7 Steps to Manage September Stress
Like many of you, I have mixed feelings when the summer ends. After long hot summer days at the beach or in my garden, I begin to anticipate the fullness of the fall, yet want to hold on to the last days of summer. September is a very busy month for most of us. Whether you have children you are sending back to school, or are preparing for the increased work load that lies ahead, it is very important to make a plan for staying in balance to prevent stress from making you sick.
As you are busy preparing for upcoming deadlines, events or celebrations, remember that these preparations can take over your calendar—and your mind—more than the events themselves. Here are some quick and simple tips for finding your center amidst the post-summer whirlwind.
- -Think “full,” not “busy.” Words are so powerful—in the end, you are what you think! So shift gears from the anxious, driven, never-enough-time feeling of “busy” to “full” or “abundant” or “rich.” The next time someone asks how you are, try responding with, “Life is full!” and let the harried feeling melt into an appreciation of abundance. When you shine a light on a negative thought, it disappears just like turning on a light in the room removes all the darkness.
- -Preventive Scheduling: As you make appointments and plan your days, be kind to yourself. You can choose to schedule a stressful, busy day, or to give yourself some space to breathe or exercise. Be sure you continue your self-care regimen, too, and don’t skip your morning meditation or exercise routine. Make the choice that puts you first.
- -Take a Breather. When you are feeling tense, remember you can use your breath for relaxation wherever you are. As you’re standing in a line or waiting anywhere, turn your attention to your breathing. Slowly breathe in to a count of 4, pause, and then breathe out to a count of 6. Begin again, 4 breaths in, pause, 6 breaths out. Stay with this count and notice how you begin to quiet inside.
- -Make a gratitude list. Another easy activity to do while you are waiting anywhere is to pull out your smartphone or notepad and write down 10 things you are grateful for in that moment: blue sky, an open parking space, an unexpected smile, or a green light. This always brightens my day!
- -Be generous in the moment. It is in giving that we receive. Let someone go in front of you in the checkout line. Give up the parking space. Let the pedestrian cross in front of you. Text a message of love or support to a friend or family member.
- -Dance! Turn up the tunes and dance in your kitchen to just one song—either by yourself or with whomever else is there. Let your heart sing!
- -Sleep! Don’t forget your bedtime. Remember, your day always begins the night before. This is the single best thing you can do to stay focused, calm, and happy during this extra busy time.
These days will fly by, so be sure to smile, and enjoy them. Savor the events to come because soon they will be memories that you will want to hold on to and cherish.