Fall is my favorite season of the entire year. I adore the weather, I love getting out my sweaters and boots, I am thrilled to not be dripping in sweat after my daily walk to the office, I am excited by making cozy crockpot soups and pumpkin everything (see my top pumpkin recipes here!), I am pumped that football and basketball seasons are starting, and I savor the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season ahead. Fall is almost perfect.
Except that this is the season in which people tend to put enormous pressure on themselves. One of the fascinating things about working with dozens of nutrition clients at a time is that I see trends amplified. When one person mentioned keto 3 years ago, I didn’t worry … but when 6 people per day mention it now, I know it’s a trend (for more of my thoughts on popular diets, see this webinar!). When one person asks about cauliflower crust, I give them a recipe … but when people mention it daily, I put it on my Instagram 😊. I help people with stress all year round, but leading up to holiday season (and yes, it’s true, October really is the lead up to the holiday season), the stress seems to build considerably.
That said, I’m dedicating October to providing you with content that helps you relieve stress. Today’s blog post features things you can say no to, and future October blog posts will help you optimize sleep, improve your self-talk, and see how stress is impacting your daily life. I’m closing the month with a free webinar on “Real World Solutions to Balance Health When You’re Stressed” (register here). Have a related topic you’d like me to talk about? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email!
Here are my top 7 things to say NO to this Fall:
- Say NO to endless social media scrolling. Let’s be honest – I do it, too, and I find myself going in waves of spending more or less time watching Instagram stories when I’m in line, walking, procrastinating, you name it. And social media has a place – goodness knows I put out enough content on my Instagram and Facebook, and I stand behind that content and its value. But when social media scrolling leads to comparing yourself to others (“She works out every day and eats healthily all the time,” or “Her family looks perfect in their Christmas card”), it’s probably time to take a break. Want to know how much time you’re spending on social media? If you have an iPhone, go to “Settings,” “Battery,” and then “Last 7 Days” and hit the clock on the right side. How many hours of life could you have gotten back?
- Say NO to pressure to go to all the parties. Football watching parties, happy hours, holiday parties (yes, they’re really starting!) … commitments can start to pile up around this time of year, and it’s awesome if you want to go. But have you ever felt like you had to go to an event that was supposed to be fun? Like you’re SO strung out and exhausted, but you just can’t rest? If so, give yourself permission to say no.
- Say NO to letting the busyness of the season and weather change impede your sleep. Now that you have permission to skip a party here and there, why not use that extra time to be sure you’re getting adequate sleep? Sleep is incredibly important to our overall health, mood, recovery, immunity, and stress levels, and now is not the time to let it slip. How many hours of sleep do you need, and what can you do to get it? Stay tuned to next week’s post for tips on how to improve your quality of sleep!
- Say NO to using food or alcohol to self-soothe. Whenever stress increases, it’s easy to use food or alcohol as a means to self-soothe, and even though it might feel good in the moment, we know it is not solving the long-term issue (and often making us feel even worse). As a natural emotional eater myself, I know that if I’m not careful, my tendency is to turn to chocolate or ice cream in times of stress. Instead, I’m better off taking a few deep breaths, thinking of a few things I’m grateful for, and going for a short walk. I know it’s tough – but it’s worth it.
- Say NO to making holidays about things. In the past few weeks, I’ve been surprised at how often my discussions of the season turn to “Yay! It’s finally getting cooler!” is followed by “Yep! Time for pumpkin spice lattes!” … “October is just around the corner” was followed by “Ugh, my neighbor already has her Fall decorations up and I don’t yet.” That’s saying nothing about the gifts, holiday meals, and holiday baking that is sure to come. When you find yourself getting excited about the season because of a thing, why not challenge yourself to think of a reason you’re excited that has nothing to do with an object?
- Say NO to forgetting your self-care amidst the busyness of the season. Why is it that October, November, and December seem to be a whirlwind of frantic energy revolving around other people, and then January is the month that everyone focuses on their own health and goals? Why not continue prioritizing yourself and your self-care throughout this season, so you don’t feel tempted to do something dramatic when January rolls around? Eat the food that makes you feel great, hydrate appropriately, get some rest, move your body, fit in some relaxation time, and by all means, say something nice to yourself. You deserve it.
- Say NO to putting yourself last. Ever. Prioritizing yourself means that others get the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. Do what it takes to prioritize yourself. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Now it’s your turn … What can you say NO to this Fall?