The transition from summer to autumn can be a challenge for many of us, often without us even realising! The shorter days and colder temperatures can understandably be a shock to the system, however if we begin and commit to a health and wellness regime and prioritise self-care then we will be better equipped to deal with the even busier, ever colder winter months and the huge physical challenge of the festive season!
To help ease your passage into these new seasonal changes, I have put together my top ten Autumn Wellness Tips to help prepare you for the chillier months and keep your mental, spiritual and physical health and wellbeing in tip-top condition!
Autumn is here, and with this change in seasons comes shorter days and cooler weather.
In Eastern Medicine, Autumn is regarded as a pivotally important time to pull our energy inward to prepare for the upcoming winter period.
For most of us, autumn is all about layering up and slowing down, which is often welcome after the parties and long days of summer.
It’s normal during this transition to feel a sometimes acute sense of loss as the light diminishes, and many people suffer terribly with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during this time, but a great way to cheer yourself up (if you don’t have SAD) is to spend some quality time in the great outdoors, which can seem counter intuitive.
Now that the warmth (relative warmth in Britain, obviously!) is behind us, we can breathe in the lovely and refreshing brisk air that bit deeper and enjoy the loveliness of the sight of changing colours of the leaves.
Traditional cultures around the globe celebrate and honour the changing seasons with their communities as a way to acknowledge the shifts taking place on earth and within us as humans.
Recognising that we are a part of the cycle of nature and acknowledging that there are wonderful times to put our energy outward (Spring and Summer) and equally wonderful times to draw our energy inward (Autumn and Winter) is a simple mind-shift that helps us to deal with the changes afoot.
Making a collection of small lifestyle adjustments to our everyday rituals will support our wellbeing on many levels
Cultivating balance is the absolute key during any transition period.
Do you notice how many people tend to get sick in the Fall and Winter seasons? Often it’s because we’re depleted across different areas, not living in alignment with the season and our true selves as well as being in need of more rest.
Below are my tips on how to avoid burnout and deflect gloominess. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more tips – I can never have too many 🙂
Get plenty of rest
Sleep is essential to keeping us happy and healthy at all times but especially in the autumn and winter periods. Try to acknowledge the change in season by aligning, or attempting to align at least, with the natural cycle.
Many studies have proven that over time, lack of good quality sleep impairs everything from our happiness levels to our all important immune system. With this impairment comes increased susceptibility to the common colds and viruses that frequently float around during the sickly autumn and winter periods.
Not getting enough sleep has also been linked to severe deceases in energy levels and increased weight gain.
Ideally adults are advised to try to clock in 8-10 hours of sleep per night regardless of the season. However, it’s also crucially important to take into account that we are all different and that might not be what you need or thrive on. For instance, many women thrive on 6-7 hours but I tend to feel best with 9-10 hours of sleep on average. Experiment with your sleep over the next few weeks, keep a journal of the results and your energy levels, and try to figure out what works best for you personally.
Naps are also a great way to build some rest into your schedule and if you want a guide to napping by yours truly click HERE 💕💕💕
Essentially, the most important things is to just try to rest as much as possible if you feel depleted and to avoid depletion in the first place, by getting plenty of sleep through the night in an attempt to keep yourself healthy, happy, energised and productive this season.
Check your Vitamin D levels
We get most of our much needed vitamin D from the sun. Naturally our intake decreases dramatically in autumn and winter months due to us spending more and more time indoors and the days being shorter. Vitamin D increases fertility, keeps our bones strong, our joints feeling good, supports the immune system and improves mood. It has also been shown in studies to prevent breast cancer cell growth. Schedule a visit with your GP to check your vitamin D levels so you can know how much you need to supplement with, if any. I had what a consultant describes as “ridiculously low” vitamin D and was given a collection of different supplements which really, really improved how I felt. If you find you are not getting outside much, a Vitamin D supplement can boost your mood and immune system ten-fold and I do recommend getting this checked out ASAP!
Get your flu jab
You don’t want to be a sick-note so if you’re at risk of flu as a result of a weakened immune system or are pregnant, then get a flu vaccine / if you believe in vaccinations. I would also have a go at boosting your immune system by drinking plenty of water, washing your hands often to prevent sickness. I’d also suggest you follow the next tip and…
Nourish with seasonal foods
Autumn is the perfect season to spend some quality time in the kitchen preparing your favorite nourishing foods for you and your family or friends. In Autumn we all crave comforting, warmer meals prepared with love and eaten with loved ones. I suggest setting aside a few hours each weekend to prepare some of your favourite foods for the week ahead and freezing so that you don’t have to worry about cooking after a long hard wintry day. This is a great way to take care of yourself and other people, as well as helping you to align with the inward energy of the season. So go ahead and visit the markets you’ve often planned to and buy in-season food like; broccoli, cabbage, beets, aubergine, kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, roasted squash, roots and sautéed dark leafy greens! I am genuinely sad to say that I am doubtful the delicious Pumpkin Spice Lattes you’re no doubt craving count, but I’ll include them on the list anyway – as I said previously, it’s all about balance!
Take Care of Your Skin
Moisturise your skin. Harsh temperatures can make your skin dry. I have dry skin anyway but winter turns it to a texture not far off saw-dust! If you’re the same, treat your skin to oils, exfoliants, masks, serums and moisturisers. I’ll be writing a post on my favourite winter skin saviours next week. Look after your lips too with moisturising balms and treatments. Lastly, you still ought to be wearing sunscreen or a moisturiser with SPF included in its ingredients, even though it’s colder.
Stay connected to yourself
Autumn and winter are the Earth’s way of telling us that it’s time to slow right down. Start a journal or track your moods to get more in touch with how your feeling and to adapt your behaviour and patterns accordingly.
As the leaves fall from the trees, the energy of the plant comes back to its roots and many cultures believe that our lives mirror that sense of grounding when we take the time to connect to the deepest parts of ourself and honour the seasons in the way they deserve.
Do this by spending an afternoon in nature, sipping lovely cups of green tea, practice yoga or take a dance class, enjoy long lavender baths of make time to just sit quietly in a meditation – even ten minutes a day is rejuvenating. There are so many ways that we can connect to ourselves and think about what gives our life meaning and one of my favourites is by commuting segments of the day to self-development and spirituality. Autumn is a gorgeous invitation to us all, asking us to slow down and look into our hearts and souls to decipher where we want to go and who we want to be.
Order some books to read and set reminders for TV shows to watch. Who doesn’t want to relax fire-side on chilly winter nights and read a good novel or binge-watch a new or popular TV series. Just don’t get too engrossed in the television or the books and make sure to do also….
Stay connected to others
Stay connected to yourself but also to other. Also try to stay active as it’s very, very easy to just sit around all the time in your loungewear eating comfort food. It’s important to get in some movement and exercise throughout the day if you can. Raking leaves or shoveling snow counts but you don’t do that every day… so until then, go take a walk in nature. Make some plans ahead of time for the cold months. In the winter, we tend to hibernate if we don’t have things to keep us busy so make a list of things you’d like to do this autumn and then joyfully tick them off as you experience them!
Keep a schedule
The cold months can seem to drag on and easy push us into isolation if we’re not careful. Stay on track by scheduling time in your day to do things you like to do, using a calendar online to schedule in things that keep you feeling balanced and happy, whether that’s time with friends or time to pamper yourself or read.
Do Some Autumn Cleaning then Get involved in lovely winter fashion
Do some “spring cleaning” in the fall. Clear out your wardrobe and drawers, organise your bedroom, and rid yourself of things you don’t need – while giving to others who do via charity. Once you’ve done that, shop for winter essentials.
Wear layers and protect your body from the dropping temperatures with warm gloves, scarves, winter coats, cashmere jumpers and cosy boots.
Be kind to yourself
The colder, darker months can cause comfort eating and weight gain. The shorter days can also cause low mood, while the flu season can cause sickness and common cold viruses. Try hard to listen to your body and give it what it requires – and don’t beat yourself up for any of these things!
This is such a glorious and wonderful season to step up your self-care game (something we could all be doing with!) and embrace all the goodness that autumn has to offer us.