Mind & Mood || A Mindful Change of Seasons
It’s safe to say we’re firmly ‘in’ September now – that back to school/new term feeling has fully kicked in and someone quite literally hit the ‘Go’ button on autumn. I’m wearing a large and oversized cardigan as I write this and I’ve got an even larger mug of tea as I finally ‘allow’ myself a few minutes to delve into some September reflections.
Let’s face it, before we know it, we’ll find ourselves (after THE most glorious summer on record) turning to our cosy knits and swapping evenings out in a sunny pub garden and savouring the last of the summer sun for drinking red wine and sitting as close to a fire as is physically possible. We’ll be caught up in everything that this time of year has to bring (don’t worry I won’t mention the C word), but what we often forget is that we are seasonal beings, creatures who need a little time to adapt to the changes that each season brings. Modern day living means we don’t often pay too much attention to our evolutionary survival instincts – emails, social media, endless technology doesn’t really care too much as to what season we’re in. But we must… and here’s why.
There is actual scientific proof that our bodies and minds are affected by the change in seasons, and as Hippocrates once said “Whoever wishes to pursue the science of medicine in a direct manner must first investigate the season of the year and what occurs in them.”
We could delve deep into the symptoms and reasons behind SAD* (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but that’s not really what I’m getting at, this isn’t a scientific post about an actual disorder, merely a nod to being aware of the changes in our mood, energy levels, and positive ways we can add to our daily life to pick ourselves up as we head further into the season.
The change from summer to autumn is definitely my favourite of all; the leaves 🍂 turn from gorgeous green to crisp reds, yellows and browns is one of the prettiest gifts I think nature gives us. But, for me, it never goes unnoticed that this time of year sees my energy levels drop, my need for sleep increase, and my motivation to get up and GO sink into my newly purchased autumn boots.
Despite being pretty durable we’re also finely tuned so that even the smallest of changes in temperature, weather, light have a significant impact on our mind and bodies. So now is the time to start implementing a few little practices to help ease that transition and remain healthy for the months ahead
Get lit up
Combine your need for light with your daily dose of fresh air. Whether that’s walking the kids to and from school, ditching the car when you need to pop to the shops, or downing tools for 15 minutes and taking some time to get outside – we all need that daily dose of vitamin D and we’re not going to get it staring at a screen.
Walk it out
As mentioned above, walking is THE best. Move your body… it can be so hard as it gets colder and the nights are longer to find the motivation and inclination to get up and move so why not try a new class? Or, rather than meeting a friend for a coffee suggest a walk (you can bring a cuppa with you… in your reusable cups of course).
Talk it out
We all lead busy lives, that’s a given, but conversation is SO important for our mental wellbeing and a chat on the phone or via text just isn’t the same as a face-to-face-hug-it-out-hand-holding kinda chat. Combine it with a walk and you’ll not only find you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D and exercise but that chat and those much-needed conversations always flow so much better when you’re walking and talking.
Eat with the season
Seasonal produce is at its best this time of year and this gorgeous blog post by Amelia Freer will give you plenty of inspiration on what’s good to eat this autumn. Her buckwheat pancakes with fresh blackberries are on my breakfast must-list for the weekend.
How do you make sure you keep your mind and body in check?
*As with all these things, if you notice your mood has changed a little more than usual then do make an appointment to see your doctor.