Autumn Self-care: Take the self-care challenge
Autumn is the perfect season to practice self-care. The days may have got colder and shorter, but this is the perfect time to wind down, take some time for yourself, and prepare your body and mind for the winter ahead. While summer is all about getting out as much as possible, soaking up every last ray of vitamin D, and enjoying the long evenings, Autumn has a different feel. It’s still important to get out and about when you can, but this isn’t all.
We’ve compiled a list of some easy and effective ways to look after yourself in these months.
Allocate time to rest
It’s easy to get into a mindset where you constantly beat yourself up about your productivity. While it’s good to have goals, both professional and personal, constantly thinking that you need to be doing more can indeed be more of a hindrance than a help. We don’t need to ‘earn’ the time we take to rest, everyone should be able to enjoy rest time as a part of their day. When you allow yourself to take this time, the rest of you time should be spent with a renewed freshness and perspective.
Enjoy a cup of your favourite tea
Staying hydrated when the weather gets colder can be a little more challenging. Sure, when it’s hot and sunny outside you can effortlessly spend all day drinking, and enjoying, glasses of cool water. But when you start spending the days thinking about how high the heating can go up, ice cold water is a rather unpleasant thought. But when you’re dehydrated your brain and body will not function as well as they should. Instead, how about finding a new favourite tea (we would suggest non-caffeinated) so keep yourself warm, calm, and rejuvenated throughout the day.
It sounds so simple, and it can be easy to ignore the little things that ultimately make a big difference. Stretching for a few minutes every morning will help get you blood circulating through your body and, importantly, to your brain. Also, taking this time to be present with yourself in the morning, rather than staring at your phone, can be incredibly beneficial.
Whether it seems like there’s a lot or a little going on in your life right now, your head will be full of thoughts and feelings throughout the day. It’s important to process our emotions and an easy way to start doing this is by keeping a journal. Bottling things up never does any good, and sometimes we can get the clarity we need by simply seeing our thoughts in front of us as words on a page.
Write down what you're thankful for
Sometimes we’re so obsessed with where we’re going, that we forget that where we are is actually pretty darn good. There are always positives, silver linings, and things to be thankful for, whether it’s friends and family, or maybe something you’ve accomplished - take the time to remember what you’ve done and how far you have come.
Write down what you wish to let go off
Negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions can weigh us down. Even if we don’t realise it at the time, once we let go of the things pulling us down, we feel a lot lighter, mentally, and emotionally. Letting go of these can be easier said than done, but writing them down can be a good exercise to start disentangling any potentially toxic thoughts from our mindset.
Snuggle up with a good book
We’re all sick of screen time. For many of us, we look at screens for work, we look at screens to get the news, we look at screens to communicate with our friends and family, and at the end of the day, when we want to unwind, we generally resort to looking at another screen. It’s tiring for our brain and eyes to have this much screen time, and it doesn’t help towards getting a good night’s sleep. Next time you want to chill out and escape into a story, try picking up a book. Of course, it doesn’t have to be War and Peace - very few people find the prospect of this relaxing! Look for an easy read that feels like a pleasure, not a chore.
Listen to your favourite song
A quick injection of happiness (or heartbreak, or angst, depending on what you’re into) can add a real boost to your day. When no one’s home take a minute (or four) to put the speakers on full blast, put your favourite song on, and sing your heart out.
Pronounced ‘hoo-ga’, this is a Danish lifestyle concept which essentially encourages people to live cozy. In Danish, the term comes from the word well-being, which the Danes know a thing or two about as a country with one of the longest winters but also highest rates of happiness. Hygge is about making your inside environment warm and comforting, so we’re talking thick socks, wooly jumpers, and perhaps a roaring fireplace. Hygge is about being kind to yourself, rather than punishing your body like many people turn to as the new year starts in January. Light a candle, snuggle up, place a cinnamon bun in the oven - the Danes know how to do it.
Try a new recipe
With the nights spent at home, it is easy for dinner to become the highlight of the day, so how about making it a special occasion? By mixing things up in the kitchen and trying a new recipe you can really refresh your routine while learning a new skill.
Cook for your family and friends
And who better to practice on than your family and friends! Your loved ones will be keen to taste a dish from your new repertoire, and hosting a dinner party really can be one of the best social occasions in the winter months. If mixing households currently isn’t an option where you are, view it as an extra few weeks to practice and perfect your recipes before your grand debut.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a plant-based compound that is extracted from hemp. The way that this compound interacts with the body can be incredibly therapeutic, people champion it’s use for purposes such as managing stress, improving sleep quality, and relaxing sore muscles (particularly CBD skincare). Whichever way you look at it, CBD is synonymous with self-care and could definitely be your new best friend this season as you hunker down.
Take a walk in nature
Even when it’s cold, and perhaps the sun isn’t shining, it’s still important to get some time outside. Natural daylight is a great booster for our serotonin levels (the happiness chemical), and you can feel this boost even on days that are clouded over. We get the bulk of our crucial vitamin D from the sun (and thus being outside) which improves our bone health and immune system. And last, but certainly not least, it’s super beneficial to get some fresh air into your airways. This will clear your system after being in the same place all day, and potentially feeling a bit stale. It can also help flush bacteria out of your airways and lungs.
Try a new hobby
Is there something you’ve always wanted to, but it seems like time just flew by and you never got round to it? Perhaps it’s starting to learn a new language or a new instrument, perhaps you’ve always pictured yourself as a knitter making scarves for your loved ones at Christmas, or perhaps you’ve always fancied your hand at painting. Whatever it is that fixates you, there’s no time to start like the present. Carve out a few hours next Sunday afternoon to honour your new hobby.
Go to a farmer's market
In the past few years, farmers markets have become all the rage. With produce ranging from locally grown vegetables to French cheese, or Portuguese inspired tarts and pastries - farmer’s markets are eclectic in their produce. The great news is that they run all year round with seasonal produce, and some even greater news is that they’re outdoors - a great health and safety aspect given the need for social distancing and the limit on numbers indoors.
Make and drink mulled cider
An ice-cold beer is nice and refreshing in summer, but as we discussed earlier with the cold water debacle, in winter you just don’t need to be putting any more cold in your body. In the autumn and winter months, hot drinks reign supreme. So if you’re looking for a nice drink to wind down with in the evening, how about mulling your own cider. All you need to do is simmer cider, apple juice, cloves, cinnamon, and an orange - simple!
We hope that our self-care tips have inspired you to try some new things this season. The whole mission of self-care is to be kind to yourself, and kind to your body - which will ultimately make you feel better mentally, and physically. Don’t try to do everything at once because that, of course, will be stressful.
Pick a couple of your favourites from the list, give them a go and let us know how you get on!