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Stuck in a rut? This fall is a perfect time to refocus your life and create a new you

By Karen Kwan

With fall comes an opportunity to make a fresh start. The cooler temperatures and the start of a new school year motivates many of us to make some changes in our routines—it’s as though we’re all hit with the urge to earn straight A’s in life. But kickstarting your way to a better you doesn’t have to mean doing an overhaul of epic proportions, like going minimalist or doing a cleanse. A few small tweaks to the way you live day to day can add up quickly and reward you greatly.

Organize one aspect of your home
Just making one element of your everyday life more organized physically will bring you more peace of mind. According to Psychology Today, a messy home can bring about stress because all of the stuff is too much stimuli for our minds and the view of clutter is a cue to our brains that work is not done, which makes it difficult to relax. Start with a small task, such as sorting out that junk drawer. Want a bigger project? Develop a system to sort out and manage the steady stream of mail, newspapers and magazines that tend to pile up, perhaps by creating a folder to gather pending items to be filed, and ditching whatever can be recycled as soon as it enters your household.

Make breakfast your most important meal of the day
A new study led by researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California found that people tended to have a decrease in body mass index if breakfast was the largest meal of their day. In the same study, those who skipped breakfast tended to lose less weight than those who ate breakfast. This and past findings make a good case for making a wholesome breakfast a key focus of your diet to maintain your health into your golden years. If the prospect doesn’t excite you, think about ways to charge up your morning meal, by incorporating dishes such as overnight oats or savoury quinoa bowls.

Revive your fitness routine with something new
If you’ve settled into a groove when it comes to your workouts, consider adding a different type of workout to fire up some of the muscles you tend to neglect with your current regimen. Yoga fanatics and running cardio junkies, for example, can each gain benefits by incorporating a bit of each other’s training. Or consider swapping your venue for a boost of motivation: take that gym routine outside to the park and work out in the fresh air with a view of the changing autumn leaves.

Take more breaks from your smartphone
Constantly checking your emails and social media on your phone is linked to higher levels of stress, says a report released this year by the American Psychological Association. And many people who are over-attached to their phones report feeling disconnected from friends and family, even when they’re in the same room. If you can identify with this, establish some guidelines for yourself to put down the phone. Start small to make it more manageable: no smartphone or device during meals or when watching TV, for example, and no checking it after a certain time of night.

KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.

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