I need a jacket AND a scarf and everything is suddenly made with pumpkin spice.
Yes folks. It’s definitely Autumn.
I love Autumn. In the bottom half of the country at least it tends to be full of bright, crisp, sunny days and a fresh, clean feeling after a hot sticky Summer. It is, however, also a time when coughs and sneezes start to spread like wildfire and shorter daylight hours can be tough on the old mental health.
So, how can we make the most of Autumn, whilst looking after both our bodies and minds so we don’t succumb to a hideous disease, or set ourselves up for a couple of seasons of misery and despair?
There are a few ways that I try and make sure that the transition from sunshine and salads to cosy comfort food and dark evenings doesn’t take me by surprise. Today I’m sharing a few of my top tips for keeping healthy and happy in Autumn, so that by February I’m not a wreck!
As the weather gets colder it’s easy to ditch your morning workouts and start spending your evenings in front of the TV under a blanket.
Over exercising, however, can lower your immunity, so it’s important to get the balance right. If you’re a regular exerciser then try and keep up your routine in the colder months, maybe switch running outdoors for a few treadmill sessions, or head to a nice heated indoor pool.
If you’re not getting much exercise already, then try and fit in a walk on your lunch hour, or join a class and learn a new skill like aerial hoop to keep yourself active as the nights draw in.
This is super important for your mental health in the Autumn as the days get shorter and those of us that work in an office might never see sunshine as we arrive and leave work in the dark. Get outside for just half an hour on your lunch break and enjoy the fresh air.
If you’re self-employed, like I am, then make sure you make time to take breaks during the day. Go to the supermarket at 2pm and work later to make up for it. Your brain will thank you!
Whilst getting outside will help boost your mood, during the Autumn and Winter it won’t actually help with the production of Vitamin D. From October to April in the UK the sunshine we get isn’t of the right wavelength to produce Vitamin D, which is essential to keep our muscles and bones healthy.
While you can also get Vitamin D from foods like red meat, oily fish and eggs, government guidelines recommend taking a supplement in Autumn and Winter when it can be hard to get all you need.
I’ve been taking the Alive! Immune Support Soft Jells which as well as Vitamin D also contain Vitamins C and Zinc which contribute to the normal function of the Immune System to help keep colds at bay. They’re made with natural fruit flavours, are suitable for vegetarians, and really, really super tasty to chew!
You can get them from Tesco, Holland & Barrett and Boots, or at Natures Way.
That’s an absurdly fancy way of saying “Hey, it’s getting a bit chillier, maybe it’s time to switch up your moisturiser?”.
In Autumn I often switch to a richer cream cleanser (This No.7 one is my fave) to keep my skin hydrated and I use Witch Hazel as a cheap toner to keep my skin free from grime. I’ll also use a heavier moisturiser or an oil like the Spa Company Rosehip Oil that I reviewed, and definitely a night cream.
I also switch up my skin care on my body, using a rich cream (Soap & Glory is my go to!) instead of the lotions and dry oil sprays I use in Summer.
Personally I find I get very dry hands during the autumn and winter as well, so I keep a small tube of hand cream on me all the time to keep them hydrated.
Yeah, I know. I don’t want salad when it’s chilly either, but comfort food doesn’t have to be all suet puddings and pies.
Your diet is key to keeping healthy and happy in the Autumn and into Winter. Make the most of Autumn fruit and veg. Apples, sweet potato, pumpkin and butternut squash all make great comfort foods and are full of healthy things that your body needs.
Steak and sweet potato chips is hardly a tortuous health food, but red meat will help top up your vitamin D and sweet potato contains vitamins A, C and B6 among others. Just keep the oil to a minimum.
You could also try these Cranberry and Maple Syrup Sweet Potatoes I made last year. They are gooood.
This post was produced in collaboration with Alive! Immune Support supplements. As ever, all opinions are my own.