HealthSkills

The transition from summer to fall can be a little sluggish, especially when many of us are in denial that summer is coming to an end. It’s when the leaves start turning orange and the air becomes crisper that it really starts to feel like autumn. And what better time to reset than at the beginning of a new season? With fall comes a vibrant energy that was lacking in the warmer summer months. People are buzzing around getting ready to head back to school, start new jobs, and plan out the year ahead. Before the official first day of autumn on September 23rd, get a head start on thinking about how you want to spend the next few fall months.

  1. Set goals for fall. Look at your personal life and professional life with a critical eye. What do you want to learn this season? How do you hope to improve? Look forward to what’s coming up and figure out how you can set yourself up for success. Another helpful way to look at the big picture? Create a timeline of the past three to six months and fill in highlights from each month. Compare what you’ve done to what you still want to do, and then add those items to your Autumn To-Do List.
  2. Constantly edit your life. What’s working? What’s not working? Eliminate the negative from your life, whether it’s a bad habit or a toxic person. Add positivity into your life, should that be more vegetables, laughter, or new experiences and travels. Don’t settle for what your life currently is – make it the best it can be.
  3. Clean your space and wardrobe. Now that it’s time to break out the sweaters, scarves, and boots, you might as well go through and de-clutter your space and wardrobe. Clear your desk, donate items you no longer need, go through your kitchen cupboards and toss expired foods – these are all actions that will help clear your mind and allow you to begin the season in a fresh environment.
  4. Get serious about being healthy. As the temperature drops, the drier your skin will get. Hydrate more than you think you need to and take advantage of the vegetables that are in-season. Move your body more, take the stairs, and be more mindful of how you’re treating your body and mind.
  5. Reconnect with friends and family. It’s too easy to check out during the summer and retreat into your own world. If you haven’t been a social butterfly the past few months, strike up conversations with friends you haven’t talked to in months. Right now is the best time to reconnect. Don’t wait for another season to pass you by. Better yet? Make new friends. Join a book club, talk to the person next to you in class, join a sports team – you’re never too old to add new people into your inner circle.
  6. Adopt a positive mindset. It may be easier to have a positive attitude when the sun is shining and the summer days are brighter and longer. But when it starts getting darker earlier and the skies turn gray, maintain a positive state of mind. Surround yourself with positive influences, smile, compliment a stranger or friend, compliment yourself, challenge any negative thoughts that enter your mind, and start saying “I can” instead of “I can’t.” The little changes make a big difference.

How are you resetting for autumn?

Image: Autumn Mott

CultureLearn

365 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes, and 48 seconds. That’s how long it takes for our Earth to revolve around the sun. This revolution (and the rotational tilt of the Earth’s axis yada yada…) causes those changes in season. We know the seasons well and we expect certain things to happen in accordance with their personalities. In the colder seasons, we can see our breath hit the cool air and make the necessary changes in wardrobe. We turn our headlights on early on our drives home from work and prepare ourselves for the vigor of the holiday season. Beyond these changes, however, are the subtle lessons we can all learn from the stories that these colder seasons tell.

Autumn to Winter – Accept and embrace change.

The yearly dance through meteorological phases does not stop. Ever. As the earth is always moving, we should too, with the knowledge that the only predictable thing is that things will change. Everyone has to make adjustments in their lives to accommodate other people and rising situations, and becoming aware of the pattern of changes can help people become more resilient to unexpected events. We all get thrown off from time to time when things don’t go according to plan, but accepting and embracing circumstances as they come is the first step in regaining balance and stability. Changes happen, and we reroute. Onward and forward.

Temperature drop – Coldness can be a very good thing.

The power of coldness is twofold: It’s harsh at times but can also bring people together. Whether it is snow, or rain, or gloomy skies, there is something about coldness that exposes a vulnerability within each of us, serving as a reminder that it’s okay to rely on people and things to keep us warm. It is fitting to have that sense of needed camaraderie amidst all the celebrations and traditions happening towards the end of the year. Allow the cold to signal a time for you to put your “relationships on fire.”  Visit relatives, keep in touch with friends, and be the first to call.

Fallen leaves – There is a time for everything.

If only trees could talk. Any deciduous tree out there with barren branches and its leaves sprawled on the ground, would be the first to tell you that losing is a part of life. The trick is learning that loss is necessary. It can be necessary to start anew or to grow in the future. Sometimes we lose jobs, or competitions, or spaces on people’s calendars. We lose hope and we lose energy. These times in which we feel hollowed out should be seen instead, as times of restoring. The effects of losing something lets people reevaluate what matters most to them. Emptiness permits a blank slate to reflect, prioritize, and set new goals. While there may not be an immediate upturn, it will happen. Given the right conditions and mindset, it always does.

Although we may shiver a lot more and have to chase daylight to get things done, treasure these colder months for what they’re worth.

“All seasons have something to offer.” – Jeannette Walls

Image: Samuel Rohl

Culture

These days, Thanksgiving is known for its big meal and is otherwise swallowed up by the rest of the holiday season. However, when we think of it like that, we miss a lot of joy that comes from the holiday itself. It is a day that brings family and friends together and makes them take stock of the goodness in their lives. Everyone has their own role to play in this. Even if Thanksgiving is not your favorite holiday, it has values you can celebrate all year long.

1. The holiday motivates us to keep in touch.

With social media, it’s easy to see what your loved ones are up to throughout the year, but it’s hard to make plans to see each other. People really make the effort to be together on holidays but you don’t need a holiday as an excuse to get together. When you miss someone you love, make a plan to see them. I know work and school can be hectic. However, in the last year, I’ve made the effort to spend more time with my extended family and I’m grateful for it. We know each other in a new way now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

2. Thanksgiving allows you to forge a bond through food.

We all know everyone has to eat. Thanksgiving is a food holiday, but also one steeped in tradition. People work together in their kitchens to keep old traditions alive or create some new concoction. I love to eat and to cook. Throughout my childhood, I was a last minute helper. I had to contribute in my own small way. Now that I am adult, I do most of the cooking myself. On Thanksgiving, preparing food is not just cooking, it is carrying on tradition. Everyone contributes to the meal. We are brought up on recipes that we learn to make ourselves. It’s a group bonding activity that does not have to be one day of the year. I frequently help my family cook. It takes away some of the work after a long day. Take some time throughout the year to share recipes with others or to cook together. It is a fun way to pass the time with people you care about.

3. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest volunteering days of the year.

Remembering what we have now reminds us to help others less fortunate. A lot of charities put out food for families and the ill on this holiday but people need to eat all year round. Why wait to volunteer one day of the year? There are many worthy causes looking for help during the year. Try one.

4. Think about what you are thankful for.

We are in the ‘now generation.’ We tweet, Instagram, and Facebook to talk about what we are doing in the moment. Most of the time, it’s important to keep moving forward and be present. That said, it does not hurt to realize all that you have going for you. It also never hurts to remember all the people in your life who make your life better. Let them know what they do for you. Again, this doesn’t have to happen one day of the year. When you appreciate someone in your life, tell him or her.

Holidays are a time to celebrate events that happen year after year. However, we don’t have to only bring out these values one day of the year. We can get closer to our loved ones, work together, give back, and appreciate all that life has to offer. All you have to do is remember to try. I told you some ways that I celebrate. Think of how you want to contribute this year.

What Thanksgiving lessons do you implement throughout the year? Share in the comments below or tweet to us!

Image: Lee

EducationHealthSkills

Is the excitement of heading back to school wearing off? While there are changes happening everywhere around you (just look outside at those leaves turning orange), you might feel like you are in need of your own change when you feel your energy levels crashing. Exams, projects, presentations, and homework might be piling up, and since school just started, there’s no break or end in sight. In order to stay on top of all your work without completely burning out, pick and choose which of these 8 ways might help prevent back-to-school burnout and keep your enthusiasm at its peak…

1. Take breaks. Preventing burnout doesn’t have to happen on a grand scale, but instead you can incorporate little changes into your everyday life. Schedule mini-breaks into your routine, giving yourself 15 minutes to do whatever you want. After 1 hour of studying or essay writing, give yourself 10 minutes to listen to music, practice your new hobby (see #3), or have an impromptu dance party. Do anything that makes you feel great and takes your mind off of work for those precious 10-15 minutes.

2. Plan a fun weekend activity. Get a group of your friends together for a fun weekend activity. When you have something to look forward to during the week, there’s a good chance you will keep your energy levels up so you can get through your work and enjoy your Saturday plans. Instead of doing your regular weekend activities, organize something new and out of the ordinary. Plan activities that are inspired by the season, such as picking apples at your local orchard, seeking out early haunted houses, or hosting a pie-making party.

3. Learn a new hobby. This might sound ridiculous, since you probably have zero time to add anything to your plate. However, even the smallest changes could change-up your entire routine and give you a fresh perspective. For example, learning a new hobby such as knitting or painting are calming hobbies that work around your schedule. You have complete control and practicing your hobby for just 15-30 minutes a day can be a total game changer.

4. Review your routine. Every now and then, it is important to step back and evaluate where you are in your life. In this case, step back and review your routine for the past week. Are there changes you can make that would give you more energy, such as going to sleep 10 minutes earlier? Perhaps sitting in a different seat in class would positively affect your interactions with your teacher and classmates? Pack a snack for when your blood sugar level drops and you need a quick boost. Changing your routine doesn’t have to be a lot of work – little changes can make a big difference.

5. Remember your goals. Did you set goals for the beginning of the new school year? Maybe you set a goal of meeting with your teacher once a week for an entire semester, or you wanted to focus on learning how to do Derivative and Integration formulas like a pro. If you didn’t set goals for yourself, this would be a good time to think about what you want out of the school year. When you start thinking about your goals and what it is you truly want to accomplish, you may become re-motivated and avoid feelings of burnout.

6. Sleep. It might be as simple as catching some zzz’s in order to get back to your energetic self. With the loads of work, extra-curriculars, and team practices, your body might be telling you to slow down and rest. Whether you need to take a long afternoon nap or just work on trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, be conscious of what your body is telling you.

7. Take a stroll. Sometimes you just need to drop everything and walk it out. When you feel yourself getting exhausted from work, chores, or school, stop drop and stroll. Surrounding yourself with nature and breathing in fresh air will clear your mind and give you a new perspective on what is happening in your life.

8. Talk it out. Oftentimes we tend to keep our feelings to ourselves. Talking out how to feel is healthy, and one way to prevent burning out is to talk to your friends, family, and teachers about how you feel. You might learn that your friends are feeling the exact same way. It feels great to know that you are not alone, especially when you are feeling vulnerable and exhausted. Your school year is just getting started, don’t burnout now.

How do you prevent back-to-school burnout?