed to feel bad or down. Trying to suppress it won’t make you feel better. If you know this is a challenging time of year for you, then try to be kind to yourself. The easiest way to do that is to ask yourself how you would treat a friend going through a similar challenge. We are always harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else. Yet studies show that practicing self-compassion can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase general well-being. Another way to practice self-compassion is to take care of your body—by eating well, getting enough rest, and including movement in your day—which can work wonders for your emotional state (there is science on that as well!).
Tip #2: Reframe your view
Often, when we’re faced with a challenging situation, it helps to try out a different perspective of it. In this case, rather than dreading the transition to dark days and cold temperatures (at least for those of us living in cooler climates) as a period you need to suffer through, what if you saw this time as an opportunity to reset, review your goals and priorities (or set new ones) and make a new beginning in different areas of your life? Shifting your mindset will give you renewed energy to pursue your aspirations and tackle whatever challenge comes your way.
Tip #3: Set your intention and key priorities
Related to the previous tip: if you see this as a time to reset and relaunch, it’s important to reflect on your intention. This is not so much about what you want to do but rather about who you want to be through this period. How do you want to feel as you navigate the last quarter of the year (e.g. confident, accomplished, calm, grounded, present)?
Once you’ve set an intention, define your priorities for the last months of the year. What do you want to accomplish? What is important to you? What’s realistic? Making a list of priorities will help reduce anxiety and overwhelm—if that’s an issue for you—from having too much on your plate. Having a sense of what’s important to you will also guide you in making conscious choices among tasks, opportunities, or requests coming your way.
Tip #4: Use rituals and habits to create structure and keep you on track
This is especially important as you come back from a relatively unstructured and (hopefully) carefree time. Creating structure through a few grounding rituals will help you ease into the new phase. My favorites are meditation and some sort of short daily exercise, but you can pick whatever makes you feel good and fits into your lifestyle. Even ten minutes of walking outside or five minutes of journaling can make a difference in how you feel (calm and centered vs. harried and stressed), so don’t give up if you feel like you’re too busy to invest the time. Start small but do start.
Tip #5: Monitor your energy
When we come back from a break, especially a longer one, many of us tend to try to do too much too quickly and exhaust ourselves in the process. Notice when you’re feeling depleted and need to recharge. What are some habits or rituals that will allow you to replenish your energy reserves? Running on empty isn’t making you more productive and, like your phone or laptop, once they’ve been empty for a while (you know, when you get that bleeding red battery symbol on a dark screen), it just takes much longer until you can use them again. Don’t do that to yourself.
Tip #6: Celebrate!
Last, but not least, celebrate and reward yourself, not just for big successes, but also (especially) for small wins. Taking the time to celebrate means that you take the time to notice and feel gratitude for the good things in your life. That not only boosts your well-being, but it’s also been shown to increase your resilience towards the not-so-good things. Gratitude generates positive emotions and that makes it easier to respond to stressful or otherwise challenging situations. Celebration also allows you to notice what works well and what you can build on or learn from for next time. Celebration doesn’t have to be a grand event or involve other people; it can be a small act of self-care like scheduling a massage or cooking your special meal, as long as it commemorates something important to you.
Let’s make this transition to fall and the last quarter of the year a little less overwhelming and a little more exciting. I wish you an energizing and delightful last quarter of 2022!
On dealing with difficult emotions: Emotional Agility by Susan David
On intention-setting: The Power of intention by Wayne Dyer
On building habits and routines: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, we are talking about – Swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, transition, home, lifestyle and parenting all through this season. Stay well and stay with us!
To read posts from August, click here