Autumn can be a difficult time of year for some people. Waving goodbye to the warmth of the summer sun and the prospect of shorter days and several months of colder weather, takes its toll. Unless we make a conscience choice to battle the blues, we can find ourselves demotivated, de-energised and introverted.
Here are some steps you can take to make the transition into autumn and winter easier.
Seek out daylight
The very fact that there are less available daylight hours during autumn and winter can have a negative effect on our health and overall attitude.
Our bodies need sunlight for the production of Vitamin D, that contributes to healthy bones and to our overall general health. From April to September, most people can get their Vitamin D purely from natural light.
However, during winter months in the UK, there isn’t enough UVB radiation to produce sufficient Vitamin D, so we typically need to rely on food sources and supplements.
Seek out any daylight though by getting outdoors during the peak hours of sunshine, so from midday to mid afternoon.
Natural light in your home and place of work can also help lift your mood, so pull back those blinds, as even on a dark day, natural light beats artificial light.
Eat a fresh, balanced diet
When the weather is colder, it is temping to indulge in a high carb diet, that makes us feel warm and comforted.
This can not only lead to putting on weight during the autumn and winter months, but it also makes us feel less willing to do active things. Curling up on the sofa seems a far more sensible option.
Aim to eat fresh, colourful meals, with most of your carb intake for breakfast and lunch. This will mean you feel lighter in the evenings and more likely to not fall into an energy slump. If you want something warm, prepare a healthy soup made from your favourite vegetables.
Also, the vitamins and minerals from fresh food go a long way towards fighting off any illnesses over the colder months, keeping your health and energy levels on top form.
Exercise during autumn can sometimes be sidelined. From the runs in the park and cycling to work through the summer months, all of a sudden you can easily find yourself doing very little in terms of physical activity.
Even if you don’t feel like exercising, it is almost guaranteed to leave you feeling energised afterwards.
It is a great time of year to join a new gym or class and plan a regular regime for the next 6 months.
Yoga and Pilates are great options to stay physical though the winter months. Studios host classes from 6am to 10pm, so you are sure to find a time that suits your own schedule. There are also plenty of workshops and retreats you can participate in. Classes are indoors, keep you fit, healthy and warm and are a great place to meet new friends.
Get sound, regular sleep
During autumn and winter it is normal to want more sleep, particularly as the seasons change. Melatonin, a natural hormone is produced when it is dark and due to the increased hours of darkness at this time of year, the higher levels of melatonin can leave us feeling sleepy.
Getting into a good sleeping pattern can certainly help fight off the autumn blues.
Do good for others
Doing good things for those that are less fortunate than yourself, can leave a sense of gratitude. This results in forgetting whatever it was you are feeling miserable about, pulling back your shoulders, and getting on with life whatever the weather.
It could be helping a friend or family move house or edit their job application, or volunteering for charity. Whatever, doing good for others can certainly help maintain your relationships, which adds to a purpose to your day.
Don’t turn into a hermit crab
It is of course natural to want to spend less time outdoors during autumn and winter. Sometimes, when the rain is pouring or we are experiencing a particularly cold few days, it is great to baton down the hatches and shut away the outside world.
However, it is also essential not to write off six months, and to keep seeing friends and family, as this can lift your spirits if you start to feel low. Organise a dinner party, meet up for brunch and a walk in the park, or try the new coffee shop near your house.
It can also help to book a short break or retreat away during the autumn or winter months, to get a change of scenery, and maybe even some sunshine.
Be goal orientated and creative
Living in the UK, everyone is aware that autumn and winter can drag. We know we have more or less six months before spring arrives and thaws us out.
Why not use this time to set some personal goals to work towards?
This could be anything from reading more books, learning to play a new musical instrument, learning the basics of a new language, or something physical, like training for a half marathon. It could be starting something new, or building on an existing interest.
Find your creative side, as this goes towards making us feel happier and connected with ourselves. Being creative can relate to music, arts, crafts, cooking, drama, design, styling, or pretty much anything that allows you to use your imagination and express yourself.