Ideal for tackling the new season with a much needed sense of hope.
Did you see a few fallen leaves out there, as you took your walk in the first extra layer of the season? We did, too, however much we hate to admit it.
Though the start of September doesn’t officially mark Autumn’s inauguration (that falls on the 22nd), there’s definitely a sense of change in the air following August’s bank holiday swansong. Blissed out days on the beach, hazy lazy evenings in the park, going out-out-out on a Tuesday night; the warmest season’s perks are over. Enter lethargy, listlessness and ennui, when the comfort of a wine and ice cream on the sofa is impossible to resist.
The darker evenings which stretch ahead do tend to bring the worst out in us, and this can have a pronounced effect on the nation’s mood, outlook and optimism. Don’t let the seasonal blues get to you; instead, follow these 7 self care tips for Autumn 2023, IDEAL for tackling the new season with a sense of much needed hope.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE SUNLIGHT WHILE IT LASTS
The evenings haven’t yet fully drawn in, and neither should the curtains on another summer past. Sunlight is good for the soul, make no mistake, with research suggesting that the brain produces more serotonin (the brain’s natural antidepressant) on sunny rather than darker days.
One of the benefits of the nation’s increase in working from home is the opportunity for workers to take themselves out for a walk a little more frequently. If you’re able to, use the time bought back in the evening from not commuting to enjoy a stroll in the sunshine. Make the most of it while it’s here.
EAT A BALANCED DIET, WITH THE SEASONS
Is your immune system ready for autumn? The reduced exposure to sunlight and the subsequent loss of vitamin D supply can cause issues as Autumn rolls around. These include your body being more prone to getting sick, muscle pain and depression. The shift in seasons can also bring about a shift in diet, with the focus falling on red meat, Autumnal depth and the consequent heaviness of such a diet.
Do endeavour, then, to eat healthily and in a balanced fashion, with a focus, as always, on fruit and vegetables. The more green foods you can pile onto your plate the better. Broccoli, apples, kale, spinach, courgettes, avocado, peas.the list is near endless. Green foods are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, carotenoids and zinc; great for the body and soul.
It can also be hugely inspiring and soul-nourishing to eat with the seasons as much as possible, giving you a new appreciation for nature and the passing of time. In season in September and wonderfully good-for-you are a whole range of darker fruits, like plums, Bramley apples, figs, apricots and pears, to name but a few. Vegetables at their peak in early Autumn include butternut squash, celeriac, kale, leeks, pumpkin and more.
Take inspiration from the changing state of the land and you might find comfort in the less hospitable months ahead. Keep an eye out for wild mushrooms as Autumn really kicks in; a real treat we think!
What’s more, now is the start of British Game Season, which if you enjoy meat, you should take full advantage of. Game is sustainable, lean and hugely nutritious; check out our tips on ten reasons to enjoy game this Autumn and get inspired!
Since we’ll all be staying in more, it might be tough to get enough that all important Vitamin D from the sun. Fortunately, there are various Vitamin D supplements out there, and as such, it might be sensible to stock up for Autumn. Experts also advise taking a multi vitamin daily, one which contains Vitamin C as a priority, as well as zinc, to promote good metabolic function and strengthen the immune system.
Other supplements may soothe the stresses of a shift in the seasons. The amino acid L-Theanine can help reduce heart rate, inhibit the release of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol and potentially, create a sense of relaxation approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion. The good news is that it’s found in a cup of tea, but if you prefer, L-Theanine can also be bought in capsule form, for those crazy folk who don’t like tea.
In recent years, many have started to extol the virtues of CBD oil in the name of relaxation, too. In the fight against Autumn’s cold grip, it might be worth investigating? If you’d like more information about CBD oil, do read more and remember to always consult your GP before embarking on any new supplements.
Immunity shots have also gained popularity in recent years. Though the jury is still out on whether immunity can actually be ‘boosted’ or strengthened, eating a healthy, balanced diet can certainly lessen some of the risk factors associated with weakening it.
Since it’s a ‘system’ rather than a single entity, it’s best to opt for a holistic approach to your diet to best support your immune system’s normal functioning. The best immunity shots, therefore, are those with a varied set of nutritionally beneficial ingredients with plenty of Vitamins A, D, C and K, particularly.
KEEP THE EXERCISE UP
When the sun is shining and the temperature mild, exercise is easy, whether that’s taking yourself for a run, embarking on a long stroll or getting down the gym in one, dry piece. Autumn can bring about a very different approach to exercise, when the temptation of the sofa is often too strong to get you in your gym kit and out the door.
During times like these, it’s important to remember just how hugely, immeasurably beneficial exercise is, for both the body and mind, with the NHS recommending 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, to boost mood, health and wellbeing, as well as keeping a whole host of issues at bay.
There really is no reason not to. Not even the drizzle and chill in the air.
CHERISH THE TIME WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
Looking outside and seeing rain lashing against the window rarely puts people in a good mood, but can gloomy weather really brings us down? The answer, quite simply, is yes.
Rain negatively affects our social lives and according to experts, can risk leaving us feeling isolated, frustrated and downbeat. If it’s raining heavily and consistently, we’re more inclined to cancel plans to physically meet our friends and family, or have them cancel on us, which could leave to a less fulfilled social life. Human contact is fundamental to our mental well-being; without it, a number of pathologies including depression and social anxiety can affect us. So next time it’s raining, make plans to meet up with your friends and family, somewhere safe, warm and indoors to keep your spirits up.
Optimism can slip with the changing of the seasons, but in recent years experts have started recommending a new solution to help you put things in perspective; gratitude. Indeed, practicing gratitude is a great way to boost your emotional wellbeing, as it helps you appreciate the things you do have, rather than pining for unattainable, material items.
It needn’t be a huge, time consuming undertaking. Simply write down three things you’re grateful for today, three things you enjoyed yesterday, or three things you’re looking forward to tomorrow, either when you wake up or just before bed. This is a wonderful way to gather your thoughts and learn to be thankful for what you’ve got.
In Autumn it’s all too easy to start getting into hibernation mode. However, if there is one thing that you need to prioritise more than anything, it’s sleep. Remember that it is impossible to give from an empty cup, and your body can only do so much if you’re not getting enough sleep every night to recharge your batteries.
Therefore, a good night’s Zzzeds must always be at the top of your list of priorities when taking care of yourself. Check out our tips on how to get more restorative sleep for more!