As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, your body clock can become out of sync and your vitamin D levels sink, leaving many of us feeling a little more blue than normal. Yet everyday changes to your exercise routine, sleep, mindset and what you eat can help banish the gloom and leave you smiling through autumn.
Sort out your sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re bound to wake up feeling a bit grumpy, especially when the shorter days might be throwing your routine off kilter. Start by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, calming down your bedtime routine and kicking the caffeine after 4pm. Even if you feel groggy, try to avoid naps too as these can only disrupt your sleep pattern further.
You could also try a natural sleep remedy that isn’t going to knock you out the next day to soothe you to a better sleep, such as Bach’s Rescue Night Remedy. For the darker mornings, dawn simulators such as the Lumie Bodyclock can really help as they wake you up gently, just like a bright summer morning streaming through the curtains, leaving you feeling happier throughout the day.
Eat seasonal and sensible
The shorter days of autumn and winter lower the production of ‘happy hormone’, serotonin, meaning we need to supplement this with some happiness-boosting foods. Picking fruit and vegetables that are in season is one of the best ways of picking up your mood so try opting for sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other hearty veg (all of which make great soups).
Choosing foods that release energy slowly will also help you feel happier and healthier for longer so go for brown pasta and wholemeal breads along with plenty of oats and nuts (especially at breakfast time).
Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli will also up your vitamin B folic acid intake (which helps with mood) whilst eating plenty of fish filled with omega 3 (such as sardines) will help stave off the blues. Luckily for us, high-quality dark chocolate also has mood-boosting properties so tuck in (in moderation) for an instant pick-me-up.
Let in the light
The reduced amount of light is one of the main causes of a gloomy mood during autumn so try to get as much light as you can. Go for a walk or a gentle jog for about 30 minutes between 6am and 10am when the daylight is at its strongest. The sunrays should help stave off gloominess whilst the exercise should leave happy hormones racing through your body for at least 7 hours afterwards.
Walking through bright colourful landscapes with plenty of trees is also likely to make you even happier as autumn colours have been shown to boost positivity.
Curling up by the fire on your own might sound like a good idea when the weather is howling outside but making plans and getting out is a really key way of cheering yourself up. Aim to go out for a meal or just a drink with your partner or invite a friend over at least one day a week. You could also consider taking up a new hobby or craft project to keep your mind focused on something that isn’t the weather and keep you motivated.
Keep colds at bay
When the nippy weather bites, sadly so do colds and flu. Getting ill of course does nothing for your mood so try and stay as healthy as you can to keep the germs away. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables (especially those which contain vitamin C like oranges) along with drinking piping hot drinks and keeping wrapped up should help defend you from colds.
Sipping lemon and ginger tea is a great germ-buster that also helps digestion and general wellbeing too: just pour hot water over a few lemon slices in a mug and spoon in some ginger.
Get into the autumn spirit
Try and tune into the spirit of autumn by slowing down a bit, wearing warmer clothes and calming down your commitments. Put aside at least an evening a week to enjoy whatever you want to do and be sure to look after yourself, keeping yourself and your house warm and unwinding properly at the end of each day.
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