As the leaves begin to change colour and the air turns cool, the reality sets in that a new season is starting. Autumn can feel just as much a fresh start as New Year’s, making it a great time to set new goals. If you’ve been wanting to make some positive changes towards your health and wellness, now’s an ideal time to take it to the next level.

Here are a few ideas to help move towards a healthier you:


1. Make exercise a part of your regular routine

It can be hard to get back into the habit of regular exercise after a summer of fun and sun. You might have let things slide a bit and skipped a few workouts at the gym, but fall is the perfect time to get back into a regular routine. Fitness classes are a great way to start, especially if you recruit a friend or two. On those off days, an encouraging friend can be the best thing to get you to that kickboxing class. Pick a class that interests you and fits in both your schedules and aim to make it a regular activity. Best of all, exercising together can strengthen your friendships. If you make it through hot yoga together, you can get through anything!


2. Set up appointments with healthcare professionals

It’s easy to put off setting up important appointments, especially when you’re swept up in the allure of late summer nights and Italian vacations. But make it a priority this fall. Whether it’s a visit to your doctor, nutritionist or therapist, make a list and schedule your appointments well in advance.


3. Discuss sensitive topics with your doctor

Don’t be afraid to broach tough subjects with your doctor. That mammogram or pap smear won’t get itself done. For instance, about 75% of sexually active Canadians will get at least one HPV (human papillomavirus) infection in their lifetime—the most common STI (sexually transmitted infection) in the world—but most of them won’t even know they have it.


4. Take control of your mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Though it can seem nebulous and difficult to tackle, there are plenty of resources out there to help. What’s key is realizing that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some people opt for meditation apps, others rely on regular therapy and antidepressants. Start small with something that works for you—nightly journaling or meditation, for example—and if that doesn’t work, make it a priority to see a professional.


5. Set aside quality time to spend with friends

One of the best things you can do for your wellbeing is to spend time with the people who are most important to you. Grabbing coffee with a friend can do wonders. Socializing often gets left on the back burner when other aspects of your life take over but fostering healthy relationships can have tremendous mental and physical health benefits. Try thinking of socializing as exercise for your emotional wellbeing. Go for a hike together, go dancing or watch a funny movie—laughing is good for you! Reserve a day of the week for social time. If it’s in your schedule, it’ll be easier for you to prioritize.


6. Prioritize self-care and figure out what wellness means to you

Self-care means taking care of yourself in whatever way works best for you. Set aside time each day to do something for yourself and learn when to say no to things that aren’t good for you. Take a long bubble bath, spend an afternoon reading a good book, drink lots of water, eat fresh fruit, or anything else that makes you happy.

Start small this season before building up to more difficult modes of personal care, like scheduling those appointments or getting professional advice. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, there’s no better time than now to take control of your life and make a change for the better.