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Gabrielle Bernstein: How to maintain your summer zen all year long

Happiness isn't seasonal, but it can feel that way as summer ends. Mindfulness guru Gabrielle Bernstein tells us how to keep our zen.
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Labor Day weekend can be a bittersweet experience. Summer is (unofficially)over, and it’s time to get serious about work, schedules and the business of day-to-day life.

This abrupt shift into the new season can be jarring to our nervous system and emotionally overwhelming — but that doesn’t mean you have to trade a mellow attitude for stress and tension.

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If you want to ease into things with a high-vibe attitude, you have to be mindful of the transition. Happiness is seasonless, so follow these five easy steps and carry your summer zen into fall.


1. Ease into autumn

After summer’s slowdown, you might be tempted to set your alarm extra early and go all-out. Resist the urge! Ease back into your fast-paced lifestyle. When you jump back in too fast, you shock your nervous system.

Try not to overcommit in September and get a lot of rest so that you can slowly transition back to a busy schedule.


2. Recommit to health

At the beginning of the summer we often set powerful intentions to get healthy. We do fitness challenges, clean up our diets and try new healthy ventures. If you developed a wellness practice this summer — a new way of eating, workout routine or started meditating — commit to another 90 days of it beginning the day after Labor Day.

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Recommitting to your practice will help keep the good energy flowing into the new season.


3. Start your day with high vibes

The back-to-business attitude of fall can make us feel bogged down as soon as the alarm buzzes. Instead, start your day with a mantra, a daily affirmation, a meditation or a practice. Do something mindful in the morning to set yourself up to win, even if it’s simply lying in bed for a few minutes longer to start your day with grace.


4. Take advantage of the weather

Right after Labor Day we pack away our bathing suits and bust out the scarves. Instead, let summer linger longer and savor the in-between time — when the mornings are a bit crisper, the afternoons mellow into languid warmth, and nights are cool enough to be comfortable — before fall really settles in.

Take mini vacations on the weekends and head to the beach when no one is there. Or road trip out to the country for a day to see the foliage while it’s still warm out.


5. Bust the anxiety pattern with a breath break

The main reason people feel anxious after Labor Day is because they dive into old patterns and forget to breathe. We move so fast into the energy and speed of the “back-to-school” season that we forget to take mindful moments.

One of the simplest ways out of that anxious state is to reconnect to your breath. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Do this whenever you notice your anxiety set in. In any given moment, you can breathe your way back to peace.

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