Tackle Fall Chaos

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


As we transition from summer to fall, many women feel overwhelmed by fall’s demands. Typically, there is a new schedule to adopt, perhaps because school has started or because traffic patterns have changed. Often, you notice an increased demand at work, as people return from vacation focused on completing projects before year end. There will always be change and disorder. So it’s important is know how to restore equilibrium. That’s part of life and part of becoming better with age.

To help you rise above the chaos, let’s start with the most important tip: Give up trying to be Superwoman. Yes, you heard it here—it’s time to retire your cape!

Many women think they are supposed do it all on their own and perfectly, especially when their children are little. I know. I had a huge breast abscess and, ultimately, needed surgery, because I was trying to nurse my daughter exclusively while also working as hard—and as many nights—as the male doctors in my practice.

Trust me—you can’t give from an empty cup.

You also can’t function effectively without some structure, stress relief, or support! So I put together these helpful resources and tips:

  • Are you experiencing “CHAOS: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome?” Then check out the FlyLady’s suggestions for getting your home in order. The FlyLady has completely changed my life for the better since I adopted her shiny sink technique. (Click here to see a video.)
    The FlyLady also recommends a 15-minute decluttering, and so do I! I learned long ago from my friend and Feng Shui expert Terah Kathryn Collins that moving (or tossing) 27 things can change your life. Set a timer and see how much you can accomplish. Donate to others what you don’t need.
  • “What’s for dinner?” Those three words can cause angst in even the most composed woman. So check out Cooking for the Rushed, a Web site developed by Sandi Richard, a mother of seven. She developed “Eating Forward,” a system to drastically reduce the stress around feeding your family.
  • Use the Cozi app for family organizing, including to-do and grocery lists, resources and phone numbers, a calendar with reminders, and a photo management tool. It’s free and brilliant!
  • Take dance breaks. Put on your favorite tunes or radio station and dance for at least one song. It’s an instant mood enhancer and spiritual tune up.
  • Emote. Set your timer for five minutes and weep, complain, vent, and throw things! Let it out! You have to feel it to heal it. And you can’t make yourself feel better if you are sitting on load of unexpressed anger or frustration or grief. Once you let it out, you’ll be amazed at how clear you’ll feel. And solutions to your problem will arise spontaneously!
  • Ask for help! We really can’t get out of our own way when we’re faced with difficulty, because it’s impossible to see ourselves objectively. So have a group of close friends that you can call to talk things out. I call it a “placenta of power.”
    Beware of “frenemies”—those people who claim to be your friend but are really more of an enemy. Often these are close family members (sad, but often true!), and it’s OK to guard yourself against their negative influence.
  • Despite any enhanced pace, remember that within you is a deep wellspring of calm and peace. You can access this by taking a slow, deep breath through your nose. And then another. You can also close your eyes and focus on your heart.
  • If a few of these tips sound familiar, it’s because I’ve shared some of them (in more depth) on my weekly radio show Flourish!on Hay House Radio.  Tune in weekly for more ideas and support.

I encourage you to try some or all of these ideas and to leave me a comment to let me know what’s working and what else you would suggest. Like all new habits, the more you practice them, the easier they become. You’ll restore your inner peace and be thriving in no time.

Last Updated: September 1, 2011

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Doreen
    13 years ago

    thanks for the reminder of Sidetracked Home Executives. Super resource and a great reminder we can’t–and shouldn’t–do it all. I think one of their best tips is to note how little time it takes to do some chore. We often spend more time evading it than it would take to do. Christiane, keep up the good work. You keep us all informed and sane!

  2. Sara
    13 years ago

    Don’t forget a nice walk on a beautiful fall day! I’ve had a flurry of company and activity for the last few weeks and have missed getting fresh air and exercise. I can definitely tell the difference for me (and my dog)!

  3. Sandi
    13 years ago

    I love fall; am not a fan of summer heat and humidity and relish the cool nights and crisp days of fall. I have always had a sense of “new beginnings” at this time of year. I have determined to eliminate toxic individuals from my life, be they friends, family or co-workers. One absolutely cannot “give from an empty cup.” Thank you for your timely reminder…

  4. Lisa
    13 years ago

    I am currently coming to terms with a frenemey. She was a close family member. Time to let it go. It’s the same as the “nay sayers” that can come into our life! Thank you for all your guidance and knowledge. It has been very valuable for myself, my sister and some close girlfriends! .

  5. Christiane Northrup
    13 years ago

    Thank you for these great comments! Laura– the full body stretch in bed is such a luscious way to set the tone for the day. And it takes NO time at all! Marlene–that giving from an empty cup thing actually affects breast health. Michelle -let’s ALL have after dinner dance parties. Such a great way to digest dinner and set the tone for our dreams!

  6. MrsJennyK
    13 years ago

    I love Flylady too. I have 4 month old twins but even I can find 15 minutes here and there during naptime to keep hotspots at bay, which makes me feel better in general. Flylady (and Pam & Peggy of Sidetracked Home Executives) have been helping me for nearly 20 years!

  7. michele
    13 years ago

    I just LOVE you! Always feel better after reading a newsletter or listening to FLOURISH online. You remind me to bring myself back to center and balance. Namaste!

  8. BunnyRabbit
    13 years ago

    It is still Summer here, but with the hope of a break in the heat. As I approach the Fall and Spring equinoxes, I always find myself looking for change even though the weather doesn’t follow suit. Whether it is change in appearance, relationships or life path, it is always a time of needed adjustment.

  9. cleaner than ever
    13 years ago

    Flylady system changed my life! I feel in control.

  10. JZ
    13 years ago

    You are fantastic and have had such an influence on my life for the better. Thank you for everything you do.

  11. Michelle
    13 years ago

    I used to have after dinner dance parties when my children were small. It is time to bring that practice back!
    Thank you for this timely advice. Fall does always seem like a tornado coming through.

  12. Marlene
    13 years ago

    Loved your comment, “You can’t give from an empty cup.” a reminder to us all to take the time to fill the well. Also loved your statement that deep inside of each of us we have a well of calm and peace. Thanks for your newsletter.

  13. Laura Shunney
    13 years ago

    I begin the day w a full body stretch while still in bed. Upon waking I stretch my arms/legs in opposite directions. I engage my core and feel every muscle I have. I inhale deeply through the nose, exhale through the mouth. I repeat a positive mantra to myself: today I am filled with peace, love, joy, forgiveness. It’s a great way to begin the day!

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