The coming of September reminds us of the ever-changing nature of seasons. Autumn, the start of school, and a new work year ( the end of the carefree months of summer) crop up on us whether we’re prepared for transition or not. Any time of transition brings the potential for challenge, whether we struggle with the new demands and routines that September brings or with the oncoming of colder weather. In any case, preparing ourselves for whatever challenges the new season presents us with is our best shot at navigating these changes with ease. In doing so, we emerge happy, healthy, and empowered to continue living life in alignment with our goals.
Anytime the world around us shifts, our lifestyle and drinking habits are at risk of doing the same. In some cases, autumn may come with fewer get-togethers than Summer and therefore, decreased opportunities to drink. However, for others, the pull back into a routine can increase stress, decrease overall life satisfaction, and spark triggers that lead to drinking habits that are not aligned with our best intentions. Bringing our awareness to this moment of transition is our first step to navigating it successfully.
Beyond awareness of the undeniable change in season, how can we transition smoothly out of summer – without falling into the all-too-common cycle of work, drink, eat, sleep, repeat? Consider these simple tips to help you release stress, anxiety or the winter blues and remain committed to a healthier lifestyle – with less or without alcohol.
Extracurriculars aren’t only for kids. As adults, we can expand our social circle in new ways (where alcohol is not a common denominator) by joining an adult-class in any number of areas. Consider trying your hand at painting, pottery, dance, or climbing. Even a weekly scheduled documentary night at-home can be considered an extracurricular. Find an activity that opens your mind and sparks your curiosity or creativity.
Set up a quiet area in your home, adorning it with blankets, cushions, and candles, and use this space to reset after a long day of school or work. Take five minutes or more daily to come to this space and mindfully focus on your breath or stretch your body. If the mind jumps in with thoughts of the summer, socializing, or a cold beer, acknowledge those thoughts and focus on the activity you’re doing – being gentle with yourself is a way to remind you that there may be a time and place for those things, but right now is not dedicated to any of those. As you truly nourish yourself in this quiet and mindful way, you’ll gain a clearer frame of mind that will help you to stay committed to your healthy lifestyle habits.
Summer is light, airy, and easy-going, but that doesn’t mean that autumn is the opposite. Focusing on the stressful and less-than-fun demands that this new season sometimes bring might spark our cravings for things that don’t really serve us. Instead, direct your attention on all that soothes you at this time of year. Consider the characteristics – both literal and figurative – of autumn: shedding, letting go, slowing down, and storing energy. Can you witness the beauty in these qualities and honour where they exist in you, too?
Regardless of what September means or looks like for you, we all undergo some type of transition at this time of year. Becoming more aware of how this time of transition challenges you personally and preparing to manage this with any of the above tools, you’ll find yourself better equipped to navigate whatever changes are coming your way. Embrace autumn as an opportunity – rather than exclusively as a challenge – and you’ll find renewed confidence in the path you are forging.
[Editor’s Note: The author of this post is a content contributor to Alavida, and this contributor was paid for their writing. The opinions, views, results and experiences are theirs alone.]
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Gillian Sanger is a yoga and meditation teacher, holistic nutritionist, and creative non-fiction writer. Committed to self-inquiry and to meditation in its many forms, she practices living life in alignment with the natural world, both inside and out. She seeks guidance and direction from her heart and from her highest self, strengthening her knowledge and intuition through her personal spiritual practice and through the written word.