Around this time of year it can be difficult to remember to look after your mental and physical health. The colder weather, the shorter days – it can seem an absolute nightmare just getting through your normal routine. But, little Autumn self-care acts can really help to boost your mind, body and soul as winter starts to draw in.
1: Autumn Self-Care: Remember to hydrate
We all make a point of drinking lots of water in the warmer months, but it is just as important to stay hydrated throughout the rest of the year too. Drinking water boosts our focus, energy levels and keeps things inside our bodies ticking over nicely. So, keep taking your water bottle with you to school or work. Adding oranges on occassion will help to boost your vitamin D levels, which can drop when we don’t experience as much sunlight as usual.
2: Get outside
With the dark nights drawing in, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all our tasks. We start to feel tired earlier (vampire vibes all round), and planning things to do after work can seem like a hideous idea. Remember though, Autumn/Winter is a long period and staying in constantly/sleeping longer will not help to increase your mood and will deplete your energy levels in the long run.
Schedule plans and try to get out early/ late when you can to extend your day. Your life shouldn’t become consumed by the working day just because it’s only light during your working hours.
3: Autumn Self-Care: Don’t neglect your body
Naturally, during the Spring/Summer months we take more care of ourselves physically. We know that our legs, toes and even our faces will be on show more as we embrace the warmer weather and going out becomes a much more enjoyable experience. But why should we stop getting those pedicures, shaving our legs and being our best selves just because it’s a little chilly outside? We all love to hibernate. But when Summer does come back around we all panic to get ‘Summer-ready’.
Who says we ever have to stop if we don’t want to? Whilst it’s better to feel good on the inside, looking damn good on the outside certainly helps with confidence, self-esteem, energy … the list is endless. You will be more inclined to get out and enjoy yourself if you’re feeling good about you!
4: Don’t neglect your physical health
As with the above paragraph, our physical health can also veer off a little in the winter months. Going for a run or even just a walk can seem a bit … well .. meh. But we know that exercise increases endorphins, which in turn make us feel happier naturally.
Now is as good a time as any to sign up to a physical fitness class. Meeting new people will help you to feel more sociable in Autumn/ Winter even if you don’t feel like being a party queen, at least you are getting out and about. They can provide you with a routine AND get you super fit, ready to take on next summer.
5: Autumn Self-Care: Make time for you!
Whilst stepping out is important, it’s equally as important to ensure you have some ‘Me Time’. As I mentioned before, the shorter days can make you feel like you can’t fit everything in, but it shouldn’t be your self-care time that suffers. Once or twice a week, work a long soak in a bath into your routine, schedule time to read that book you’ve been putting off, snuggle down with a movie – just make sure you have a couple of hours (at least) to yourself each week that you’ve allocated solely for you and the things you enjoy doing. Don’t be consumed by the darkness.
6: Don’t neglect your mental health
These months can often seem the most lonely. Everyone is caught up in the preparation for Christmas, the kids are back in school and everything just seems a lot busier … it may seem like nobody has the time to listen. But, this isn’t true. Mental health at this time of year is more important than ever and thus, so is reaching out.
S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) rears its ugly head, as we stay in more we have more time to think and mull things over … and over … and over. Take the time to talk to family and friends about how you’re feeling. My mum always says to me that like you would, everyone else would rather know that you’re struggling and try to help you, than for you to bury your head in the sand feeling ignored and exacerbating your loneliness.
What other acts of Autumn self-care would you recommend?