6 At-Home Self-Care Tips to Follow this Fall

Fall is my favorite season. Cozy sweaters, warm drinks, pumpkin- and apple-flavored everything — what's not to like? But the change from warm, sunny days to crisp, dark nights isn't exactly the easiest. 

This year, we aren't only dealing with a change in season; this pandemic has uprooted our usual means of social connection in an already dreary and isolating time. Not only does it get darker earlier, but it's way chillier outside. 

The virus is ramping up again here in NJ, and unfortunately, it's looking like we might go back into lockdown again. Soon it'll be too cold for outside activities, and inside doesn't always feel safe. After a strict quarantine earlier this year, we all know how being stuck inside 24/7 can make us feel — isolated, tired, and anxious.

After the temperature shift and time change this past week, I decided it was time to figure out a few ways to combat these negative emotions. 

If you're also struggling with the seasonal change or any of the unknowns that another quarantine may bring, I hope that you'll consider following some of the at-home self-care tips listed below. 

Let's try to find some light in all this darkness, together.

6 At-Home Self-Care Tips to Follow this Fall

1. Write it down.

Journaling or even working out feelings through creative writing can be a huge help. Throw your thoughts onto the page or screen, and let them go. 

If you're overwhelmed by a long to-do list, write it out. Crossing tasks off the list will make you feel like the superhero that you are.

2. Move your body.

Try a fun cardio workout from Dance FitSugar or turn on some music and dance it out in your bedroom.

For a gentler option, try hatha yoga for anxiety or a grounding practice to connect with the earth and your emotions.

3. Clean your bedroom or workspace.

You're saying that doing chores will make me happier? What!?

I know, I know. Maybe it's just a me-being-a-clean-freak thing, but working in a clean environment tends to make things just a tiny bit less stressful. 

If you don't have the energy to go all out, even just tidying up your desk/workspace, making your bed, or taking out the trash can make you feel accomplished.

4. Engage in a mindfulness practice like meditation.

It took me a long time to really get behind the idea of meditation. My mind always wandered, and sometimes it honestly felt like a waste of time. After a few years of practice, I've come to realize that the key to meditating is actually pretty simple—anytime your thoughts wander or you lose focus, try bringing your mind back to the present moment. 

Using a mantra usually helps me with this. I've found the following, which I learned in a Koru Mindfulness workshop in college, to be super helpful:

   • Breathe in and think "In," breathe out and think "Out;" breathe in and think "Safe," breathe out and think "Calm;" breathe in and think "Here," and finally, breathe out and say "Now." Do this for about 5 minutes or as long as you need.*

   • Breathe in deeply and slowly from your belly for 4 counts; hold for 4 more and then let it out for 4. Wait 4 counts until starting over. Do this 4 times.

If you need more guidance, try a Koru Mindfulness guided meditation here or a 10-Minute Guided Meditation from Yoga with Adrienne here.

5. Call a friend and set up a virtual date or game night.

If you aren't physically able to meet in person, whether that be due to geographic distance or quarantine guidelines, try calling a friend or loved one. My friends and I have had so much fun just talking and catching up or playing games virtually over FaceTime and Zoom. 

Some fun and free options include HousepartyRandom Trivia, and Massive Decks, which is like Cards Against Humanity. If you're up for investing in it (or have a friend willing to share), Jackbox.tv is also a great option. 

If you're looking for a virtual date night idea, try Netflix party. My boyfriend and I used it almost every night at the beginning of quarantine, and it gave us a way to connect while apart. If you and your partner have it downloaded on your browser, you can invite them to watch a show or movie on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus, or Hulu. (This only works if both parties have the extension downloaded on Chrome and an account for the video streaming service of choice.) 

Pro tip: Connect headphones to your computer, and then put your phone on speaker and call or FaceTime your partner!

6. Do something small that makes you smile. 

Sometimes we don't have the energy necessary to take care of ourselves the way that we'd like to. In this case, something small like a shower or a laugh can go a long way. If I'm going through a flare up or too anxious to concentrate on anything, watching dog videos on Instagram or binging a show on Netflix can help just the same.

What makes you smile?



* A longer version of this meditation uses the following sentence in the same pattern: "Breathe in, Breathe out;" "I am safe, I am calm;" I am here, I am now."