peaceful fall setting, trees and colored leaves along a meadow, young woman stretching and breathing the fresh air, woman developing good habits for the fall

A perfect time to implement good habits is during a transition such as fall. Autumn is a great chance to look back over your welcomed summer chaos. To decide what worked well and what didn’t.

No, you don’t have to wait until the New Year to implement a plan. Most people fail to carry out those drastic life changes anyway. There’s no better time to change than now and gradual improvement is better than abrupt, sweeping changes in almost every case.

As you decide on some good fall habits to implement, here are some ideas to get you started.

Increase Your Sleep

Those long summer days were a happy change but they may have worn you a little thin on your sleep.

The days are starting to shorten now, bringing you indoors earlier. You could keep up your late-night tendencies from the summer but who says you have to?

You can make nature’s changes yours. Instead of using that extra darkness to fret about the lost summer or push through tasks when your day is past it’s prime, consider some extra shut-eye.

Your body and mind will both thank you and, in the long run, you’ll get more done in less time because you’ll have proper rest. This is a perfect instance where less is more.

According to yourmentalhealth.ie, inadequate sleep, “may lead to more challenges to your mental health, or it may make existing mental health challenges worse.”

Here are a few of the many benefits you’ll experience from upping your sleep:

·         Increased energy levels

·         Higher immunity to sicknesses

·         Better outlook on life (increased positivity)

·         Less proneness to depression and anxiety

·         Better ability to handle complex problems

Another thing to consider when it comes to your sleep is to try implementing a more regimented sleep schedule.

For many folks, summers tend to be a bit erratic when it comes to sleep schedules. Work at setting a consistent bedtime and waking time.

Schedule Time with Friends (Avoid Isolating)

The longer days of summer lend to far more activity. And with that activity often comes interaction with friends and family. You tend to travel more and visit more.

Then, fall comes. School mode begins for families and many become locked in a fairly rigid schedule. After this abrupt change, it’s easy to enter survival mode and forget about getting together with others.

From a mental health standpoint, this tendency to isolate isn’t healthy. Now that you’re back to the daily grind, you often need more social support, not less.

This is an apt time to set some goals for yourself about getting together with others. Whether that means every other week or every week, make a point to take the time.

For the extrovert, this may happen naturally. If you’re an introvert or experiencing some depression, you’ll probably need a little more prodding.

As an introvert, you also may question if this time with others is necessary. Even if your first tendency isn’t to go out of your way to interact with others, you still have social needs.

Actually, the times you least feel like getting out and being around others often are the times you need it the most. Remember that socializing with others is a vital aspect of self-care.

Pay Attention to Exercise and Diet

Fall is a good time to start taking better care of your body. But any good mental health professional knows this is healthful for more than just your body. You also experience significant mental health benefits.

When it comes to exercise, strive for daily consistency. You don’t want an exercise regimen that overwhelms you. In the long run, you’ll struggle to stick with it.

Instead, take a brisk walk or do a brief strength-training workout. The key is implementing something you feel confident you can do every day.

Also, give some thought to your diet. It’s possible that you won’t get the level of activity you did in the summer. That’s Ok. Just focus on cutting back your food intake in that case.

Another good practice is to stay away from processed sugars and foods with a lot of preservatives.

Foods with shelf lives that span a year or more should be avoided. Foods like that aren’t made in a kitchen. They’re made in a science lab and won’t make you feel good.

Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats more than anything else. This will give you the one-two punch of exercise and healthy eating. Both are necessary for optimal health.

Do you need some extra encouragement and professional support to practice self-care now that autumn is here? The Valencia Relationship Institute can help you implement proven ways to take charge of your life.

You can call VRI and schedule an appointment at our Valencia, CA counseling office today.