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Are you a cooler temps, pumpkin spice kinda gal, or do you prefer sipping cool drinks by the pool or beach in the heat of summer? Personally, I wish I could have the best of both worlds–sunshine AND crisper, longer days. ‘Tis the season to ‘fall’ into autumn in my neck of the woods (Happy Valley, central Pennsylvania). That means shorter, darker days and battling inertia. Who else has trouble getting out of bed when the temperatures drop (and it’s still dark outside!!)
How do you conquer the tendency for sluggishness (and perpetual inertia) this time of year?
Well, I have to confess that I always welcomed the advent of fall. As a child, by August I was ready to be back in school. No joke.
I love earth tones and autumn colors, especially when the tree leaves turn bright yellow, red, or orange. Cooler temps meant snuggling more with my cat in bed and reading a good book!
As an adult, it’s a little harder to welcome autumn despite my preference for crisper weather. I just can’t stand when it gets dark outside earlier. And I must confess, although I love winter coats, suffocating my feet in hot boots is just not my jam.
So, here are some hacks for battling those shorter, darker days and overcoming inertia!
Falling into Self-Care
Autumn (or fall, depending on your lexical preference) is the time where you need to up your self-care routines and rituals. First, if you aren’t currently practicing self-care (or only sporadically), I’d like to invite you to pause for a moment and think about what you could do to pamper and recharge yourself.
Is it a warm Epsom salts bath (infused with essential oils)? Or taking 5-10 minutes each morning or evening (maybe both) meditating? Maybe your self-care involves taking the time to eat healthier meals?
Do you enjoy writing? How about spending time each day writing your thoughts/worries into a journal? Yes, I know gratitude journals are the latest ‘thing,’ but sometimes just doing a data (brain) dump onto paper with the good, the bad, the ugly is a good, efficient way to wipe out negative vibes. Just saying…
Once you do the data dump, if you do enjoy writing, maybe you can create some poetry or write a short story?
How much time do you spend on social media? Maybe you can cut back a little on that and make plans to see friends ‘irl’ (in real life)? Or if that won’t work due to geographical challenges, pick up the phone and call a friend.
What can you do to reignite your ‘soul’? Speaking of soul, I stumbled upon this thought-provoking quote.
I notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature (F. Nietzsche)
Of course many sites will tell you to hit the spa and get a massage. That’s great, but what would be even nicer if you have a partner is asking for a gentle neck or back massage. It’s been scientifically demonstrated that the sense of touch releases oxytocin (the cuddle hormone which helps keep stress in check).
Do you like to read? Hit the library or your local bookstore (Amazon is great, but supporting local business is always nice). Need help finding a good book?
Try incorporating some movement to conquer the blahs of darker days. Yoga anyone? (Confession: I am still trying to convince myself that I am coordinated enough to learn yoga poses). A leisurely stroll in your neighborhood? Or maybe hit the gym, but do something less taxing (recumbent bike?) I am fortunate in that my $30 a month gym includes a steam room and sauna, so when the temperatures dip, those perks are my carrot for heading over to the gym.
Spend more time talking with your partner and children. We make it a point to always (with rare exceptions) eat dinner together. Even if one of us has activities after work/school – we just eat a little later, but together.
Since I started a more mindful food plan (read one that takes into account my food intolerances), I am always looking for ideas for delicious meals and snacks that are gluten, grain, dairy, and egg-free. Speaking of snacks, Halloween is just around the corner, so please check out my recent post about spooky gluten-free Halloween treats!
During my two years working abroad in Japan, I learned to appreciate cooking dishes made with seasonal foods. Do you have any favorite festive fall recipes (trying saying that three times fast!) you’d like to share? If so, please comment below or visit me on Facebook and share away.
So, to sum it up, since I did sort of ramble, here are some ideas for practicing self-care (and then some) to help you conquer the autumn (or fall) blahs.
- Take a warm Epsom salt bath with essential oils.
- Read a good book.
- Call a friend or get together in person (as my kids would write, ‘irl’).
- Write about your day in a journal.
- Create poetry.
- Exercise an art or craft (painting, knitting, crocheting, sculpting, photography, diy gifts to prepare for the holidays (Christmas is around the corner).
- Experiment in the kitchen with fall-friendly, hearty but healthy meals.
- If you are craving a certain chain coffee shop’s pumpkin spice drink, experiment with making your own.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Visit the gym.
- Ask your partner for a massage. (If you need massage oil recommendations, let me know.)
- Cuddle with a pet.
- Meditate daily – even 5-10 minutes can clear out negative energy.
- Invest in a light therapy lamp if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Give yourself a facial. Here’s a simple DIY recipe.
- Find an indoor pool and go for a swim.
- Say ‘no’ to outside commitments that don’t bring added value to your happiness.
- Declutter a room or an area in your living space. You’d be surprised at how some people feel more relaxed after cleaning up the clutter! If you need guidance, read Ruth Soukup’s ‘Unstuffed.’
As a mom, you owe it to yourself and to your family to claim some ‘me’ time and devote it to self-care. What are your favorite self-care rituals?
- I’d love to hear in the comments below or please drop by my Facebook page to comment!