Autumn has started in the Netherlands. A season in which the days are becoming shorter and darker and it is getting wetter and colder. This change can trigger feelings of being out of balance, like having a cold, the flu, lacking energy for everyday tasks, or feeling anxious or depressed.
Yes, it is a fact that after Summer comes Autumn and that many people really dislike it. Most of us are affected by the change in seasons – it is normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining and the days are longer, or to find that you eat more or sleep longer in winter.
The other way to see it is that every season has a function. Summer invites us to go outwards and Autumn invites us to go inwards, to be with ourselves, to acknowledge that we’re overly busy. We are being encouraged to slow down and to restore the body.
To be able to deal with the seasonal change you can read some tips that I am following myself and it really helps me to align my mind and body stay centered and grounded in Autumn. These simple suggestions can help you to prevent having feelings of being out of balance and restore the connection with yourself.
Meditate. A recent study found meditation was as good as antidepressants in preventing depression flare-ups. I know meditation sounds boring and difficult. I also find it difficult to sit down but you do not need to sit still to meditate. Put on music you like and dance. Dance with your eyes closed and feel your body and follow how your body wants to move. After dancing you can sit still for 5 minutes paying attention to your breathing.
Spend time in nature. Having a walk in nature enjoying what you see can lift your mood and self-esteem. So get out and enjoy the gorgeous autumn colors by visiting a park or forest.
Exercise. Taking a daily walk or following a simple exercise routine a few times a week may help you feel better. Plan it at the same hour and do not over do it. 20 minutes can be enough. I started jogging three times a week with an app that prepares you to run 5 km. I do this in the morning after bringing the kids to school so that I start the day being proud about myself that I have done it! The effect is that I start working with more focus and determination.
Create me-time. We are so consumed lately with our daily activities, with social media, with other people that we forget about ourselves. Spend time alone and do something that relaxes you like having a bath or a shower, lying down, watch a movie, put music on and dance or read a book. I started to spend less time on social media and instead of that I read books before I go to asleep.
Eat seasonal food. Shorter days and lack of sunshine reduces our body’s production of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’. This makes us crave serotonin-boosting carbs such as pasta, potatoes and rice. Resist the urge and eat these low-fat seasonal treats, which are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants: like sweet potato and pumpkins, apples and pears and figs. Last Sunday I ate roasted pumpkins and it was delicious!
Get a detox. After the holidays, where I eat and drink more than is good for me, I give my body a break during Autumn. That way you cleanse yourself from the toxins. You can join me at the Joyful Yoga Detox. A three day detox with yoga classes.
Accept that not every day is a happy day. It looks like the only thing we have to achieve nowadays is happiness. The rest of the feelings are not welcome anymore. On Facebook (for example) we tend to see only the good and happy side of life. But real life is that we do not feel happy all the time.
Our challenge is that we need to accept that life offers all sorts of experiences that are worthwhile to live. If we allow ourselves to feel sadness we can also feel compassion. If we allow ourselves to feel anger we can also experience the other side: strength and setting boundaries.
When I have an off day I see it as a signal of my body that I need to restore the connection with my inner world. By looking into what bothers me, I slow down and connect with my body. I also treat myself with stuff I really like to do.
Find out what works for you or maybe you have other suggestions. Let us know by leaving a comment below