This post brought to you by CreditRepair.
There may be no more basic or unoriginal statement on the internet, but dammit, I love fall. It’s just so wonderful, so full of possibility and renewal, and unlike spring (which often feels more damp and lurching than anything else), the crispness of fall feels so immediate and satisfying. It’s the perfect weather to improve yourself, and a much better time than New Year’s (when everything is freezing and you are still physically and emotionally bloated from the holidays) to commit yourself to bigger goals. I love cleaning in autumn, restructuring and reorganizing and making everything in my life feel more streamlined.
Perhaps it’s just the heavy increase in sweaters, but it’s a time that makes me want to feel like more of a grown-up. Summer is for mistakes and immature indulgence, fall is for being a reasonable and candle-surrounded adult. And there are several rituals the TFD team is working on adding to our lives this season to make the most of the season — rituals you should challenge yourself to ! — so we partnered up with CreditRepair to talk about becoming the better, autumnal versions of ourselves. CreditRepair is a service and app that enables you to build your credit through monitoring tools, regular updates, and by helping get negative reports removed. It’s the perfect place to start when you are looking to upgrade your finances. There’s no more perfect a time to upgrade than the crispy beginning of fall, and there’s no more perfect grown-up rituals to focus on than these six.
1. Declutter your workspace.
It’s not just in your head: when your workplace is chaotic or cluttered, it actually makes it more difficult to work. Science has long established that the more organized and thoughtful your working area, the more likely you are to both want to work, and do work well when you set yourself to it. According to one study, “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information.” So a perfect place to start this fall is to make a ritual of maintaining your workspace. Whether at home or in the office, taking a little time each day to properly clean and organize your work area (and get rid of those dreaded piles of random paper) can make all the difference in the morning. And making it beautiful, even with the simple addition of things like candles, a soft desk lamp, or a nice inspiration pushboard, can make being there a pleasure instead of a chore. Who cares if the cute #worklife Instagram is what initially motivates you to get it together for fall — your brain will thank you for making your workspace so put-together.
2. Give yourself a financial exfoliation.
As someone who has dealt with lifelong skin problems, I can officially say that dealing with your finances head-on has much the same feeling as a good exfoliation and/or facial. You feel cleansed and renewed, and like you have gotten to the necessary stuff under all the BS. And a great place to start in your financial exfoliation is your credit. You need to build, maintain, or at the very least, check and maintain your score, and you can do that easily and efficiently at CreditRepair. CreditRepair helps you fix past credit mistakes and analyzes the accuracy of your various scores. You have access to a free report and consultation on how to build on your goals, and a breakdown of exactly what you might have been doing wrong. It might feel scary at first, but I promise you: the second you face your money situation head-on, you will immediately feel lighter and more confident. Treat yourself by exfoliating your money this fall.
3. Learn a memory-strengthening skill.
There’s no getting around it: the month of August is like a microwave for your brain. Too much sun, too much fun, probably too many themed cocktails, and very little desire for hard work. It’s likely that, by the time fall rolls around, you are feeling more than a little fuzzy and slow at your desk. But you’re in luck, because studies show that learning a new skill, particularly working on a new language, doesn’t just help you with the particular skill you’re working on. It helps strengthen your memory and critical thinking, and makes almost every other thing you’re doing feel more manageable. As a bonus, it can also ward off dementia. So just like your retirement account — Which you have, right? Right?? — it’s an investment up front now that will seriously benefit you in the long term. Put your brain on the elliptical this fall and shake off that mojito-induced sluggishness: challenge yourself to earn at least one new skill.
4. Upgrade the “lighting story” in your home.
I love made-up aesthetic terms like “lighting story.” It’s so fancy to think of your home not just in terms of its literal function, but its more emotional value. And despite it perhaps seeming a bit superficial, how your home is lit actually has a huge impact on how you live in it day-to-day. Warm, soft lighting can actually make you feel warmer (saving on heating costs), and having a kitchen that isn’t lit with those godawful public school cafeteria fluorescent lights means wanting to cook more, and entertain more at home. You want to make your home feel like a nest, and a place you really want to be. A good lighting story, and spending just a few dollars on better bulbs, candles, and a few fixtures, can be the difference between home being a source of stress and a source of warm joy as the weather cools down.
5. Make a wardrobe spreadsheet.
Okay, okay. I know my minor obsession with spreadsheets for packing and organizing my wardrobe borders on the pathological. But it makes my life so much easier, and it truly makes planning outfits and preparing for frequent work travel a joy. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have not experienced the “I have nothing to wear” sentiment in months, and it’s entirely because I have indexed everything I own and use, clothing-wise, and filled in the gaps according to my needs. And as the temperature drops and I am able to wear things besides “the thinnest and flowiest possible items I own,” making outfit combinations I actually enjoy is infinitely easier with my new system. So take a Saturday listening to a podcast, sorting and organizing your clothes, and creating a spreadsheet of what you have. What you need, what you don’t need anymore, and what you actually like to wear will never feel clearer. (And I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have made several dozen outfit combinations that I never would have otherwise thought of because seeing everything laid out so neatly eliminates my tendency to open my closet and gravitate towards the same five things.) Here’s my packing spreadsheet, to get you started on the indexed-clothing train!
6. Take a few minutes each day to meditate.
Okay, yes, this one probably sounds the most new-agey, but it’s real. Marc is huge on meditation, and it does absolute wonders for reducing his stress levels and increasing his concentration, which is crucial as he travels four days a week for his (objectively) high-stress job. There is a lot of established science on how to start meditation, and how it benefits your brain, but the most difficult part is just finding a time and place to create the ritual. So my plan for the fall is to do it when the sun first goes down, because let’s be honest, that smooth 4:30 PM sunset can feel depressing as hell if you don’t have something calming and familiar to look forward to. But whatever your good time might be, find the space to add this moment of restorative quiet to your day.
Getting your grown-up on this fall doesn’t have to be hard — it’s all about creating the small rituals that make your life easier and more peaceful. So give yourself that financial first step with CreditRepair, get yourself some candles, practice your meditation, and embrace the changing of the leaves with the changing of your routines.
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