There are so many wonderful things to be enjoyed about autumn but some of the changes can also unsettle us for a bit as well. The lower temperatures can mess with our skin, the darker mornings and evenings can affect our mood, the chill can make us gravitate towards less healthy food options and our need to hibernate can make us feel less inclined to exercise. While all of that’s fine to a point, long-term it can undermine our enjoyment of our health, wellbeing and this beautiful season.
Here are some of the ways we have learned to mentally prepare for autumn so we can enjoy it to the full.
If you often find yourself feeling sluggish and flat during the colder months, the first step is taking the time to make rich, nourishing foods.
The winter months can make us crave fast food, treats and sweets as our bodies need more energy to keep warm while still doing everything we did in the warmer months: work, parenting, exercising etc. While a few sweeter delights aren’t going to harm us, make sure to balance this with nourishing food, too.
To give yourself an extra boost, try adding healthy stews and soups to your diet – not only are they rich in vitamins and nutrients that will help your brain to function well and protect your ability to cope with daily life, but they’re also a great way to warm yourself up and take care of yourself when it’s cold and miserable outside.
While most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from the sunlight between March and September, during the colder months you’ll need to take steps to ensure your vitamin D levels don’t slip.
This is important for several reasons. Not only does vitamin D play a vital role in keeping our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, but studies have shown that vitamin D also helps to regulate mood. You can check out the NHS website for more information about taking a vitamin D supplement: https://bit.ly/3sJyRbz
You may feel less-than motivated to get outside when it’s windy and raining, but doing so can do you the world of good.
Nothing improves our mental wellbeing as much as quality time with friends. Helping us to feel connected to the people we care about, conversation and putting the world to rights together is one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves and our emotional health. Go for a walk together and benefit from the fresh air, spend time in a thermal suite and get the additional health benefits of the heat, or organise a simple cup of coffee and a catch up.
Fresh air, albeit crispier and icier at this time of year, is still great for clearing the mind and getting oxygen into the lungs and brain. Try brisk walks through the park paired with a hot drink to stop your fingers falling off.
While taking care of yourself is important all-year round, taking the time to listen to your body and mind and giving them what they need is even more crucial when you’re feeling rough.
The gloominess of winter can be hard to manage for many of us, but you can make it your own – whether that’s by starting the Christmas movie marathon early or trying to maintain your all-year routine.
Try to embrace it rather than feel intimidated, and if a duvet day is required just to help keep you warm and sane, that’s OK too.
Despite the inclination to sleep as many hours as humanly possible (and occasionally that’s great), keeping a regular routine when it comes to going to bed and getting up in the morning is widely recommended by sleep and health experts. That means striving for the same type of hours at the weekend as well as in the week.
This is especially important for people who struggle with sleep as it helps our internal body clock to have a consistent schedule, making it easier for us to fall asleep and wake up. In turn, that quality of good sleeping hours will help us to feel less tired in the day. Sleep has also been reported to be important for keeping our immune systems strong and keeping those coughs and colds away.
If you feel you are experiencing anxiety, it is important to take some time to take care of yourself. It’s also important to try to learn and understand your triggers. Realising what is bringing on your anxiety and reflecting on what is going on is essential to dealing with it head-on. Once you learn what they are, write about and try to understand these triggers to try to give them a new meaning.