5 Areas To Focus On This "Going Back" Season That Will Make Your Fall A Healthy One

Summer is, without doubt, a fantastic season and one that I cherish. Part of me is holding onto my sandals and begging the sun to stick around a while longer. What am I going to do without outdoor dining, rooftop happy hours, and days that last longer than I can walk?! It’s a beautiful, young season. It’s also sweaty and I smell like a man half the time—because New York loves summer too, but in a humid, "look, let's pretend to be Satan's armpit" kind of way.

With this wide-awake season, many of us lose some things—a routine that helps us prioritize personal growth over the activities that never slow down.

I love back to school season with my entire being. Fresh pens, a brand new schedule, and updated wardrobes were my favorite part of the year! Having a season of “going back” helped curb the summer chaos and get me back into the groove of things. Fall is my favorite for many other reasons as well — football, my birthday, and comfort food — but this organizational reset has always stood above the rest.

This is my second fall where I’m not “going back,” but since last September was spent readying myself for life in NYC, this feels like the first! As I watched some of my favorite humans getting back into the swing of school over the past few weeks, I found myself missing that reset. I wanted a blank slate, a fresh perspective, and gosh dang it, a new notebook!

The great thing about being an adult is that I can still choose that mindset, without having to sign a syllabus for each class. 

1. Physical health

With summer activities, both planned and spontaneous, it's too easy to say "oh, I don't need to run today" and spend time doing something "more festive." While I need to kick it into gear because WHOA there's a marathon in two months (Are you praying for me? Please stop what you're doing and drop to your knees, I need it), it's so valuable for everyone to reassess workout goals for the fall. Most gyms have seasonal class schedules, so make some friends and kick some booty. 

With this new exercise endeavor you're on, what you're putting into your body is also a key factor to consider. Take the time to figure out what your eating goals are -- are you meal prepping lunches, going grocery shopping to avoid ordering takeout, or are you just beginning to track what you eat? Whatever you're doing, being conscious of what you're putting in your body is a step in the right direction. 

2. Mental health

Hopefully, your goals surrounding your physical health increase your mental health automatically. As most of us know at this point, there are other ways to tell if we're healthy besides a number on a scale. If our current climate has taught us anything, it's that this area of your life CANNOT go ignored.

This doesn't mean you have to go to therapy - everyone's healthy mental state looks different. Talk to a friend about what's going on in your life, start a gratitude journal and actually write in it, and understand that sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time - nothing can be planned out forever. What do you need to do to take care of YOU? 

3. Spiritual health

Summer schedules are less than routine. Busy nights out in the warm air result in skipping devotionals, and exhaustion from Saturday meant I spent too many Sunday mornings catching up on sleep. But Jesus doesn't just stop for sunshine, y'all. It’s time to give myself a swift kick in the pants and remind myself to chase after grace

I’m currently in the season a church shopping, which is tiring (and often disheartening) to say the least. But the Lord always provides, and just because I’m experiencing some discomfort doesn’t mean I can stop prioritizing him. This is my most important reset — I encourage you to do the same.

4. Financial health

Believe it or not, eating on all the cutesy outdoor patios is not the cheapest option. Summer activities general cost a pretty penny, and since the sun stays out longer than we’re used to, we are a tad more reluctant to go indoors. For the most part, staying out costs money.

The fall time is a beautiful chance to re-evaluate your financial goals, cutting back on things that became a habit over the summer months. I personally like Mint for a simple budgeting app — it keeps me organized and focused on my saving goals. Finances don’t have to be difficult or uncomfortable, just create a plan and stick with it. 

5. Social health

But wait, you just had a summer full of happy hours and beach days and activities, yes? Sure, but were you participating in community? Sometimes having a full calendar doesn't mean you have a healthy social life. 

Use this change of seasons to surround yourself with people who lift you up, encourage you to grow, and honestly go through life with you. Find groups to join, classes to take, or volunteer opportunities that lead you to these people.  

“Going back” isn’t specially reserved for school kids. It’s a transitional mindset that we can all benefit from—it’s a time to recharge and reset after a busy summer.