Fall Reboot: 4 tips to stay grounded during this season of transition

Fall Reboot: 4 tips to stay grounded during this season of transition

The majority of us have heard the term, “Spring cleaning,” but did you know that the shift from Summer to Fall is also the ideal time to de-clutter, revisit our goals, and push the re-set button? The Fall Equinox took place on September 22, 2017. This marks the official shift from Summer to Fall and, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, is coupled with longer nights, colder weather, the hustle and bustle of children returning to school and the forthcoming holiday season, and the return to a more demanding schedule, particularly for those of us with children. Transitions, whether it be from season to season or just lazy summer days to the craziness of school, can bring challenges.

We tend to feel scattered, ungrounded, and just ‘off.’ Our daily routine, and to a deeper extent, our goals, can be clouded by the anxiety that accompanies transitions and we can easily lose track of what’s important to us. Here are 4 tips for a Fall Reboot – an opportunity for you to physically, psychologically, and mentally soothe and support yourself through the Fall season.

  1. De-clutter. Research suggests that physical clutter is associated with the release of cortisol (stress hormone) and affects your ability to focus and process information (McMains & Kastner, 2011; Journal of Neuroscience). De-cluttering can be as extensive as cleaning out closets and storage spaces, or maybe just a simple as taking a few extra minutes to clean out one drawer, the glove compartment in your car, one day’s worth of email, or one folder on your desktop. The process of clearing space, be it at home, the workplace, or your car, can have a profound effect on productivity, efficiency, and feelings of anxiety.
  2.  Spend 3-5 minutes in quiet stillness every morning, set a daily intention and stick with it. Each morning, sit up in bed, find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take 3-5 minutes to sit quietly. Use this time to reflect on how you want your day to unfold and get clear on your goals and purpose for the day. Research supports the positive effects of meditation on the brain, particularly in the areas involved in memory (Muehsam et al., 2017; Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews).
  3. Establish a routine. Evidence suggests that having a routine can help steady the mind and boost confidence. In Ayurveda, fall brings a predominance of the air element, which lends itself to Fall being windy, erratic, cool, and dry. Establishing a routine is one of the easiest ways to soothe the erratic and sometimes hectic feelings that come with this time of year. Even something as simple as waking and going to bed at the same time every day helps and ensures that you get enough rest.
  4. Practice authenticity. On a personal level, part of letting go and de-cluttering, means practicing authenticity. This is a daily practice and weaving such an intention into your day can help you find some clarity in your day-to-day decisions and your goals, whether they are short-term or long-term goals. Being authentic doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. Studies suggest that authenticity in the workplace can have a positive effect on job satisfaction and being authentic in our relationships can have a similar outcome in how connected we feel to one another. One accessible way to ensure authenticity in our relationships is to simply be present. We’ve all been in a situation where we’re in a conversation and our mind wanders off, or we mindlessly pick up our phone to check a new text message. Work on being an active listener. Give people your full and true attention. And share your stories….even the stories of the times when things didn’t go perfectly. Working on being present can ensure authenticity in the situations we encounter in our daily lives. Our ability to be authentic fosters true connection which helps us feel safe, grounded, and steady.

Valerie Knopik

Valerie Knopik, PhD, is the Director of Research for Yoga Medicine, a Senior Research Scientist and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, and a yoga teacher in Providence, Rhode Island. Valerie has always been a believer in staying active and yoga is the perfect marriage of her work in mental health and her love of movement and anatomy. With a PhD in Psychology, Valerie is extremely active in mental health research, focusing on how our internal biology and our external physical environment (including yoga, mindfulness, and meditation) can interact to positively change our mental health landscape.