Personally, I love the changing seasons and always have done. I actually love Autumn, the beautiful tree colours, the cosiness of the cooler and darker evenings, officially being able to wear a sweater again, hot chocolate and not to mention being able to light a fire again!
Saying this, I know that a lot of people struggle with Autumn. Whether it be the darker days, the rain and the colder weather or the fact that Winter is just around the corner, it can be a depressing time of year for many. The long summer days are a distant memory in the past and Spring seems to be a lifetime away in the future.
This month’s blog is focussing on how you can make the most of Autumn and I will be going through 10 ways in which you can embrace the changing seasons. So, Let’s begin!
- Embrace ‘hygge’.
A few years back, everyone was talking about the Danish word ‘Hygge’, which literally means;
‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).’
So, why not think of some ways you can incorporate more of a sense of cosiness into your life? You could possibly light that fire at home, you could put on a onesie or wrap yourself up in cosy blankets and wear those fluffy socks? Why not make yourself that hot drink out of your favourite mug- hot chocolate with marshmallows anybody? Or curl up with your favourite book? Light that candle….? So many things you could do embrace the cosiness of Autumn.
2. Get outdoors- embrace nature.
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree” Emily Bronte
Get outside! Walk in nature, feel those leaves crunching beneath you and falling all around you. It’s a perfect reminder of transience- constant change. We do need our eyes and hearts to be open to see the glorious beauty around us.
Leonardslee Gardens is beautiful in Autumn as are so are many other gardens, parks and stately homes with gardens. Why not take a day trip to see the beautiful trees at one of the parks or National Trust properties so that you can embrace those changing colours of Autumn?
Also don’t forget to look up towards the sky at this time of year. The stars are beautiful on clear nights and the Autumn sunrises and sunsets can be some of the best of the year.
3. Take some time out to do things you love.
Just a gentle reminder that ‘busyness’ is not a badge of honour- you can always find time to do what you love, sometimes it might only be for 15 minutes in a day, but it is up to you and you alone to schedule the time in and stick to it.
Make time for things you are passionate about. What do you enjoy doing? What gives you pleasure? Reading? Craft? Yoga? Walking? Going to a dance class? Do more of what makes your heart sing! Schedule the time in and stick to it! You’ll feel better for it afterwards. It is so good for your mental health to be able to follow your passions, especially when it is colder and darker outside.
4. Reframe your thoughts.
If you are prone to negative thinking at this time of year it is definitely worth learning some techniques that you could use to reframe these thoughts which can make you feel more positive about the changing seasons. Your mind is such an important tool and it can be trained to be used more positively- it just takes some awareness and time.
No matter what the negative thought is, it is important to acknowledge it- that is all it is, just a thought! The key is to become more aware of your thoughts. Ask yourself- how can I put a positive spin on this thought? Ask yourself it this thought true or am I being overdramatic? Is this thought helpful? Will this matter in five years’ time?
Here is a good article about reframing your thoughts, which you may be interested in reading;
5. Make the most of seasonal produce.
Autumn is a fab time to enjoy local seasonal produce. Pumpkins are not just for carving, they make the most gorgeous wholesome soups and can be used in chutney, they can be used in lots of veggie recipes, curries, stews and can also be incorporated into sweet dishes such as cake and pumpkin pie.
And you have also got all of the lovely different colour squashes out at the moment too. I love this spiced butternut and lentil soup recipe- it’s filling, warming and wholesome. Why not try making it?
Also, if you enjoy baking, you could channel your inner Nigella Lawson and make some seasonal bakes like apple loaf or spiced plum cake? I’m salivating just thinking about these- yum!
6. Diffuse some autumnal scents into your house.
If you are feeling a bit ‘meh’ about Autumn, you could diffuse some essential oils into your home to create a calming ambience. Essential oils each have different properties and they can actually help to boost your mood, or to calm your mind, depending on how you want to feel.
You could either get a pre-blended oil blend (Tisserand, Base Formula, Naissance and Neals Yard do some great ones.) or you could add a couple of drops of your favourite oil to some water in your diffuser. Speaking of diffusers I love the ambience they provide, I love the fact that the electric ones change colours as well so I feel that they really set the scene for some relaxation. You can get them so cheaply on Amazon and I personally think they’re a brilliant investment.
My favourite Autumn oils are bergamot, nutmeg, sage, cinnamon and orange. Although there are many more you could use. A word of caution, If you do use essential oils neat, please be really careful with them and follow the instructions for the diffuser and make sure there’s enough water in the diffuser and always err on the side of caution. when using oils.
7. Get active!
It is important to remain active throughout the year to keep well so try to walk every day, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block- any movement is better than no movement.
Endorphins are released when you exercise so if you are feeling low, then a short yoga class or stretch could help with mood improvement. It doesn’t have to be a HIIT class or going to the gym, just do what you enjoy.
If you are totally new to exercise why not get yourself a cheap pedometer and set yourself a steps target for each day and try to stick with it? The government recommend 10k steps a day, but if this is not achievable then start at 5k and build up slowly? Or if you enjoy the social element of exercise, then make the effort to go to a group class? I love Zumba and Body Combat and have really missed the in-person classes during lockdown! Or you could dance around the house to Lizzo/Beyonce/Cheesy 80’s pop? Whatever you do just keep moving- you’ll feel better for it!
8. Get creative!
I didn’t consider myself to be a particularly creative person, but after reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert I have definitely been trying to engage in more creative activities. I started bullet journaling over lockdown and use coloured pens, stencils and stickers to create my journal with, which is now full of positive quotes and it is a document of my thoughts and feelings during lockdown as well.
How can you get a bit more creative? Creative ideas include painting, photography, music, any form of craft like cross stitch or knitting, pebble painting, leaf art, scrapbooking, bullet journaling or mindful colouring in. There is literally so much you could do! And Autumn is a great time to begin a creative pursuit, as we tend to spend more time indoors as the nights get darker. So, rather than watching tv in the evening, why not try something new and tap in to that creative side of your brain?
9, Start a gratitude journal.
Autumn is a great time to start a gratitude journal, especially when it’s raining outside and when the days are starting to feel a bit bleak.
All you need to do is get a notebook and a pen and write down three things you are grateful for either when you wake up or before you go to sleep. This is a great way for you to see how much you have to be grateful for and for you to count your blessings.
10. Treat yourself to some self-care.
I know I always say this, I am sorry for harping on, but I can’t write a blog about making the most of Autumn if I don’t mention the idea of taking some time out to get a massage or some reflexology.
Think about it- an hour away from reality, cocooned in a blanket, with the warmth of a heated blanket underneath and enjoying some self-care in the form of a complementary therapy. An hour for your mind to switch off and for you to truly relax…….
So, there you are, I have given you 10 tips for a more positive and mindful Autumn. Some of these you may not resonate with and this is totally fine, please just take what you need from it.
The truth is that we are responsible for us, we create the world we live in and it’s the choices that we make now which affect our happiness and contentment with the world. If we want to feel better about our lives, if we want a more positive mindset, we do need to implement changes to make good things happen and to feel more satisfied with life.
So, if you really struggle with any of the seasons for whatever reason, try to make some small changes to make them more bearable for you. Make sure you take time to engage in activities which are fun, positive and beneficial for your mind, body and soul. Please be aware of the power of your mind-the quote ‘what you think, you become’ is so true and the mind is the most powerful tool for you to utilise in order to live a more positive life. You’ve got this!
Hope you have a healthy, positive and mindful Autumn and sending positive vibes your way. Take care until next time, bye for now x