Autumn is approaching, and brings with it a complete mixture of feelings and emotions. On the one hand, there are the beautiful autumn colours to look forward to, and those lovely crisp mornings that signal the coming change of the season. However, many of us also dread the coming of autumn as it starts leading to darker evenings and colder weather. And, particularly after the poor summer we have had this year, it can all feel a bit depressing. And some people are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is thought to be caused by reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days.
Whatever your views on autumn, and however you normally feel, one thing is certain. You owe it to yourself to look after your wellbeing this autumn. If you are at your best, you will be ready to face any challenges that autumn brings, and enjoy all the pleasures of the season.
So in this article we share ten quick tips on how to look after your wellbeing this autumn.
It’s particularly important to eat as well as you can in autumn, as schools go back and germs begin to circulate. A healthy diet will strengthen your immune system. Try to eat regularly but don’t overdo the portions. Aim to include each of the main five food groups every day:
As well as eating a healthy diet, it’s important to keep your body hydrated. Make sure you drink regularly during the day : if you feel thirsty, your body is already beginning to dehydrate. Aim to drink around 2 litres of fluid a day (around 6 to 8 glasses). The best thing is plain water, but sparkling water, squash, tea and coffee all count too.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours sleep per night but many of us don’t make it a priority. However, sleep can impact both your physical health – hormones, immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health – and also your mental wellbeing.
An ongoing lack of sleep can trigger many physical illnesses, and will also lower your mood, making you function less effectively in many areas of your life.
So make sleep a priority. Allow yourself enough time to get a good sleep, and also build in time to relax and wind down in whatever way you choose before actually going to sleep.
Regular exercise can help to boost your immune system, strengthen bones and muscles, and reduce your risk of major health issues. As well as being good for your physical health, it can also improve your overall wellbeing by releasing endorphins – mood-enhancing hormones – into the brain.
It doesn’t matter if you are not big into exercise: just 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, or tennis is enough. 150 minutes – 2.5 hours – works out at around just over 20 minutes a day.
Fresh air is a secret weapon of mental wellbeing. It can help to raise oxygen levels in your brain, which then increases your levels of serotonin, and settles your mood. Take the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and get in tune with nature whenever you can, even if only for a few minutes.
Also do what you can to bring the outside into your home so that you are surrounded by nature. Even if it’s just a few plants or flowers, they can bring a real sense of calm to your surroundings and some – such as –orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads – release oxygen.
Whatever you are passionate about in life, make sure you treat yourself to make it happen. Even during a very busy day or week, just taking a few minutes to do something for yourself can help to recharge your batteries and make you feel good.
So whether it’s a long soak in the bath, listening to music, reading a book, watching a movie, doing a puzzle or anything else you choose, set aside a bit of time to make it happen.
When life is busy, and bad things are happening, it can seem trivial and selfish to have fun. But it’s important to allow yourself to be happy and to have fun without feeling guilty about it. If you are happy and feeling good about yourself and your life, you will be in a more positive place to influence and perhaps help to change some of the negative things that are happening, either to those you know personally or more globally.
So don’t feel guilty about seeking out opportunities to enjoy life and have fun, instead of thinking you have to be upset or angry about something every minute of every day. With this balance will come peace of mind and make you stronger.
Another way to improve your wellbeing is to look after your home so it is the way you want it. Your home should be a place of sanctuary where you can relax, let go, and truly be yourself. You need to work out the best way of running your home so that everything functions the way you want it to.
In terms of the overall state of your home, find a healthy balance between feeling pressured to make it look like a show home and descending into utter chaos. The choice is yours: don’t compare yourself with others but have your home the way you want it. And if you want to spend a bit of money on improving your home, or getting some help such as cleaning, gardening or DIY, do what you know will make your life better.
Also, if you work from home, be sure to create boundaries between work and home. Ideally try to earmark a corner of your home to do your work so that you can walk away from it at the end of the day. Make sure that your work device(s) and papers are all shut or put away when you finish, so there are not constant visible reminders of work.
A healthy social life is essential for wellbeing. Which means that you need to do what you can to prioritise relationships with family and friends and keep them strong. Try to make time every day to talk properly to the family you live with so that they know that you are interested in every aspect of their lives. It can be all too easy to end up rushing around the home without spending any quality time together.
Also check in regularly with other family and close friends. Even if it’s just an occasional text, message or email, it keeps the relationship fresh and lets them know that you are thinking of them.
There will be times when you need family and friends to help you through hard times. But it’s important to be honest, and ask for help when you need it. It can often be the case that if you don’t talk about how you feel, you will begin to feel as if you’ve lost yourself somewhere along the way and no-one cares. Neither of these things is true, but you need to open up to others in order for them to really understand where you are at, and be able to help you if needed.
And if you are really struggling, there are times when it may be worth looking for professional help. For example, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis, you may need help:
If this describes you, the NHS website provides guidance on how to find suitable therapists and mental health professionals. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone who can help if you know things aren’t right.
We hope that this article has given you some ideas and inspiration about how to look after your wellbeing this autumn. If any of your plans need a bit of a financial boost, remember that Minty offers 24 month loans that may be able to help.
Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Minty Loans.