Autumn is usually the season when we start to hibernate a little, cosy down as the evenings draw in and spend more time indoors. After all the restrictions of the past year, fortunately made bearable by some gorgeous weather, many of us are anticipating the dark nights of autumn and the prospect of further lockdowns with dread.
How can we boost our autumn mood?
- What are your expectations of autumn, the factors that have shaped your existing mindset? For some it's their favourite season; the thought of wrapping up warm, kicking through falling leaves on a woodland walk, mugs of hot chocolate, board games around a fire. For others it's a gloomy, miserable season filled with dark days of nothing to look forward to. How do you feel? Remember that your childhood memories and experiences don't need to be replicated as you move into adulthood. Now you can make your own choices and use your ability to take control of your environment. Why not choose to boost your autumn mood?
- As the days become shorter our melatonin and seratonin levels are affected. This is where dog walkers have a distinct advantage, as they often take their dogs for regular walks, whatever the weather. Try to emulate the dog walker and get outside, even for short breaks, so that you experience some daylight, improve your seratonin levels and hence your mood.
- Keep in touch with close friends and family so that you're able to talk if you're feeling down, in need of some light relief or need a little human contact in your life. Share your fears and concerns, especially in this present climate and agree to be supportive of each other. It often helps to know you're not alone and that others are thinking of you.
- Commit to achieving one positive experience, success or achievement each day, even if it's simply washing your hair, tidying your sock drawer, walking to the corner shop. Only you know how significant each result is! Share your good news and congratulate each other.
- Our diet often changes as the winter months approach. People relish the idea of a salad less when it's cold and dark, often preferring more comforting food like soups, casseroles and stews. Try to keep to a healthy diet and include all the colours of autumn, the vegetables and berries that are seasonal at this time of year. You could prepare something that cooks slowly, snuggle into a warm coat and take a walk, knowing you'll be returning home to a delicious meal.
- Focus on making home more cosy and comforting than it's perhaps been over the summer months. Warm fabrics, colours and fragrances can boost your autumn mood by adding brightness to your home. Red, gold, bronze, silver used for cushions, throws, prints can brighten a room. Unique items can often be sourced locally at markets and craft fairs. Scented candles can improve the atmosphere and add welcome fragrance to a room.
- Lighting is important over the darker months. Overhead lighting can be quite harsh, so think about wall lights or smaller lamps which offer mood-enhancing ways to illuminate your room. Or candles, used safely, can add an attractive glow.
- Socialising often requires more thought, especially at the moment, with so many changing restrictions. Online socialising is a lifeline for those with internet access, providing invaluable ways to keep in touch with friends and family. Groups of friends have found ingenious ways to entertain each other, using quiz nights, book clubs, recipe sampling, all done online. And it's good to have something to look forward to.
- Online classes and training could be a good use of your time over autumn, furthering your education, giving you something extra to add to your CV and improving your job chances if you're in the market for a new career.
- Autumn is a good time to forward-plan for Christmas, making your Christmas cakes and puddings. Or you could spend hours hand-making personalised Christmas cards and gifts, utilising your skills in crafts, painting, knitting, handiwork. Children often delight in getting involved with glitter and glue!
- Working from home is an increasingly familiar option, but autumn may become a time when you start to feel like a pit pony, entering your home office and hardly ever emerging in daylight; often there's little else to do! Boost your autumn mood by scheduling regular breaks, for food, to phone a friend for a pleasant chat, to go outside and stretch your legs. Your work will thank you as breaks have been found to improve productivity upon return.
- Add some home treats, things that you might not do during typical summer months. Allow time for a thirty-minute bath with candles, plenty of bubbles and warm towels, go through your photographs or music back catalogue and laugh or cry at the memories they evoke.
A little planning can help to boost your autumn mood and ensure that you remain healthy, take good care of yourself and have positive things in your life that support you and yours both mentally and physically.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net