A drawing of a girl dreaming of work when she's asleep and dreaming of sleep when she's at work.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

While many people think that autumn is the most beautiful time of year, it’s also the most stressful, as a new school year begins at just about every school in the United States. It’s easy to get bogged down under the stress that comes with school, work, and everything in between. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help yourself feel more comfortable and ready to tackle the upcoming holiday season.

Be smart about what you’re putting in your body.

This one isn’t anything you don’t already know, but a reminder is always a good thing. Fill up on things that will keep you going. Try switching to four or six small meals a day, evenly spread out, which have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats. Going long periods without any food isn’t healthy, and neither is stuffing your face with office donuts all day long (guilty as charged). Just as important as lots of good food is getting the right amount of water. A rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half to find the ounces—for example, a 200-pound man would want to drink 100 ounces of water a day.

Sleep! For the love of everything, sleep!

Maybe you’re invincible, but also, maybe not. Try to get at least seven-and-a-half to nine hours of sleep a night. If you want your body to work at optimum level, you need to let it rest, even if you’ve got stuff to do. Avoid playing with your phone or tablet when you lay down for sleep, and avoid things like working in bed or staying in it all day. Then, when you flop down to go to sleep at night, your brain will recognize that you’re in an area meant for slumber, and you’ll probably get a better snooze.

Even if you hate it, exercise.

Try to get at least 15 minutes a day, three to five days a week. Not only does exercise keep your body at a healthy weight, it’s a good way to burn off excess anxiety or energy. The more exercise you get the less likely you are to suffer from anxiety or depression, in addition to a myriad of other ailments like heart disease and diabetes.

Fall is an exciting time! It’s one of earth’s most colorful, and it doesn’t have to be so stressful, even with the advent of major holidays. Of course, sometimes stress does trickle through, so be sure to check around to see if any stores offer discounts on crates of wine. Just in case. It’s always good to have a backup plan.