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Embracing the September Spirit: Navigating Transitions with Joy

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Do you find yourself among those who mark the passage of time from January or from September?

September welcomes us with a fresh start - a new academic year or a novel journey. It's not just about the cooler breeze; it carries a sense of revival. This month evokes cherished memories from childhood - the scent of untouched textbooks, rekindling friendships, and embarking on new adventures.

Have you managed to sustain that spirit throughout the years and seamlessly woven it into adulthood? Can you transform your return to work or your routine into a delightful experience?

Often, the answer tends to lean towards the negative. The phrase "back to reality on Monday" echoes with a hint of pessimism that's hard to ignore.

However, the crux of the issue lies within the term "reality." This is indeed our reality, encompassing the majority of our lives from Monday to Friday. Therefore, failing to find joy in this reality can significantly impact our mental well-being and connections with others.

Let's move beyond mere contemplation and delve into practical methods to enhance this phase. Here are some inspiring ideas:

1. Grant Yourself Time - There's no rush to immediately bounce back to 100%:

Your body and mind have journeyed through diverse times and perhaps places. It's now an opportunity to replant them in a distinct reality. Just as a plant requires care and time to flourish after being moved, so do you.

Embrace any tiredness or lack of focus; observe them gently and attend to them. They won't linger indefinitely.

Meanwhile, seize the chance to care for yourself. Disconnect from screens at night, read, stay hydrated, prioritize protein-rich and wholesome foods, and engage in outdoor activities. Even a brief stroll can suffice.

The return becomes smoother when you don't resist your emotions, allowing yourself time to adjust and nurturing your landing.

2. Fall in love with your routines:

Life, including the daily grind, comprises pleasant and less pleasant moments. This is natural; we must learn to endure it.

Yet, we're also the architects of those fleeting moments of joy. These instances, if we choose to notice and relish them, become significant.

This practice often features in therapy. Compile a list of minor delights that can be found or incorporated into your routine. It's easier if you contemplate this from the start of each day, beginning with weekdays and then weekends.

An example:

The rush of fresh morning air upon opening the window

Brewing coffee just the way you like it

Strolling with your faithful canine companion

Preparing a comforting beverage for your commutes

The aspect of your job that brings you the most joy: ______

Conversations or shared meals with colleagues, friends, family

Your end-of-day unwinding ritual: cooking, walking, exercise

Establish your own list, including already existing pleasures you might overlook, as well as new sources of well-being. Relish these moments when they occur. Every morning, review your list and assess if you savored and embraced these small joys the day before. Commit to cherishing and embracing them in the day ahead.

Remember, happiness, well-being, and mental health burgeon from the small, everyday moments. Balancing our tendency towards negativity involves valuing and attending to these daily pockets of delight.

3. Treat Yourself with Tender Care - Let your goal for this new phase be starting each day with self-kindness:

Frequently, we greet our days with self-deprecating words or thoughts like "I'm a mess, what a disaster, I didn't rest at all." These are the first words that your mind receives at the beginning of the day.

Why not seize the opportunity that September brings to instill the habit of beginning your day with self-compassion? Each morning, as you meet your reflection, bestow upon yourself some gentle words. Display compassion for your feelings while also nurturing a renewed affection for your routines.

*Pro Tip: Setting a reminder, perhaps on your bathroom mirror, can assist in ingraining this new habit.

4. Cultivate Gratitude - The mind tends to fixate on what's absent:

Our brain's negativity bias leads us to focus on what we lack, what's missing. It's natural, and it doesn't make you overly negative. Yet, let's balance this with gratitude.

Whenever thoughts arise about not being on vacation or lacking time for personal pursuits, acknowledge them. It's okay for these thoughts to exist, but flip the perspective.

Express gratitude for the summer that passed, for the people who enrich your everyday, for your basic needs being met, and for relishing the list of small joys outlined in point 2.

If implementing these practices proves challenging, know that you can always reach out for therapeutic support. However, we encourage you to embrace these strategies in the early weeks of September. We urge you to plant the seeds of mental well-being right from the start of your return to routine, reigniting the enthusiasm we've known since childhood.

Until September,


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