Falling Forward This Season

autumn autumn leaves branch bright

Happy fall, everyone! Time for all things pumpkin spice, leaves turning and crisp mornings.

There are three months left in the year. Most of what has happened this year has been completely out of our control. I want to help put you back in the driver’s seat of your car as we start the final quarter.

For a majority of Americans, November 7 will be the end of daylight saving time.

A time change can impact us mentally and physically for several days or weeks. Research suggests that there are “seasonal variations in cortisol levels with significantly higher levels found in winter and fall than in spring and summer.”

Since cortisol is essentially your body’s main stress hormone, it’s important to recognize the impact of how we will feel in the coming months as the days are shorter and the evenings are longer.

I am here to help you prepare for this change and implement techniques to make this experience more positive. Here are three things you can do starting today to prepare for this change and ultimately “fall forward.”

Shift your mindset.

Typically, we get excited about “gaining” an hour when we “fall back.” We are not “gaining an additional hour” as a result of the fall clock adjustment. We are “adjusting an hour.” There are still 24 hours per day ahead of you. Waking up at your “normal” time on Sunday, Nov. 7, is critical to having a successful sleep pattern to get you through the week.

Recommendation: Schedule something now that you can look forward to participating in on the morning of November 7. Schedule time to get outside and exercise, see friends (physically distant, obviously), or schedule a fall photoshoot with your family. Stay away from screens as much as possible; if you must work on the weekend, spend that time on November 6. Encourage your colleagues and teams to do the same.

Make small changes week over week.

Making habits permanent doesn’t happen overnight. When I started my 150 pounds weight loss journey in 2007, I started examining my breakfast and my breakfast only. The same approach works with how we can thrive during a time change. Start slow and with purpose.

Recommendation: Every week set your alarm to wake up 5 minutes earlier. If you typically wake up at 6 a.m., set your alarm to 5:55 a.m., the next week at 5:50 a.m., and so on until you wake up 20 minutes earlier in November. Spend that extra time on YOU. Read, meditate, journal, exercise, or get another kind of a quick, early “win” that can set your day off right.

Create your “home network only” time every evening.

Studies show that time on our smartphones late at night has negative effects on our sleep patterns and day- time productivity. Focusing exclusively on your immediate home network — your family — in the evening can help you sleep better at night and feel more refreshed in the morning. Trust me, your social networks and all your notifications will still be there in the morning!

• Recommendation: Set a reminder on your phone every evening that starts your “home network only” time. No more email or scrolling social media endlessly every evening!

Please take these recommendations to heart so you can start the last few months of the year on the right foot.

Have a wonderful start to the fall, everyone.

Meet the Author
Meet the Author

Mark Mohammadpour, APR is a strategic communications executive, certified personal trainer, and health coach. His company, Chasing the Sun, offers health coaching tailored for public relations professionals. Mark spent most of his public relations career at Weber Shandwick and Edelman. Throughout his career, Mark led integrated communications programs for more than a dozen global brands, including Adobe, AMD, Microsoft, Samsung, and the U.S. Army. Mark also served as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Oregon Chapter president in 2016.

Published by Mark Mohammadpour, APR, CPT, CHC (he/him)

An accredited communications executive and certified health coach and personal trainer, Mark Mohammadpour’s (he/him) mission is to empower public relations professionals to prioritize their well-being so they can shine in the family room and the board room. Mark started a journey that led him to lose and keep off more than 150 pounds more than a decade ago. Through that journey, he has developed a practical and actionable approach to help people stay mentally and physically resilient. Before launching Chasing the Sun, Mark was an executive at Weber Shandwick and Edelman, leading award-winning public relations campaigns for global brands, including Adobe, Microsoft, Samsung, and the U.S. Army. Mark served as the PRSA Oregon Chapter president in 2016, is the “Workplace Wellness” columnist for PRSA’s Strategies & Tactics, and was honored to be named an Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award of Distinction recipient in 2020. A proud and lifelong Portland, Oregon-metro area resident, Mark is a graduate of the University of Portland.

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