September can be a slippery month for me. I have trouble transitioning from summer vacation back to school (and work). During this month, I’ve learned to keep a vigilant eye on my eating and exercise habits. One of the ways I cope and make sense of my emotional state during transitions (without eating over them!) is to journal. To help you transition your healthy eating and exercise routines to fall, I’ve created 15 health and fitness journal prompts for this new season.
Whether you journal regularly or not, transitional periods can be a great catalyst for digging deeper into the practice of writing about our feelings. I’ve written about the many benefits of journaling for weight loss based on my personal story. I created my Hello, Beautiful journal to offer a positive place to write daily thoughts.
Even if you don’t write often, start jotting down new ideas or questions as you read through the prompts below. It doesn’t have to be a heavy task. Write a bit, then leave it and return at another time to consider if you still feel the same way. Journaling is about reflection, and it gives us the time to stop and think. There’s no rush or agenda for once other than expressing ourselves and understanding our thinking about a particular topic.
Transition: Internal Work During Periods of Change
Transitions are internal events. We experience some change (in this case, the shift from vacation to work and from summer routines to fall ones), and we go through an internal shift emotionally in response to that change. If you’re interested in reading about the use of journaling to help handle difficult transitional events in your life, check out this article. Here are some changes that I’m transitioning through right now:
I am saying goodbye to summer Fridays at work (leaving early to enjoy long weekends and beach time and enjoying my annual summer vacation). Work can start to pile on, and I don’t have the same light energy of the summer.
I am saying goodbye to my favorite summer fruits (watermelon and pineapple). I try to eat seasonal produce as much as possible, so I’ll be adding pears and pomegranates into the mix. They’re alright, but they don’t make me smile the way summer fruits do.
I’m experiencing more stress around heavily structured work weeks and other scheduled commitments. I feel my stress level start to rise during this time. This year, it was compounded by having to say goodbye to my daughter as she went off to her first year of college (empty-nester stress is real)!
I’m struggling to get back on track with my whole-foods meal planning after more “relaxed” vacation eating. On vacation, I enjoy some off-plan favorites: potato chips, cocktails, and pancakes. I’m still learning to eat these foods in moderation (and return to whole-food meals post-vacation). It takes focused planning to get back on track, but I’m never going back to yo-yo dieting.
I’m juggling self-care with heavy deadlines and appointments. If I’m not careful, self-care and lighter, fun activities (movies, reading, long walks with an iced coffee in hand) can get pushed to the back burner because of a packed schedule of obligations. During September, I start to tackle the work deadlines and chores/appointments that I put off during the summer to make room for more summer fun!
September Journal Prompts for Health & Fitness
If September is feeling a bit slippery to you too, I’ve got some journal prompts that you can use to refocus your energy and attention on your healthy habits. I’ve divided them into categories: healthy eating, fitness, and mind/body. So grab a journal (or pick up one of mine on Amazon) and write yourself to better health! Once you’re done with these, here are some more health and fitness prompts to try.
Healthy Eating Prompts
- What are some of your favorite fall fruits and vegetables? What new food combos and recipes would you like to try this fall?
- As we transition to cooler weather, what foods give you energy and vitality?
- Are you struggling to return to meal planning and healthy eating routines? If so, what’s going on? What are the obstacles? What first steps could you take to get back on track?
- If you were to plan one meal per day, which meal would you pick and what would you eat? How would you feel about eating that meal?
- Who do you want to share a special meal with this September? Why that person?
- Does your fitness routine change as the weather gets colder? Should it?
- What are 3 health benefits that you have experienced (or hope to experience) from your exercise routine?
- Does your workout routine address cardio, strength and flexibility, and does it work for your current fitness goals and needs?
- Would a new routine, a new exercise, or a piece of equipment revitalize and renew your commitment to fitness? If not, how can you put the spark back into your workouts?
- Do you want to enjoy a fall walk/hike or workout session with friends or family? If not, what’s a fun workout that you enjoy doing by yourself?
- Write about 3 activities that you enjoy doing during fall. Write down a date to do one of them.
- How do the sights and smells of autumn (wet leaves, pumpkin and cinnamon spice, fall foliage) make you feel? What do you associate with those sights and smells?
- Would now be a good time to start something new (a hobby, volunteer activity, plan a trip or event)?
- How will you deal with your busy schedule? Do you have coping and personal care strategies that help you relax?
- Who do you want to spend time with in September? Doing what? How will it make you feel?
The Two Sides of Transitions:
Transitions are difficult, especially if they involve too many unknowns or the loss of freedom and joy associated with past experiences. When I struggle with a transition, writing about it releases my frustration and fear. It gives those emotions a voice, but it also distances them from me a bit to let the painful ones go.
I may not have all the answers, so I write about thoughts as I am questioning them. I may write that I will plan my breakfast and lunch meals while thinking, “Are you sure you can commit to that?” I write it down anyway and work towards it. The act of writing evokes intentionality, and from there, action and consistent routines can form.
Other times I write about the promise of transitions—the good things that I look forward to, the new projects I can start, the new experiences I hope to have. The trick is to keep writing. Keep looking for ways to connect with healthy habits, and from those writing moments come change and growth, and most importantly, gratitude.
Get started today. Wishing you healthy moments through journaling!
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