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Between your mental health, your fashion choices, and your physical health, it seems like each new season brings a slew of challenges, both good and bad. If the presence of pumpkin spice lattes tells us anything, it’s that fall is officially on its way for better or worse.

If you plan to hit the ground running this fall, getting ahead of the curve is essential for your well-being. Here are some important self-care tips to consider before the leaves start falling.

1. “Hydrate or die-drate”

It’s easy to stay hydrated in the summer thanks to our near-constant thirst in the blazing heat of the sun. However, once the weather cools, it can be difficult to keep up with your hydration. Not only is drinking water great for your skin, it also helps improve your hair, digestion, and can make you feel more energized. The hair on your head can last between three and seven years, so taking care of it is essential, especially if you’re prone to dying it.

2. Read a helpful book

This is essential for the new college grads, recent job-quitters, and those who struggle with their mental health. Feeling lonely is a hallmark of fall and winter, especially when seasonal affective disorder kicks in. Even people who are not typically depressed can feel a little glum when the sun doesn’t shine quite as often.

As such, self-help books and other motivational reads are great to improve your self-esteem and work on your personal relationships. One author of a new book titled, How Not To Fall Apart, approaches mental health in a relatable way. Maggy Van Eijk read over 68 books alone in the past year while working on her book and struggling with depression.

3. Take your vitamins

Vitamin deficiencies can also create depressive symptoms in many people. This is made even worse when the seasonal shift leads to colds and other seasonal illnesses. An estimated 1 billion colds plague Americans each year, seriously lowering our morale.

Fight off colds and bad moods by getting your vitamin levels checked, particularly your vitamin D. If it turns out your levels are lower than expected, consider getting a prescription to help your body adjust to the darkening days. While one person might be prescribed 1.25 mg of vitamin D, others will need double that amount. Everyone’s health is different but it should always be made a priority.

4. Do something that makes you happy

Distracting yourself is a great way to keep your mental and physical health in check. While some people find solace in watching a funny television show, others will take a walk outside to clear their head. And don’t believe the myth that nature alone cures depression; there are countless ways to help manage your mental health.

5. Do something that pushes you

Our comfort zones are comfortable for a reason. As such, we don’t want to participate in activities that make us feel anxious or scared. During the fall, it can be tempting to cozy up each night with that good book or great television show. However, this kind of behavior can become habit-forming very quickly. It’s important to keep pushing yourself toward new and bigger things.

While you shouldn’t go overboard — stay away from life-harming activities — trying new things will help keep your life interesting. When almost 70% of Millennials claim they’re adventurous, anyone can keep pushing themselves to live outside the box. Try skydiving. Visit the new bar down the street. Go to that pumpkin patch with your coworkers. Ask that cute person on a date. You can learn something new from each new experience, whether it goes well or not.

6. Prioritize hygiene

When you look better you feel better. While you shouldn’t necessarily run out and get plastic surgery, taking care of your hygiene each day will make you feel good and look better.

Of course this includes your daily shower and deodorant, but you should try to go deeper than that. Try out a hot oil massage once or twice a week to strengthen your hair and improve your scalp health. Give yourself a weekly pedicure. Always remember to moisturize after showering. Not only will you take comfort in a new routine, you’ll feel better when you take extra special care of yourself.

7. Exercise

Fall is known for the delicious food that comes your way. Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin-flavored everything, and more. With all the delectable options, you might begin to notice your waistline growing. While it’s perfectly natural to pack on a couple pounds when the weather turns, you should remember to keep up on your exercise regimen. It will help both your body and your mind stay in shape when the darker weather is on its way.

These are just some ways you can practice self-care in the fall. Other people will choose to meditate, spend more time with family, or even adopt a new furry friend. Self-care looks different for everyone and these are just jumping off points to lead you to a more healthy life. That start of every season offers the potential for growth. Time to take care of yourself.

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