September Self-Care Challenge

Have a Self-Care September! Here are 30 fall-perfect self-care ideas. Are you ready for the challenge? How many will you complete? No presssure, I never finish all 30 myself! Feel free to as few or many as you like, in any order you choose. Download the self-care tracker and color in a leaf for every challenge you complete. Self Care September 2021.

Today is World Letter Writing Day. Have you ever written a letter to yourself? Today, write a letter of appreciation to you for all the ways you are great.

2 Apples are in season in September! Some varieties to try include Jonagold, McIntosh, Gala, Cortland, Fuji and Empire, among others. Keep them in the crisper in your refrigerator. And yes, you can eat one a day to stave off heart disease and diabetes.

3 Observe pandemic precautions. Vaccinated or not, wear a mask any place you are indoors (other than your home) and any place outside where there are crowds. N95 masks are safest but you can also double up on your fall-themed cotton masks from last year.

4 Decorate your home with fall touches for less. You can find autumn-themed door decorations and cider-scented or pumpkin candles at Dollar Tree. Look for $5 autumn-hued pillows and throw blankets at Five Below.

Wal-Mart is selling a autumn-scented hand soap for 99 cents.

5 Add a container of mums or another bright touch to  decorate your front porch, patio, deck or balcony.

Meditation is a wonderful form of self-care but plenty of people find it difficult to do. I use guided meditations. Here is a relaxing meditation to help you set intentions during the September New Moon (listen anytime you like). If you don’t like to close your eyes, you can keep them open with a soft gaze.

7 Today is the International Day of Clean Air. You can improve your home’s indoor air quality by changing the filter return routinely, mitigating for mold and mildew, skipping fragranced air “fresheners,” dusting and vacuuming carpeting at least weekly, opening your windows twice a day for 15 minutes, running the bathroom fan and kitchen exhaust fan and operating an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Bonus: the Covid-19 virus is less likely to survive in a home with good air quality.

8 As the days seem to be shorter, some people experience depression associated with Seasonal Affectives Disorder (also known as “SAD”). While antidepressants may help some (they don’t work for everyone), there are strategies that can help are habits like devoting daily time to your self-care, exercising or walking daily, getting as much sunlight as possible, taking Vitamin D3 and keeping a gratitude journal. You can also try rubbing peppermint lip balm on your wrists or the backs of your hands for a pick me up. Chamomile tea is a natural depression-easer (but avoid if you are pregnant or allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums). I have also found that chewing some minty gum (I like Orbit Sweet Mint) for just a few minutes can help fight off attacks of the doldrums.

9 Here is a September music playlist of indie folk and pop that just seems right for this month — for studying, working or relaxing. Boho coffee house vibes! 🙂

10 Take a tip from school kids and set aside 45 seconds for a morning moment of silence. Place your hands in a prayer position in front of your heart and focus on your breath. Close your eyes, if you wish. When your mind is calm, reflect on the positive ways you will make it a good day for yourself. Trust me, you will love this practice!

11 Read an article or a chapter of a book you’ve been wanting to read. Twenty minutes of reading daily is good for your memory and cognition.

12 Today is the National Day of Encouragement. You can encourage people by appreciating their efforts, achievments, and the way they have overcome obstacles. Don’t forget to encourage yourself the same way! I tape affirmations and quotes around my bathroom mirror. I even have one on my sewing machine!

13 Enjoy some gentle back-to-school humor in this old-time radio episode of Our Miss Brooks, starring Eve Arden. I find listening to these programs makes mundane, everyday tasks like cleaning much easier.

14 Today is National Coloring Day. Coloring can be a creative form of self expression and meditation. If you don’t have a coloring book, you can download and print free fall-themed coloring sheets online from Crayola.

15  There is something wonderful and melancholy about the month of September. Sometimes, you have to lean into that quiet and reflective mood. I’ve loved “September Song” by the immortal Nat King Cole (with accompaniment by George Shearing) since I was a little girl. It makes me cry sometimes, that’s how beautiful it is.

16 One of the most important elements of self-care is preparing for emergencies. Today is Get Ready Day. Everyone needs to have an emergency preparedness kit in their home and car. In addition to a first aid kit, stock enough shelf-stable food and water to feed your household for two weeks. It’s also a good idea to keep your car and tires in good condition and to keep the gas tank full. How do you prepare for emergencies?

17 Today is National Clean-Up Day. Grab a garbage bag and some gloves and join others outdoors to clean up parks, streams and trails. You’ll feel great about yourself after.

18 Today is the first day of Oktoberfest. Here is a recipe for pork with apples and sauerkraut. I think I skip the dill and add some honey mustard on the side. If you don’t like pork, you could make it with chicken sausage or a plant-based protein (tofu, white beans).

19 Expressing gratitude is a form of self-care. Today, list or journal about all the people, events and things you are grateful for this September.

20 Today is the Harvest moon. Several cultures celebrate this special day with unique festivities. It’s also mindfulness Monday, so here is a guided meditation for today. Tonight, yake a stroll outdoors this evening to see the moon in all her brilliance.

21 If you work or study, set a timer or an alarm on your phone to get out of your chair and take a stretch/walk break every hour for five minutes. You will be more productive and your joints will thank you!

22 Today is the first day of Fall. Relax with a cup of mulled cider — add any combination of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise or lemon peel to apple cider and gently heat.

23 September is National Honey Month. For the best health benefits, buy honey that is produced in your state or region. Honey is a natural cough soother, it has heart health benefits and has even been shown to help as a topical treatment for ulcerative sores in people living with diabetes. Here is a recipe for spiced honey that is easy to make.

24 When people talk about quintessential autumn movies, Dead Poets Society (1989) is always on the list. Believe it or not, I have not seen it. But I will this month! Thanks to YouTube Movies for making this fall-favorite movie free to watch in September. If you have seen it, pick any other fall-themed movie to watch this month.

25 Today is National Cooking Day. People who prepare and eat dinner at home are healthier than those who do not. And it can be fun to try new recipes in the fall when the weather is usually cooler.

26 Today is National Family Day. Maintaining connections with your family is good for your mental health and  is more important than ever during the pandemic. It is also Family Fitness Day so taking a walk together outdoors would be appropriate. How will you celebrate your family today?

27 Do you collect rocks or crystals? Some fall-colored crystals include Tiger Eye, Carnelian, Mookaite jasper and Citrine. You can find them for about a dollar at a crystal shop or buy the chips or beads from a craft store to fashion a fall bracelet.

28 Foot care and vein care become very important as you get older. Pamper your feet by spending some time with your feet up everyday. If you can, elevate your feet while you sleep. Otherwise, put your feet up when watching TV (aim for at least 20 minutes twice a day). Moisturize cracked heels (try Palmer’s cocoa butter products) but don’t put lotion between your toes.

29 Today is National Coffee Day and if you enjoy Starbucks coffee, it also happens to be Starbucks Coffee Day. Coffee in moderation is good for you: it is loaded in antioxidants. People who regularly drink coffee typically avoid liver disease. Try it black!

30 I found this September Dance Workout and it is only 3 minutes long! Even I can work out for 3 minutes. Let me know if you try it.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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