Your lunchtime outings were longer and sunnier during the summer months, making for a nice break from work stress. But that’s when sounds of silence in the corner office were deafening. Summertime has made a graceful exit, and here we are, kicking off what is arguably the busiest time of the business calendar.

Coming into fall, we all tend to step up our career game (it might have something to do with those new boots we have to pay for). But your work stress level doesn’t have to ramp up along with it, if you get a handle on how you’re going to manage it ahead of time.

To help you get those new boots walking in a positive direction, here are some keys to creating a stress-free return to more cubicle time in autumn.

1. Revisit Your Morning Work Routine

The sun gradually rises later in the fall, but instead of grabbing a few extra zzz’s, try to get into the office just 10 minutes earlier than usual this month to reorient yourself to what might be slightly altered working conditions. Take quiet time before your day gets going to do a quick overview of the day’s responsibilities and what the week will bring. You can also use this time to take a few deep centering breaths before jumping into work.

2. De-clutter Your Workspace

Just as you rake away the leaves this time of the year, take an hour to rake away all the dust and irrelevant files and papers from your desk. This will give you a nice clean plate visually, which is pleasing to the brain as it’s less distracting. (Major bonus points for cleaning out your inbox, combing through your bookmarked sites, and streamlining your apps, too!)

3. Evaluate Workplace Stressors

This is great to do every quarter, but especially in the fall: Spend time considering what’s stressing you out at work. Is it an increased workload? A challenging relationship? Unreasonable deadlines? If there are a couple specific things you can point to, it might be worth a conversation with your manager to try to work them out before things get really busy. Go into such dialogue with a clear head, positive energy, and a few solutions.

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