Skip To Content
Blog Get a Quote

The 10 healthiest things you can do for yourself this fall

Nothing wrong with bingeing a season of Mad Men over a lazy weekend, but if that’s all you’re doing to make sure you’re feeling good about yourself, it can start feeling a little empty.

what are easy habits to add to your day to feel better

I didn’t think much about self-care until I started a master’s in clinical psychology. Actually, I didn’t think of it much then, either.

The majority of the first week’s classes focused on making sure all of us were emotionally prepped for client work, and I sat through each lecture thinking “I don’t need to learn any of this.” I’d already interned at a jail and was confident that my idea of self-care — coming home after a long day to watch 5-8 episodes of Law & Order — was going to get me through the years before licensure just fine.

I was wrong. Not just because I ran out of L&O before the first year was over, but because as things got harder and harder and the stress piled on, just vegging out in front of the TV wasn’t doing it anymore. If you’ve tried this method, you’re probably feeling a little bit of the same. Nothing wrong with bingeing a season of Mad Men over a lazy weekend, but if that’s all you’re doing to make sure you’re feeling good about yourself, it can start feeling a little empty.

Self-care is not (necessarily) a warm bath

If you’re a little wary of self-care, too, I get it. For a long time, I thought that “doing things for yourself” had to be synonymous with “take a warm bubble bath” or “spend a relaxing day at the spa.” That doesn’t have to be part of your routine. But it’s a good idea to find something that makes you feel good, even if you sometimes forget what feeling good actually is.

For me, it was going to therapy and meditating. For you? It might be something completely different. Here are a few ideas that may help you take the first step. (Pro-tip: It may feel weird at first, but you gotta just go with it.)

Haven Life: Life insurance that’s actually simple

Get our newsletter

There’s more great content where this came from.

Go outside

You don’t even have to work out. You just need to get outdoors and take a breather for a couple of minutes a day. Being out in the sunlight will increase your levels of Vitamin D (which helps fight illness and dark moods) and give you a much-needed respite from being cooped up in the office or at home all day.  If you want to make an all-day thing of it, activities such as forest-bathing (a fancy term for taking a walk in nature) have been shown to reduce stress and boost physical health. But no pressure.

Get your eating to a good place

How often do you miss lunch because you’re just chilling at your desk? Or skip it because you’re going to go ham on that Seamless order for dinner? A lot of us are skipping out on meals and then wondering why we feel tired, cranky, and unable to concentrate. If you’ve never tried meal-prepping (I’ve just started), it can be a surprisingly peaceful activity. And knowing where your next meal is coming from (your fridge) and when you’re going to eat it will help you establish a routine, give you a sense of accomplishment (I know, but it really is that easy! Not only that, you avoid both the sugar crash and the bad feelings that come with paying $3 for a candy bar at your local bodega.

While we’re on the subject: Drink more water

I know, I know: You’ve read this a million times before. But has that ever spurred you to take action and actually start drowning your insides in cool liquid refreshment? Probably not. It took years for me to get it. So I’m just going to make this one quick: Drink more water. Get fewer headaches. Worry less about your skin even as the crisp fall weather tries to chap it into a leathery hide.

Haven Life: Life insurance that’s actually simple5 Star Ratings

Easy + Simple + Affordable

“I'm so happy I chose Haven Life for my policy needs. The entire process was quick, easy, stress-free and convenient. Their customer service is top-notch.” - Sandra

Learn more

Go easy at the gym

Here’s how exercise for many of us: We recognize we need to do it, set our alarm clocks for 6am, and then hit snooze until it’s too late to get a workout in (especially easy when it’s cold and dark as hell outside in the fall). Then, when we do finally get around to going to the gym or taking a run, we overdo it to the point that going back feels like the worst punishment in the world.

Give yourself a break. It’s true that doing some exercise (swimming, even taking a walk)  a few times a week can help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, but it’s also true that going “too hard” has been associated with worsening mental health. And since this is all about making yourself feel good, take it as easy as you’d like.


Make no mistake, meditation isn’t easy. That’s why it’s so easy to give up on. Your friends tell you that you should try it — “it’s changed my life!”  — and you go home thinking that all you need is an app that will tell you what to do and an hour of silence. And then three minutes in you’re bored and anxious and are sure that this whole “being mindful” thing isn’t for you.

It might not be, but it’s likely the unrealistic expectation you’ve set for yourself is the problem. No one meditates for an hour with a snap (insert Thanos gif here) because our minds are designed to go all over the place. At first, It’s more about doing short sets at a high frequency (ten minutes, once a day) to make meditation a part of your daily routine. Then, you’ll find a timeframe that works for you.

Trust me, I’ve tried the whole “sitting cross-legged and waiting to hear the universe speak to me and only me above the sounds of this nature sounds CD” and have only come away feeling angry and like I’d wasted my time. It wasn’t until I started meditating for ten minutes on a daily basis that I was genuinely able to detach myself from my thoughts for two, sometimes three minutes a sitting. That may not sound like a lot, but just think how quickly your mind is racing most of the time. If you can let things be for even a few minutes, that’s a win for your mental health.

But don’t just take my word for it. Research has found that meditation to be correlated with: improved immune functioning, decreased pain, increased happiness, lowered anxiety and depression, and better focus and attention. It’s one of the best ways to keep your brain young and healthy.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

Calculate your needs

Try doing nothing

All right, we’re getting to the advanced portion of our program. You’d think that doing nothing would be easy (and useless), but it’s actually quite challenging — and also great for you. Think about how often you pick up your phone when you’re feeling “bored” or spend an hour trying to find the perfect thing to Netflix before just going to bed frustrated. There’s just so much going on. But being bored, once you give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing, has a surprising number of benefits.

If you don’t grab your phone every time you start feeling anxious or unstimulated, you’ll start thinking more creatively, get better at thinking about both your present and future, and feel more relaxed and observant. Start small and just think how awesome all that peace and clarity will be.

Limit your social media use

Listen, I’m not going to tell you to get off Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram or Peach (lol, that one doesn’t even exist anymore), but I will tell you this: Your FOMO isn’t going to get any better if you’re scrolling your social feeds wondering what you’re missing.

First of all: You are missing nothing. Second: Every event photo your friends post on their feeds is unconsciously designed to cultivate the thirst of those that have been excluded. Third: Prolonged social media use has been linked to a risk of anxiety and depression. Socializing is excellent, though. So detach yourself from the like button, text your friends, and see who wants to get together to grab a few drinks on a Thursday night.

Do something for your community

Here’s something cool: Doing things for others actually makes you feel good, too. In fact, research has found that volunteering can actually improve health and happiness. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t know what do with yourself on the weekends, or are looking to cultivate meaning, consider helping others. Be the change you want to see in the world. You’ll feel pretty awesome.

See a therapist

Seeing a (good) therapist works. I’ve seen several in the past 13 years and I can’t tell you how much just talking through your problems with someone has helped me the best and healthiest version of me that I can be.

“Sure,” you may be thinking, “but isn’t that what friends are for?” Yes! But how many of us can tell our friends everything? And how many of our friends are equipped to just listen and let us come to our own conclusions without jumping in with advice? Giving advice is exactly what friends are for!

Your therapist, on the other hand, is there to hear you out and provide you with the tools you need to take care of yourself in the best way possible. What you’ll find is that talking to someone (relatively) objective about your hopes and your darkest fears and the dreams you can’t share with anyone else will make you feel better no matter where you are in your life. (Plus, if you have an FSA, your saved money may cover this expense!)

Okay, fine, take that bubble bath. Or read a book. Just do something you like and feel zero guilt

I know I told you I wasn’t going to tell you to take a bubble bath, but I kind of lied. Because you know what? Sometimes taking a bubble bath feels hella good. Or what about taking a day to just read? Or organizing your t-shirt collection (which is really just an extension of zen gardening anyway)? What’s most important is that you find something positive you like to do and stick with it. You’re about to get really busy between now and the new year, so it’s the perfect time to add something chill to your routine. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from leaning into self-care, it’s this: You deserve a break. And you should give yourself one. Like yesterday.

Haven Life: Life insurance that’s actually simple

Great News...

Peace of mind might be closer than you think.

Learn more

Mark Shrayber holds a masters in clinical psychology and teaches at San Francisco State University and the Community College of San Francisco. His work has appeared in Uproxx, Cosmopolitan, Jezebel, Vice, The Daily Dot, and SF Weekly.

Default author headshot

About Anna Davies

Anna Davies is an innovative copywriter, magazine editor, award-winning essayist. She has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Refinery29, Glamour, Elle, and others, and has published 13 young adult novels. She lives in Jersey City, NJ, with her family and loves traveling, running, and trying to find the best cold brew coffee in town.

Read more by Anna Davies

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

You might also like

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

.newsletter-msg-success, .newsletter-msg-error { display: none; }

What our customers are saying

Sign up for our newsletter

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

Thanks for signing up. See you in your inbox soon.