It's hard to ignore the Back to School signs in the shop windows, the dust in the streets, the yellowing of the leaves and the shift in the air as the days get shorter. Programmed by my own years at school, then again as a teacher and parent, I can never escape the rhythm of the academic year. I take stock, reassess, set goals and make resolution that are far more realistic than the perennial ones abandoned in the first week of January. Fresh starts are not just for kids. Start the new season with energy for yourself as well.
1. Plan the new you. The weather here in LA stays warm until October but the quality of light changes. We get wardrobe fatigue after months of sunshine. The appeal of a lightweight dress, so perfect a few months ago is fading as fast as our tans. We're getting into a new routine. We're changing gear. Anticipate the version of you that will reappear in snuggly sweaters and your favorite boots. Dig them out and freshen them up. Make a list of any new key items you need then pack away or donate your 'high summer' clothes.
2. Get sorted. This is the perfect time of year to clear clutter from your house. Clean out drawers, the kitchen cupboards, the fridge, the shed, the car or your home office. Remember how good it felt years ago when you threw away all the old pens and half chewed pencils, the ragged notebooks and the beaten up back -pack from the previous school year? That's how you want to feel again. Even if this level of organization is impossible to keep up, it's a great start and you'll feel more energized and positive as a result.
3. Check out courses. Sign up for evening classes, on-line learning, a book club or any of the many activities that will keep you active and away from the cake- tin, the couch and the remote control during the chilly evenings ahead. You could learn an instrument, sew, dance, paint... be inspired by the possibilities and then commit.
4. Devise a new exercise routine. Our serotonin levels can take a nose -dive in the winter months when we don't get sufficient sunlight and it's important for our moods and to boost our immune systems to fight against the winter cold. It's hard to drag ourselves out of bed in the dark mornings so don't set yourself up for failure. Pick sessions that are at a realistic time. Pay in advance or plan to go with a friend to keep motivated. You'll be less inclined to cancel when you've made an arrangement.
5. Focus on your work. Take the time for a re- appraisal. No matter how much you love your job, the first days back at work after a holiday can be tough. Ask yourself if this the right time to plan a change of direction, work towards moving on, change career path or maybe challenge your current role? If you are absolutely dreading going back to work then you may need a major re- think before you make yourself ill. We all have to earn our living, but do you really have to earn your money in a way that is unfulfilling? Are you as stuck as you think or just fearful and lacking the confidence to make a change? You know the answer. Now might be the moment to do something about it.
6. Tune into the energy. This is the season of rest and quiet growth. Mimic nature and go with the flow as much as possible. Rediscover the festive holidays and plan to enjoy them in the true sense by celebrating the harvest even when you live in the city. Plan to cook wholesome food, to rest and to walk. Take time for yourself whenever you can. You deserve it.
Read more about Thérèse's adventures at www.thereseblogs.com and pick up her latest novel 'Letter from Paris', published by The Story Plant and available from Amazon $11.71, as well as Kindle.