The days are getting shorter, the air is getting nippy, and the “Brace Yourself, Winter is Coming” jokes are starting. I love autumn – the cooler temps, the brilliant foliage, and pumpkin-flavored everything are pretty much a combination for wonderful. But, fall comes with its downsides as well.
The back-to-school specials at Wal-Mart are an undeniable sign that your days of relaxing on the beach, drink in hand – or even just those long lunch breaks in the sunshine – are rapidly coming to a close. Whether you’re a student dreading the start of the school year or a startup founder who knows autumn means getting back to business, fall is a stressful time for most people.
Here are some autumn stress relief tips for entrepreneurs to avoid heading into the winter already worn out and exhausted.
1. Change Up Your Routine
The weather and the light shifts from summer to fall affect your mood quite a bit. Whether you roll out of bed and head down the hall in PJs to start your day, or commute to the office, it’s going to be tempting to catch a little extra sleep now that the sun is rising later. Resist this urge, stick to your routine, and take time to review what you need to do today and what the day will bring. Try to incorporate some attention to your body throughout the day as well. Plan a midday walk to get the blood – and creative juice – flowing, or take some breaks for meditation, deep breathing, or quick exercises. Even if all you do is stretch, you’ll feel better for it.
2. Get Organized
Head into the busy season with a clean slate and prepared for what’s ahead. Create a plan for the autumn and winter – map out what you know is coming, create timelines and deadlines for yourself, and consider what your days will look like based on the demands on your time.
Declutter your workspace as well. Whether it’s a desk in a cubicle or your kitchen table at home, a quick fall cleaning will help keep your stress levels down. You’ll know where everything is, and no longer feel overwhelmed by the mess of papers that seems to be slowly taking over your desk. Include your apps, bookmarked sites, and inbox in your decluttering process for added stress reduction.
3. Keep A Work Mood Log
What triggers anxiety or stress for you, both the good and the bad kinds? When are you most productive and creative? When are you tired and distracted? Keep track of your mood shifts and stressors in a work “mood log.” Armed with this information, you can (hopefully) adjust your schedule accordingly. If you’re slower to start in the morning because of the later sunrise, or find yourself wishing for a mid-afternoon siesta, use that time to do something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power. On the flip side, use your productive times for brainstorming, meetings, and difficult projects.
4. Don’t Worry, Get Happy
We work better when we’re happy, so figure out what makes you happy, and incorporate it into your day. Make playlists of your favorite music, bookmark a few baby animal photo sites, and decorate your office with pictures of family and friends, or whatever else makes you happy to look at.
5. Keep A Stress Kit Handy
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, stress might overwhelm you anyway. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst with an emergency stress relief kit. Some dark chocolate, some lavender oil, and something caffeinated make for a good start.
What other strategies do you use to keep yourself from being sick, frazzled, and worn out come November? Comment below!