Welcome to the season of pumpkin-carving, leaf-pile-jumping and sitting-by-the-fire autumn.
As I’m writing this, I’ve just noticed the colour of the leaves on the trees outside my flat change colour – one tree to a shade yellow and the other to a shade of red.
Coming from a place with only two seasons – dry and rainy, I used to hate the colder months in the UK, but now it’s rather exciting.
We know that this is the time of year when we lose a bit of sunlight during the day, especially after daylight saving rolls around. We’re likely to spend more time snoozing (but getting lower quality of sleep) and can become more susceptible to anxiety or depression.
However, there are some really great things about autumn: the turning of the leaves, fresh displays of coats and boots, the delicious casseroles and stews, and warm apple pies.
Can you tell I love food?! Ok, there’s a lot more to it than food, though. The cold weather creeping in brings changes in sunlight, lower temperatures, and sometimes a slight change in lifestyle. No matter how bullet-proof you think you are, all of these changes could potentially have some tangible effects on your body and mind.
If you’re feeling a little low, then here are a few ways to help prevent autumn blues:
Wear bright colours – I’m quite convinced there is a link between feeling optimistic and wearing bright colours, although I have no research to support this theory. It can stimulate both the person wearing them and those around them, creating a sort of cycle of positivity. So why not add a bright shirt under that blazer, a bright scarf, colourful jewellery or even a pair of vibrant socks?
Exercise – It can be tempting to just sit inside during autumn and winter. But, staying active is important for keeping your mood up. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25% less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the subsequent five years. Exercise releases endorphins, which can instantly boost your mood. So, lace up your shoes or roll out your mat, and get your body moving. It’ll make you feel better!
Spend time with positive people – This is especially critical in the colder months when you’re typically spending a lot of time inside with people chatting over a cup of coffee. If the negativity gets too thick, it can become suffocating. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself.” The people around you influence you more than you may realise. One study shows that individuals who associated themselves with happy people were more likely to be happy themselves.
Sit by the fire – There’s something so consoling about staring into the embers and warming your hands by their heat. But you don’t need to go to the trouble of making a fire in your house, you can borrow someone else’s fire or even a coffee shop’s. Alternatively you can simply light a few candles and enjoy a moment to remind you that you belong to this world of human beings that have sat around fires for thousands of years to get warm and enjoy a moment of stillness.
Stock up on vitamin D – With the low light and shorter days, together with time spent indoors, many of us may have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin,” which is produced naturally in the body when rays from the sun hit our skin. Many diseases are correlated with low vitamin D levels especially depression, therefore it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. It is, however, worth a talk with your doctor about your vitamin D levels and whether or not a supplement is necessary.
Spend some time outdoors – Believe it or not, spending quality time outdoors may tick all the boxes! If you’re exercising outside with friends during daylight, you’re taking in vitamin D and socialising! Researchers found that a walk surrounded by nature lifted spirits, while a walk in a city increased depression. So get out and make the most of the gorgeous autumn colours.
Autumn can be a beautiful time of year not only what transpires in nature, but the changes we can implement to experience our inner growth. Make this season a new beginning, and inspire a new chapter. Make it a time of exploration personally and for your family – spending time outside, cooking new dishes, visiting new towns for a quick getaway, or doing a deep cleaning at home – the autumn can be your best time yet!
If you need a little more help with the colder weather, then head over to my article about finding more joy.
Until next time,