Things To Do When You Love A/W But Your Mental Health Doesn't
Something that I've spoken quite a lot about over the years is that I really struggle when we get into the cooler seasons. And this year I approached the equinox with dread, last year was possibly one of the hardest A/W's for my mental state so I was a little nervous about entering our current season, to say the least. And I've always pinned it down to the fact that I'm just not an Autumn person, some people love the season but I've never been that fussed, it's dark and cold so really what is there to like? But this year it's been a little different, I've realised actually I do kinda like Autumn but I don't like what it does to my mind. So here's a little survival guide to the season if you also find yourself struggling.
THINGS TO APPRECIATE
Without sounding like a complete stereotype there are some really awesome things to appreciate about this season and here are some of my favourites;
Oh it's such a cliche, isn't it? But Autumn is a seriously beautiful season to look at, the leaves changing colour and then falling to the ground for you to walk through and hear that beautiful crunch is something I absolutely adore. It's always been my favourite season to photograph as the colours are so rich and vivid. Those rich green greens, red and yellows are something that cannot be beaten in terms of visuals. Summer will always be my favourite season but it's never that exciting to take photographs in and the blue sky kind of ruins everything.
Simple dressing is my thing but I'm a sucker for layering and I can't deny a good coat. I love being able to play with different tones and textures and I can't deny one of my favourite things is not having to be regimented with my shaving routine.
Summer is great for every variance of salad you can think of and as many stir-frys as you can possibly eat but I have to say I'm a sucker for the comfort food that comes along with this season. I'm not a lover of really hot food in the summer as when it's blistering sunshine no-one wants to tuck into a piping hot meal. But that all changes in this season and nothing is off the menu, personally I always love to go for hearty pasta dishes and as much warm bread as I can possibly stomach.
THE GUILT FREE EVENINGS IN
Like I said, I love Summer I think I've made that pretty clear by now but something I don't love is that it doesn't get dark till around 10.30pm and I always feel so guilty going to bed early like I'm wasting the day and not appreciating the sun whilst we have it. And I can't say I'm a huge fan of the days where it gets dark before 4pm but what that does mean is I don't feel at all guilty for going to bed before 9pm. And preferably spending my evenings reading or binge watching Grey's Anatomy.
SURVIVING THE SEASONS
There are some awesome things to appreciate about this season but that doesn't take away from it being tough to handle. It's dark, it's cold and it always feels like it lasts years so here are a few ways to survive A/W without letting your mental health seriously slip. Also as always, these are just the things that I find really help me they might not work for you nor are they a bible of things to do.
IT'S A DIFFERENT SEASON FOR LIFE IN GENERAL
I think it was actually a podcast that introduced me to the idea that just like the weather life works in seasons and it was a lightbulb moment. Summer always feels a little slower naturally and A/W is when I always find myself working the most so I have to prepare for that and I love this season for that reason. Everyone seems to wake up from a sleepy Summer and it's awesome but maybe that isn't the case for you. Maybe for you, it was an intense summer and this season is a little more low-key and that's completely normal. I'm such a big believer that no day is ever the same no matter what type of life you have or job you work so why would the seasons ever be the same?
DRESS FOR IT
During my teenage years, I was pretty terrible for dressing inappropriately in Winter. What can I say? I was really into fashion and didn't seem to care that I could have got frostbite from wearing inappropriate footwear. But now I'm all about buying clothes that actually keep me warm and dry and that doesn't mean you have to completely say goodbye to style. And now I kind of love dressing for the season, I love getting bundled up in lots of layers and nothing excites me more than purchasing a new coat oh and a good pair of slippers too. Pretty summer dresses will always be my thing but I do appreciate a good chunky knit. I think what so many people struggle with in A/W is the cold and of course, it's not pleasant but making sure you're really dressed for it helps so much. Thermals might not be the most exciting purchase but they're a very necessary one.
MAKE SURE YOU GET OUTSIDE
I guess this goes hand in hand with making sure you're appropriately dressed to go outside. But if you're a regular reader of this blog you will know how much an advocate I am for getting outside and how much of a difference it makes with my mental state. And it is a lot harder in A/W because the weather is certainly challenging and if you work in a traditional time scale like 9-5 it's probably dark when you leave the house and dark when you get home so trying to make the most of the weekends is key. If I don't make sure I'm regularly getting out my anxiety levels increase tenfold and my mind becomes unbearable. And it's tough to explain unless you're someone else who also gets this release from going outside but it's like my mind suddenly unravels from the tight knot it's got itself in.
NESTING & KEEPING YOUR SPACE BRIGHT
I've never been the type of person to completely change around their living space for the seasons but I definitely go into a little bit of a nesting stage when the colder months hit. I like to make sure I've got as many blankets as possible and can't deny a good woody candle or two. And as much as I like making things super cosy and relaxing something else I'm a big advocate of is still keeping things bright and airy which is tough when it's so dark outside. I'm pretty sure I don't need to go into great detail of why it's so important to make sure you're getting enough light but it's so important. It can have a really terrible effect on your mental state as well as things like energy levels and appetite.
And finally, don't feel guilty for not enjoying this season. So many people struggle at this time of year only to be met with oh you're such a Scrooge it's a season of joy. But it's not for all of us and it's completely normal and you're never as alone in those feelings as you might believe.
Do you have tips for getting through A/W?