Do you ever feel like 2020 just isn’t real life? Like we’re watching some strange movie unfold, or that we’re stuck in a never-ending dream? Our worlds changed drastically in a matter of days and months, and it can be tough to wrap our brains around the fact that it’s still going on – that Thanksgiving gatherings are being limited, or that Halloween will likely have to be reimagined as well.

For many people, the chillier weather and the shorter days can make the fall and winter months challenging enough as it is. Combine that with the fact that a lot of people are now unable to rely on their typical support systems, and this fall, in particular, may bring up a lot of feelings for some people. More than ever, it’s crucial that we’re checking in with ourselves to see how we’re doing. Allocate time to regularly check in on your mental health, to see if you need to adjust any areas of your life, and to seek out professional help if you need it.

This year is presenting unprecedented issues in our lives, and there’s no shame whatsoever with needing somebody to help you through the changes. Mental health professionals go to school for years and years to learn how to work through whatever it is you’re feeling right now. They’re there to help, you just need to ask for it.

Also read: 7 Simple Gratitude Practices

Self-Love 101

The thing about self-love is that it’s unique to our own needs, and our needs are constantly changing. What might have worked at one point in our life won’t necessarily work at another point in our life. You wouldn’t expect that what worked for you when you were 20 will also work for you when you’re 30, so you shouldn’t criticize yourself if what worked pre-pandemic isn’t working now. Our daily lives have changed, which means that our needs have probably changed, too. We can’t compare ourselves to where we were at one stage in our lives, since there are so many variables contributing to where we were then versus where we are now.

We also need to remember that, as a society, we may all be going through the same pandemic, but all of our needs are still vastly different from each other. We all live different lives with different experiences that directly influence how we may be dealing with the current events. Some people may appear to be handling it well with minimal effects, while other people may appear like their worlds are crashing down. Similar to how we can’t compare ourselves to a different time in our own life, we also can’t compare our lives to somebody else. Everybody is going through something right now – it might just look a little different than what we’re going through.

This fall, we need to make sure that we aren’t comparing ourselves to where we once were, or to how others may appear to be handling things now. We need to forgive ourselves if we aren’t exactly where we thought we should have been at this point, and be patient with ourselves if things are taking a little bit longer than usual. We need to seek help when we need it, and remember to always love ourselves first.

6 Socially Distant Fall Activities You Need to Try

1. Wear something that makes you feel empowered

From a young age, society has told us what we’re supposed to wear, and how we’re supposed to feel when we’re wearing it. For some of us, even just the thought of venturing away from these rules is enough to make us feel uncomfortable or even scared. But since this year is so different, and since we’re spending more time at home, it can be the perfect opportunity to play with fashion. Make this the year that you challenge society’s rules, and wear something to make you feel empowered: crop tops, high-waisted jeans, lingerie, etc. Get comfortable with it at home, and when you’re ready, start wearing it around others. Go at your own pace, take your time. There’s no rush.

2. Establish a morning /evening routine

When life is feeling extra overwhelming, routines can be a great way to add a little order and structure back into your day. Focus on what it is that you need, and create routines around it. Create routines that empower you first thing in the morning, as well as at the end of your night. For some, this could look involve structuring out every moment of your time, whereas others may find a general overview is enough for them. Find what works for you to make sure that you are cared for. 

3. Read a new book

It can be so easy to get caught up in the digital world and to fill our time scrolling through other people’s lives. Fall is the perfect opportunity to slow down, take a minute for ourselves, and cuddle up in a cozy blanket with a new book. Whether you grab for a book that you can learn from, grow from, or takes you to a faraway land, find something that you will thoroughly enjoy. More than ever, we need little things that make us feel happy and good about ourselves.

4. Get outside

Fall brings about change, and that change tends to happen quickly. Before we know it, the hot summer heat is replaced with the changing orange and yellow leaves. This time of year reminds us not only that change is inevitable, but that it also can beautiful. It teaches us to enjoy the moment and to appreciate the subtle changes as they happen. Spend some time in nature, soaking in all the fall sights and smells. Go for a hike, take a long drive, and watch as the leaves change colours and the weather starts to cool down.

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5. Try a new recipe/recreate your favourite Starbucks drink

There’s something pretty comforting about enjoying a warm, cozy meal on a chilly fall night. Spending more time at home means gives us the perfect opportunity to spend a little extra time in the kitchen and try a new recipe. Follow a new fall recipe that excites you, or recreate your favourite fall Starbucks drink. Make sure that you get creative, and most importantly, have fun.

6. Let go

It can be so easy to continue to hold onto things when we know we shouldn’t or to be afraid to let things go. Fall reminds us that we don’t need to hold onto things that aren’t serving us anymore and that letting go can be beautiful. Whether this means letting go of something in your closet that you never wear, or letting go of an old friend that you don’t get along with anymore, remember that some things holding on can be more painful than letting go (listen to Elsa, and let it go).