I can often find myself feeling down at this time of year. And after I realised that year after year, there was a pattern, I decided to do something about it to make sure I can not have ‘ground hog’ day every time Autumn hits.
So here are 5 tips I find work for me to help me keep the mood up and not make Autumn a time I want to hide away from.
1. There is a reason for it!
Not knowing is a source of anxiety and can compound those already low feelings.
However there is a logical, scientific reason as to why we are feeling lower at this time of year.
In many ways we are still programmed as if we are living in caves. At this time of year, our Neanderthal relatives would be hunkering down as soon as it got dark, often feeling hungry! These programmes that have evolved over millions of years that say, ‘Go to sleep when it gets dark,’ have not adjusted in the few hundred years since we have been able to bring light to that dark.
This ‘modern’ development is therefore fighting that evolutionary heritage and creates an internal stress, alongside our innate programme to get more sleep making us more tired anyway.
So accept that this is a time when all our inner Neaderthals are wanting us to behave differently – there is nothing wrong with you!
2 It's a cycle - a different way to look at this time of the year
We can learn a lot from nature.
Every year, there is a spring – a time of rapid growth. Then follows summer – a time of abundance. Autumn is then a time that we harvest that productivity. And then winter is about hibernating, regrouping, restoring.
We could not have a permanent summer – it just would not work. Each season has its purpose.
It can help to now see this as your time to harvest that productivity. Slow down a bit, because if you try to maintain an eternal summer of high productivity, it will all get very out of balance!
3. Be grateful for the unique things in Autumn
Here is a very practical thing!
Write down all the things you can only do in Autumn.
I am thinking: Enjoying the stunning colours as the leaves change, blackberry picking, Halloween, conker fights….
And then make a plan to do all of those things you enjoy that you can ONLY do at this time of year.
When you focus on all the things you CAN do rather than all those things that disappeared with the summer, it can really change how you start to view this time of year.
4. Help yourself by helping others
It is scientifically proven that by helping others, you help yourself. This is because in that act of kindness, chemicals are released into your blood stream that lead to happier feelings.
So here is another practical thing for you.
Look for opportunities to help people. From letting someone out in a traffic jam, to buying a coffee for the person in the queue behind you. Do it for no other reason than it will make someone else’s day that little bit better – and yours too!
As mentioned above, this is a time of year where nature is getting rid of things she no longer needs. You can do the same too.
I am no expert in Feng Shui however I do know that both myself and the house feel better after a good sort out. We often call this a spring clean but it is just as relevant at this time of year too. It is also part of the preparation for Winter – gathering up what you need and getting rid of anything you don’t as we approach the quietest time of year in nature.
And if all the above is not hitting the mark for you… remind yourself that ‘”This too shall pass.”
This is one of my goto mantras when I hit a dark place. Because it is true. Nothing lasts forever. Autumn will not last for ever. The feelings you have will not last forever.
And in that realisation, there is hope – the one thing you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and in time, things will get better!
I also urge you or anyone you know who is struggling at a level that is beyond just a seasonal grey cloud, to seek professional help. Please feel free to reach out to me or anyone else who can support people with mental health issues.