The clocks have gone back.
With that seemingly little change comes motivation sapping cold, dark evenings and long, dreary indoor days.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a properly recognised disease where depression sets in during the winter months, but even without suffering from full blown depression many people feel a bit low and lacking in energy as the seasons change.
I’ve learnt, over the years, to take special care of myself as the seasons change to avoid slipping into a black hole of misery so today I thought I’d share a few ways to avoid that autumn slump and make autumn a time of energy and excitement.
♥ Set some goals
Lets not do anything foolish and set ourselves up to fail. That won’t help. But some little goals, no matter how silly, keep you going, give you something to work towards and keep a positive outlook.
You could aim to wear a different pair of shoes every day in November, drink 2 litres of water a day or buy a pedometer and aim to walk 200 miles before Christmas. Anything to give you something to work towards
♥ Have an “Autumn Clean”
The only reason people do all that cleaning in Spring is because sunlight makes it more visible. Personally Autumn is the time I suddenly start noticing all that dust. Low sunshine and more time spent indoors mean all that clutter becomes unbearable and has a terrible effect on your mental health.
Set aside a day and give your living space a proper good scrub. Hoover under the sofa, throw out all the old takeaway menus and turn the mattress on your bed like you’re supposed to.
♥Decorate for the season
While you’re at it with the cleaning, give your house a bit of a revamp for Autumn and Winter and make it a cosy place to spend time. Buy a few new cushions for the sofa, add some candles to your mantelpiece that you can light and create a cosy atmosphere. Change some of the pictures on your walls, or put up those pictures you forgot about over the Summer.
♥ Indulge in a little Self Care
Set aside an evening, or even an hour, a week that’s all yours. Take a bath with some delicious smellies, light some candles, dye your hair, paint your nails and luxuriate in making yourself look and feel as good as possible. No one feels their best if they spend every day with their hair scraped back under a huge jumper.
♥ Get some fresh air
Yes, I know it’s cold and grey and sometimes raining. You don’t even have to go outside. Try opening your windows during the day when you’re at home. Sitting at home with the central heating on and the windows closed creates a horribly stale and stuffy atmosphere. Open a window, turn the central heating off and put on an extra jumper and a pair of socks, at least while it’s still above freezing.
♥ Go Shopping
Any excuse. But really, taking care of your appearance is often seen as frivolous, but making the effort to look good is half of the battle towards feeling good. This is where I suffered last year, hating my whole wardrobe and wallowing in a misery where I felt dumpy and frumpy. Look at what you have to wear this Autumn, make sure some of it’s easy to throw on, go shopping and fill any holes, even if it’s just some fun new coloured tights and stockings or a couple of new berets which are dirt cheap on eBay. Even a new lipstick for Autumn can make you feel like a new woman!
♥ Learn to Meditate
Learning mindfulness, and how to be present in the moment without judging your thoughts can help with stress and worry. It helps you focus and improves creativity, as well as making you feel pretty damn awesome.
I use an app called Headspace with 10 minutes a day of guided mindfulness meditations. I highly recommend it.
♥ Drink More
And this time I don’t even mean cocktails! As the weather gets colder all that water we necked on hot Summer days isn’t so appealing. Being a little bit dehydrated can make you feel surprisingly awful mentally. Herbal teas are a great way to get some more fluids, without adding caffeine, and in a warming hot drink. I’m a big fan of Teapigs peppermint tea, but apple & cinnamon and rhubarb & ginger both sound amazing for winter!
♥ Plan ahead
I don’t know about you but having something to look forward to makes winter a little bit more bearable. Even over winter there are lots of events to plan for to brighten up your days. Christmas is the big one, but after that there’s Burns Night and Valentines Day (not just for couples!). Buy a new notebook and a piggy bank and start saving and planning towards next years big adventure. Where will you go, what will you wear, who will you go with? Even if you never do half of your plans it will brighten up dreary winter days.
♥ Start something new
Don’t wait for New Year to start something new, because by then you’ll be bloated and tired from Christmas excess, and already well on your way to a miserable few months before the sun comes back. Start it now and let that first flush of excitement and enthusiasm when you start something new carry you through the dark winter days and into next spring! Sign up for a course, whether it’s online or in real life ot take up a new sport or activity (Roller Derby? Zumba? Rugby? Flower Arranging). Buy all the magazines, read all the blogs and feel that enthusiasm for learning something new. Persevere and by next Spring you’ll already be 6 months ahead of all the people who waited for Christmas to be over.
How do you keep your energy up with the changing seasons?[hr]