Autumn is the most soothing of the seasons: The lush of greens of springtime have given way to regal shades of auburn, gold, and crimson; the air is crispy and chill; the swimsuits and warm-weather tops have been stored away make room for light jackets and worn-out jeans.
The changing of the seasons provides an opportunity to reflect and recognize the changes occurring in our own lives. Embracing this time of year as a period of introspection and mindfulness can uplift the spirit and prepare us for the winter months ahead.
Here are some ways you can destress with the season:
Show Warmth with a Random Act of Kindness
Someone wise once said, “A simple act of kindness can create endless ripples.”
A warm word or good deed is a source of infinite reverberations. On Monday, be the stone.
You can create endless ripples of kindness across the landscape of your life: At your local coffee shop, your office, your favorite lunch spot, your home. Extending kindness can improve your physical and mental health. It can release stress and tension, calm your emotions, and boost your immune system. It can also strengthen your connection with others, fostering a sense of belonging.
Need some inspiration? All that is required to set the kindness train in motion is a smile, a small selfless act, or a genuine compliment. And as always, giving a gift is better than receiving one. For the fall season, offer to rake a neighbor’s lawn or help them bag up their leaves. Even something as simple dropping a mini-pumpkin on a coworker’s desk or picking up an extra pumpkin-spiced latte can make someone’s week.
Let Your Mindset Change with the Season by Transforming Stress Into Motivation
Autumn is regarded as the season of change. This means embarking on a new journeys complete with unknown obstacles and challenges. It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions during this time of year, but there’s no need to get overwhelmed.
Use Destress Monday as a day to repackage stressors into positive springs of motivation.
This is always easier said than done, but proven methods of centering oneself exist, and when used properly, they can help relieve anxiety and transform stress into a motivating force.
One of these techniques is mindful meditation.
Find a moment to be still without distraction, and become aware of the thoughts flowing through your head. Notice which ones are bothering you. Now ask yourself, “How is what’s troubling me affecting my outlook and wellbeing?” Once you identify a source of stress, reframe the experience by creating a positive alternative to what’s troubling you.
Mindful meditation requires a weekly commitment, so do your best to revisit these techniques every Monday. But don’t worry about getting it right the first time, even attempting a more optimistic life outlook can have a resounding impact on your physiological wellbeing by reducing cortisol levels — a hormone associated with symptoms of stress.
Step out onto your front or backyard, close your eyes, and take a deep breath; let the cool air pass through your nose into your lungs and fully embrace the perfume of fallen leaves. Open your eyes and notice the colorful foliage and plumes of smoke spiraling from your neighbor’s chimney. As you walk around your yard or head to your favorite trail, feel the crunch of the newly fallen leaves beneath your shoe.
Being present in the moment is a powerful way to center yourself and decompress.
On Monday, try the exercise above and see how it feels to let everything else go and focus strictly on the natural beauty around you. If you live in a city or a densely populated neighborhood, hop in the car and drive to a more idyllic environment. Bring along your partner, child, or friend, and experience the beauty of autumn together.