Health / Expert Advice

How to Transition from a Summer to Fall Mindset

Season changes can be tricky to adapt to. Here's how to make the transition easier.

Forget the Sunday Scaries—you may be having a big dose of summer remorse. As the sun starts to set earlier and the temperature drops to sweater weather, you know a season change is on its way. For many people, this shift isn’t easy, and doubling down to meet those end of year goals—at work, in fitness, and otherwise—may feel like a hurdle. But one of the most effective ways to release your hold on summer and embrace fall is to restructure your thinking and habits. Here, how to transition from a summer to fall mindset.

Remember, the freedom isn’t over.

Everyone associates various seasons with different feelings or memories. While winter is about cozying up and binge-watching Netflix, Transformation and Lifestyle Management Coach Ellyn Schinke, MS says that many people view summer as the time to be free. This may be due to a more laid-back vibe at work, an uptick in vacation, and the ability to be outside for more hours. Not to mention the impact of vitamin D, which leaves many people feeling happier.

When autumn arrives, Schinke says that many people may feel that loss of freedom—but that isn’t the case. No matter what time of the year it is, paid time off is part of most job descriptions, and travel doesn’t have to be confined to the hottest months of the year. Perhaps one way to restructure your thinking is to determine if year-long ‘summer Fridays’ is a possibility with your company, or, at least, the flexibility to work remotely. With more professionals opting for this lifestyle, it could make the pain of the end of summer feel less intense.

Find something to look forward to.

If you’re a parent, you know one of the most effective motivation tools is bribing. Though you may not believe that you can apply this same logic to yourself, Schinke argues otherwise. By giving yourself something to look forward to, you can maintain your focus with rewards. Perhaps it is a weekend getaway, a shopping trip to replace those tired-out boots or sneakers, or even a spa day to help your skin recover from the summer. “Summer is often so full of plans and fall often isn’t. So, we can help with that mindset shift by identifying something to look forward to in this next season of life,” she explains. With exciting—or comforting—adventures on the horizon, you’ll be more likely to feel less anxious about summer ending and, instead, anticipatory of all of the fun that is yet to come.

Set a new goal.

Remember that 10K you once wanted to run? That hike you didn’t make time for last year, but really want to conquer this fall? What about that book outline you’ve been pondering for months, but haven’t yet put pen to paper? Schnike says that not only is the change in season a literal fresh start, but creating a new goal to go with it is a great way to give your mindset a recharge, too. Though any type of aspiration—from your career to your relationship—are welcomed, Schnike says that many people turn to their health in the fall. How come? Summer is a time of excess—cold beer, burgers, little sleep, and repeat—and Autumn gives us a much-needed opportunity to focus on balance. “It’s a great time to recommit to a health and fitness goal. Plus, cooler temperatures make for vastly more comfortable workouts,” she adds.

Embrace the down time.

If you’re usually Team FOMO (fear of missing out), Schnike says that it’s time to give yourself a break. After the revolving door of cocktail parties, weddings, and vacays comes to a close as summer ends, you may feel exhausted and in need of alone time to relax, recharge, and reconnect to your inner self. By embracing the down time of no-plans-no-problem, you avoid burning yourself out. This will ensure that fall becomes a positive reminder in your mind of a period when you can actually savor the quiet and calm. “Schedule a ‘me’ day where you can cozy up to the fire and sip some cocoa, while watching your favorite movie,” Schnike shares. “Plan nothing and just let yourself do whatever feels right. Schedule a massage. Whatever! Sometimes the best thing we can do is embrace the downtime when the days shorten and seasons shift.”

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