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Falling into a New Routine and Embracing the Next Season

It seems like Spring just gave way to Summer, but now Fall is approaching. While the weather hasn’t started cooling off, the leaves haven’t started embracing yellow, orange, and red hues, and the landscape hasn’t taken on its Fall sepia tone, there are telltale signs that it is on the way. Though some are thrilled to greet this change of season with its pumpkin spice lattes and crisp days, others are still clinging to summer refusing to let its comforting warmth and boisterous days go. “Autumn anxiety is an annual increase in anxiety some people begin to feel during the autumn months. Experts say some causes of this anxiety may be due to beginning a new school year, the looming stress of the holiday season, or possible regret from not having achieved desired goals over the summer.” However, as the seasons transition each year, so do the seasons in our lives, and when a new season appears on our horizon, we need to discover new ways to embrace it.

Fall is the time of year when we naturally reflect on where we are in our lives, where we hope to go, and how we plan to get there. As the trees release their leaves, it is time for us to acknowledge the things that are a burden and no longer serve us. Change is difficult for most people, so it is recommended that we gently ease into changes instead of jumping straight in. Ben Fletcher and Karen Pine in their book Flex: Do Something Different, suggest that even changing a driving route to work can increase our ability to be innovative and creative. If altering a work route is not a possibility, switching coffee flavors or bringing in fall-themed home décor is a shift. By making small changes, a message is being sent that you’re grateful for the last season’s message and open for the changes the new season brings.

Moreover, what is going on around us transforms with the seasons and brings in new changes that affect our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, our lives are in a constant state of flux. Change is a constant. Throughout our lives we discover new jobs, friendships, and hobbies to pour our creative energy into. What we need to alter is our attitude towards change. When something new comes into our lives, we need to accept it with grace and an attitude of gratitude. When something negative happens, we need to search for alternatives to make that change easier to bear. For example, if a place of employment is going to lay off a considerable number of the staff, it is a great idea to start looking for a new job before that happens. Also, keeping a positive attitude when a change of that magnitude is on the horizon helps maneuver through any obstacles with ease. When a relationship comes to the end of its cycle, take lessons from what went wrong, but also focus on all that went right, and then let that relationship go with grace and forgiveness. When we embrace change, we take ownership of how we deal with changes, and we play a larger part in shaping our own destiny.

As we slip into Fall, try welcoming the new season through implementing the following lifestyle and spiritual practices.

Make welcoming Fall a yearly ritual by indulging in outdoor seasonal activities. Getting outside during the Fall season reduces stress and anxiety and restores mental health. The sunlight helps our bodies release serotonin, which aids in easing seasonal depression. In addition, Vitamin D helps the brain function properly and alleviates depression symptoms. In fact, studies have found links between low Vitamin D levels in the blood and an increase in depression. It is important to note that Vitamin D supplements have not been found to prevent or ease the symptoms of depression, so definitely make time to get outdoors. Adding a few items from the list below can help a person greet Fall with open arms.

  • Grab a partner or a friend and go on a bike ride in a local park or take a hike in an unexplored area of town and savor the changing colors and cool air. Pay close attention to how each of your senses are affected.

  • Follow it up with a fall-themed picnic complete with freshly baked pumpkin bread.

  • Bake maple-frosted treats, candied apples, apple butter, or fresh baked banana bread.

  • Decorate your home with Fall foliage and fresh autumn-themed candles.

  • Spiritually, light a fire in a fire pit (or makeshift one), and on a piece of paper write down all the things you believe are holding you back or that didn’t go well during the past season. Fold the paper, place it inside an envelope, and then seal it. Toss the sealed letter into the fire, and let it burn. Like the trees losing their leaves, sometimes we need to let go of our decay to experience a rebirth. Next on a new piece of paper write a list of all the beautiful experiences you would like to welcome into your life during the new season but keep this list with you to look back on. Believe all the items on the list are within your grasp.

Express gratitude. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to express thanks. Gratitude is a key ingredient to living authentically.

  • Fall is an excellent time to start a gratitude journal to document the things we are grateful for each day. Through journaling, we learn that no matter what changes, good or bad, that are going on around us, there is always something to be grateful for. Record what you like about your job, how beautiful bike ride was through the park, meeting new people at the local coffee shop – it’s completely unique to you. You will find that when you keep a gratitude journal, your stress levels will reduce, you will gain clarity on what you value, and your outlook on life will improve. It’s an excellent tool for mental and spiritual health.

If journaling doesn’t interest you, then maybe start your meditation or prayers each day by giving thanks for everything going right in your life and expressing that you would like to experience more opportunities to help others and be thankful.

  • If you want a creative way to express gratitude, make a gratitude collage. Take photos with your camera or even find pictures by combing through magazines or the Internet for anything that brings up the feeling of gratitude. It could be simple like a teapot that reminds you of cool days visiting with a family member or close friend sharing life experiences.

Re-examine your values. Spring and Summer have passed and Fall and Winter have yet to reach their culmination. With Fall’s golden trees and crunching leaves, it is time to review the last cycle and re-examine our values and priorities. Values reflect what we believe it means to be a human. It’s about how we choose to behave and act each day, but sometimes they shift. What you valued 10 years ago may look completely different today. When a shift occurs, it can cause you to have a shift in how you interact with others. Here are a few questions to help get started:

  • What is it on your list of yearly intentions and goals that has or hasn’t been achieved?

  • Are you still aligned with these values or is it time to create something new?

  • Do you have balance in your life, if not, what is missing that will bring it into balance?

  • What values do you prioritize in your life, i.e., oneness, adventure, honor, respect, playfulness, prosperity, etc.?

While these are just a few questions to start the self-examination process, there are plenty of articles on the Internet that can help you dive deeper. Fall is a season for going within and rediscovering who you are, especially if summer’s whirlwind of activities has caused you to lose touch.

Henry David Thoreau advised “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” While Fall is saying goodbye to Summer, it is also a time that brings rejuvenation, relaxation, and necessary shedding before we all slip into the winter months. Revel in this season by getting reacquainted with your core self. Take time to schedule moments for self-reflection and self-care. I hope that this article helps you to create a falling into fall routine that you can use each year to help you transition from the summer months and enjoy the new season to the fullest. Here’s to crisp, cozy weather and all the changes that this Fall will bring!

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