With Labor Day behind us, fall is definitely in the air. Can you smell the pumpkin spice lattes? With fall comes a lot of exciting things, but it is a season of change. For many that means returning to school — a big transition regardless of how old you are. It's vital to implement specific stress and time management skills and self-care practices during these times in our lives. This applies to any life transition such as a move or a new job. Sometimes we default to making the change the first priority in our life, stretching ourselves so thin that our physical and mental health suffer. We want things to be perfect and go well, but if our health is not a priority, how can we expect to adjust and flourish in the best possible way? The two must go hand-in-hand. So how do we prioritize both?
1) Managing Physical Health
The human body reacts well to routine. Having a schedule for balanced meals, exercise, hydration, and sleep is important. There is some flexibility here, but waking up at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends is not going to keep your body feeling good. It's better to allow a smaller window on weekends to sleep in within a couple of hours of your normal wake time.
2) Time Management
Making a visual of your priorities can be helpful. We schedule work and doctor's appointments, so why not schedule self-care? This means writing in time with family and friends, time for hobbies and relaxation, and time for ourselves. Using this visual not only keeps us organized and balanced, but it can also be a tool to build insight on if we have more time to manage tasks than we thought or in recognizing if we have too much on our plate and need to make some adjustments
Self care at any level is important. Whether it involves taking a detox from social media, a walk on your lunch break, meditating on the train, or taking a warm bath followed by some fuzzy socks and pajamas, there is no self care practice too small. It's the little things that help keep us feeling comforted, loved, and supported, and we should do that for ourselves every day to maintain health and a high quality of life.
Lastly, it is very important to do some perspective taking during transitions and recognize that we are allowed to feel stressed during change. We are human. It is okay to take more time to take care of ourselves during an adjustment period and be a bit more patient with ourselves. We often give empathy to others more freely than to ourselves, but self-compassion needed for success, health, and happiness.