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That excited, “I’ve got this” new energy usually kicks in this time of year — kids are heading back to school, routines shift back into place after summer, the holidays are around the corner. But 2020 has given us plenty of versions of the “new normal,” so it’s no wonder many of us are feeling hesitant as we sort out our fall schedules.

With all the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic — including the pressures of distance learning, differences in working from home, and missed social interactions — intentionally finding time to care for ourselves is even more important.

Use this transition into fall to pause and reflect on what the past few months have shown you. Maybe you’ve benefitted from extra family time, spent more days in nature, or bonded with your neighbors. Then, set a positive intention for the coming months and schedule some time to refresh, rejuvenate, and welcome this new season — whatever it looks like this year.

Taking the time to reflect, care for, and honor yourself through self-care also models healthy behaviors to your family. It’s something you can do together or on your own for some me-time. To help inspire you, we’ve gathered some of our favorite ways to practice self-care so you can choose which activities best fit into your fall routine.

Take a digital break.

With the additional time at home, many of us have indulged in extra time in front of our phones, computers, and TVs. But the added blue light and hyperstimulation may be negatively affecting your health. Setting limits or taking breaks from screen time can boost your health, improve your sleep and your mood, and even benefit your posture. Try turning off notifications after 6 p.m., having social media-free weekends, or leaving your phone at home while you enjoy a walk in nature.

Create a spa day at home.

Set the mood, pour a cool drink, and draw a bath. Your spa day can include any or all the things you enjoy. It can be as simple as applying a mud mask while you watch a favorite movie or involve creating a full spa day of activities. Choose the ones you like or need the most and set aside the time to relax.

Try an at-home pedicure.

Feet are an often-neglected feature, but taking care of your feet and toes is beneficial to your health. Beyond just switching up your toenail color for the season, pampering your feet can relieve stress, help prevent infection, and improve circulation. Spend some time soaking and moisturizing your feet or try a full 30-minute at-home pedicure.

Meditate and practice mindfulness.

A powerful tool for relieving stress, meditation can help clear your mind of anxieties and promote relaxation. It can even help you build resilience to the busyness around you.

There’s a reason meditation is referred to as a “practice” — it can take some getting used to. If you’re new to meditating, it may be helpful to start with a short five-to-10 minute guided meditation. Or, try some simple mindfulness practices, such as stopping to notice the beauty of the changing season or thinking about something you’re grateful for in your life.

Have trouble sitting still? Try these moving meditations to help you stretch and increase your body awareness.

Book a salon or spa service.

Treating yourself to a hair, skin, nails, or massage appointment is a great way to relax and feel rejuvenated — especially after months of neglect or at-home haircuts and colors. Plus, scheduling an appointment can help you commit to making time for some self-care. You can read about the safety measures and protections in place for guests, such as the updates at the LifeSpa, to help you decide if you’re ready to head back to the salon.

Get in daily movement.

Homebound doesn’t need to mean sedentary. Keeping a regular workout schedule can offer tremendous benefits to both your body and mind. Exercise can help combat stress, boost your mood, and help alleviate anxiety and depression. Going to a fitness club is a great way to maintain a sense of routine, but a walk outside, body-weight workout, and one of our many on-demand fitness classes are also available to you.

Connect with others.

With fewer physical get-togethers and decreased social interaction, loneliness has increased for many of us. Yet there are ways for us to stay connected while social distancing.

Schedule a phone or video call to check in with a different friend each week. Hearing the voices or seeing the faces of our loved ones can help combat feelings of isolation.

You could even get creative with things like virtual dinner dates or game nights. Or, get out a pen and paper or card and send your friends and family an old-fashioned handwritten note.

Nourish your body.

Our nutrition has a big effect on how we feel and function — not to mention its influence on our immunity. This new season is an opportunity to reset your food habits for the better. Try cooking new recipes at home, discovering new seasonal vegetables or making mealtime a family activity.

Make time for self-reflection.

The pandemic provides a unique opportunity to pause and focus on whether or not our time and efforts have been spent on what truly matters most to us. Take this chance to understand the power of your mindset, discover your individual purpose, or incorporate personal development into your routine.

Do what you can.

Beyond lowering your stress or finding time to rest, engaging in more self-care is a commitment to supporting the life you want to live. There’s a reason they call self-care a “practice.” Making time for yourself may take some getting used to. Even if it’s a wholly new concept for you, explore tips and resources that can help you find ways to incorporate it into your routine.

Lindsey
Lindsey Frey Palmquist

Lindsey Frey Palmquist is a senior copywriter at Life Time.

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