Ah, Autumn, the season of change and renewal! September and October can feel like challenging months in many unexpected ways. The stress of heading back to work after beautiful, sunny holidays, and the kids going back to school, can cause us to feel a little low. We also begin to navigate more difficult weather. There are still great days, but we are adjusting to it becoming colder, darker, wetter and windier, not something we all relish!
A knock-on effect of the change in season and weather can mean we begin to feel hungrier, are less able to exercise outdoors in the same ways, and the foods that are seasonally available are also changing. Adjusting to this and getting our health right for autumn can sometimes feel like just another addition to a long ‘to-do’ list.
However, as the weather adapts during this time of year, at Birch & Wilde we love to take lessons from nature, as we realign ourselves with what autumn can really bring for our wellbeing.
As the leaves change colour and fall from the trees (without the trees worrying ‘why’), we are gently reminded that everything is happening as nature intended and that we are constantly evolving. And so, that makes this a fabulous time for self-nurture. It’s perfect for exploring new ways to look after ourselves and boost our wellbeing with some autumnal self-care.
So, if you’re feeling the autumnal dread, read on to find out how best to help you re-balance and adjust so that you can enjoy autumn and feel much more at ease in yourself.
We also have have some fabulous top wellbeing tips in our Beating The Winter Blues blog, so make sure you check that one out too if autumn and winter are trickier times of year for you.
For now, it's time to take a few moments to discover our favourite ways to make caring for your wellbeing a little easier this autumn.
Firstly, our top recommendation is to prioritise self-care! It’s cliched but true that ‘you can’t fill from an empty cup’. So nurturing ourselves is really important before we even think about supporting others or tackling everything else!
Here are our top 4 self-care choices to nurture yourself through autumn this year...
Plan to get outside… It’s not just about exercise (we’ll come to that later). Being outdoors in nature can really help us see something different about the change in seasons. Nature can be so colourful, beautiful and inspiring. The autumn leaves and lower sun can make for spectacular sunsets! It’s such a great way to embrace the positive parts of the seasonal changes.
Read a book… During the busy summer months, there is sometimes not much chance to pick up a good book. Often we intend to, but then spend so much time outdoors, or active or in our favourite summer settings, it just doesn’t happen. So, what better time to cosy up indoors, and read to your heart’s content. It’s a great reminder, too, that there are things to love doing in the colder weather. We can often forget them when we are nostalgic for summer.
The classic bubble bath… And why not? We absolutely LOVE this way to nurture and take time for ourselves. You can add your favourite bath salts or smellies, or try an essential oil candle. You could even take your book in with you, or listen to some of your favourite music. It’s just such a great way to spend time indoors relaxing, we never tire of it!
A nice massage… Or a Spa or Pamper Day! You could go alone or invite some friends. There are some amazing spa day deals to be snapped up online. It’s a fabulous way to really enjoy some pampering, some time out, and appreciate that autumn can actually bring us the opportunity to go inwards and rest a little.
We’ve already touched lightly on the idea of our nutritional needs changing with the seasons. What this is likely to really look like is a movement away from our summer favourites (salads and cold plates which are so simple and easy!) to some great autumn staples, like stews and curries. This move is generally caused by the change in our energy needs. So, for example, we need more ‘fuel’ to stay warmer.
Diet and hydration are inextricably linked, and vital for our positive wellbeing. Good hydration is essential at all times of the year. In summer we tend to drink more due to it being warmer. However, we also get a lot more hydration from the larger quantities of fresh fruit and veg we are likely to consume. So, as we move into autumn, it’s important to remember to hydrate properly (and not rely solely on warming tea and coffee, as they can have a diuretic effect).
So, what foods should we be eating in autumn? Well, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (along with what nature actually provides seasonally), foods that should be a part of our diet during autumn include:
- Root veggies such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and squash (butternut)
- Green veggies including broccoli, spinach and kale
- Legumes including beans, lentils and chickpeas
- Whole grains like brown rice, oats and quinoa
- Fish such as sea-bass, cod and haddock
- Herbs including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, and dill
- Fruits like apples, pears and citrus
As we know, the sudden change in weather can really indicate a change in our activity levels. Where we might have once gone for lovely long coastal walks, enjoyed fun paddle-boarding or beach yoga, or gone cycling, we are now struggling to face moving from our sofa! So, how can we make sure we replace these with things that we still love, but that the weather allows?
Well, we could make the switch to using bikes in the gym or switching paddle-boarding for indoor swimming-pool based activities, and find an indoor yoga class.
However, it’s also important to remember that we aren’t quite in winter yet, and autumnal weather is still beautiful and crisp. So there are still PLENTY of good days to get outside hiking, cycling and whatever calls to you. We just might need to be more organised in our approach and check the weather in advance!
Finally, it’s really important to think about the very best ways to boost and optimise your health and wellbeing. Of course, supplementing appropriately and as needed, is one of our very favourite ways to do this!
Our absolute favourite supplement tip for autumn is to start taking additional Vitamin D3 from now right through until at least spring. In the absence of as much sunshine, this top-up will really help to maintain our necessary levels of D3 which is essential for healthy strong bones, immunity, and to enable many cells in your body to work properly.
It is important because D3 mostly gets produced upon your skins exposure the sunshine. So, in climates such as the UK, unless supplemented the deficiency can cause tiredness, fatigue, low immunity and many other issues. Make sure you read more in our brilliant Vitamin D3 blog.
Autumn can also be a time when the 'back to school' syndrome means there is a myriad of coughs, colds and bugs spreading like wildfire. So with this in mind, we also recommend a good dose of Vitamin C! We go for 1000mg per day of good quality vitamin C, right through until after New Year, to keep immunity levels high and avoid as many of the 'nasties' as possible!
Finally, we recommend another favourite, in the form of ZMA. This is a zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 combo that supports strength, stamina, good rest and boosted immunity. It is a relative newcomer to the supplement world but is well backed with science, and those that use it regularly are seeing fantastic results! You can find out more in our ZMA blog.
Overall, we think that the best way to eradicate any internal fear of the change of season is to fully embrace the positives of what is being brought in by autumn. The skies may be greyer and the evenings darker, but there are still some truly great ways to enjoy this season and look after yourself in the process!
We are thinking of it as nature’s reminder to make sure we are nurturing ourselves, empowering our wellbeing and reinstating some beautiful balance in our world!
Here at Birch & Wilde, we are constantly amazed by the power of nature to aid our physical health, and this is what drives our passion to create!
Stay well and happy beautiful one, lots of love,