Return to Routine

September 16, 2013

Return to Routine

By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW

For many, the start of Fall symbolizes new beginnings even more than January 1st does.  We seem to associate September with “back to school.”  Even as adults, typically working throughout the year, we feel that Summer is a time for fun, and Autumn is a time to return to a more serious mindset.  Knowing this, the end of Summer is often bittersweet.  The return to routine, however, can be extremely beneficial for your health and well being.  This is a great opportunity to leave behind the warm weather activities that may drag you down come Fall, and carry on with the helpful ones.

For example:
Summer habit to chuck: too many late nights
Summer often means night after night of patio parties.  As fun as this is, the sleep cycle is often thrown out of whack thanks to lack of sleep routine and alcohol overload.  If you keep this up, you may notice yourself feeling fatigued as we move into Autumn, which isn’t helpful with flu season around the corner.  Now is the time to start ensuring you’re getting all the sleep you need and perhaps begin scaling back the late nights out.  This doesn’t mean you have to decline every invitation, but perhaps you can pass on the Tuesday margarita girl’s night and savour your Saturday night dinner out (perhaps with one glass of wine) instead.  You’ll be thankful when you’re not trying to get through your board meeting with a hangover headache.

Summer habit to keep: being physically active
When you haven’t been hanging out on the patio, perhaps you’ve been upping your outdoor activity.  Have you been swimming more, golfing, biking, or choosing to walk instead of taking the streetcar?  Fantastic!  Just because the weather is cooling doesn’t mean you have to put these activities on ice, too.  We know that being active is great for your physical health, but is also awesome for your emotional well being.  Numerous studies have been conducted linking exercise to the reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms.  Keep fit through the Fall to help ward off the blues.  Even if you’re no longer water skiing (because who’s up for that in October?), there are many ways to get out and be active.  Autumn is a perfect time to go apple picking, to take a hike, or even start a new gym class.  Hey, just because you’re not in school anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t get psyched for a different kind of class!

Take advantage of our second “New Year’s” and resolve to ditch Summer’s bad habits and let the good habits carry you through a cool Autumn in Toronto.

Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI.  Check her out at, drop her a line at, or follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW

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