It’s been a long-long time since I last wrote a post. It’s true to an extent that I’ve been busy, but I have also noticed over the last couple years that my inspiration to write is next to nothing in the summer. I am a true child of autumn, or so it seems, so it’s no wonder that once September started I am full of inspiration and enthusiasm again. I want to get moving, I want to start doing things and writing is, once again, one of them.
Autumn doesn’t come, however, without a longing for some warmth and cosiness – it is after all the season when the temperatures begin to plummet, the wind starts to rise and it rains more often (although I doubt anything can beat this year’s Irish summer). It is the season when you want to pull out your cosy sweaters and warmer pyjamas, it is the season when the coffee shops start selling pumpkin spice lattes and other spiced treats. Ultimately, it is the season when we seem to start taking more care of ourselves, whether out of necessity or for a mood boost, or just for fear of getting sick as the chill sets in the air.
No matter the reasons, here are a few ideas how to make this autumn cosy while nourishing your soul and body.
10 SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR AUTUMN
1. COMFORT FOOD
It’s always a good idea to start with nourishing your body. In particular, paying attention to what you put into your body. Because the weather gets colder, your body spends more energy trying to keep itself warm. You can always help it by feeding it whole foods, preferably starchy, colourful, fresh and whole. Incorporate more autumn fruits and vegetables into your diet, such as squashes and pumpkins, apples, potatoes, carrots, corn, etc.. There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup on a cold day. Check out my Butternut Squash and Apple soup if you want to try something new or make your old-time favourite, and be sure to be on the lookout for more of my favourite fall recipes.
2. KNITTED CLOTHES AND BLANKETS
Oh how I love these! Of course, I don’t wear wool, but there is still nothing better than a chunky sweater or a long cardigan that I can wrap into. I am also obsessed with knitted dresses – they are the cosiest thing ever! Oversized scarves are amazing too. Pull them all out of the storage and start wearing a few pieces most suitable for the current weather. As far as the thick blankets go, I sleep under one even in summer – I’m just that person who is always cold. But the thick blanket becomes particularly soothing when the cold air breaks in through the open windows, the wind howls outside and the rain bangs on the roof.
3. SPICE-SCENTED CANDLES
Candles are amazing for creating any mood in any time of the year. But the spice-scented candles like pumpkin spice or cinnamon are the best in autumn. They are so warming and soothing in the evenings and can be energising at day. Light one in the morning before setting off to work, and it will guarantee a mood boost (just make sure you don’t forget to put it out). In the evening, dim the lights and burn a few candles, while having your bowl of butternut squash soup, wrapped in a blanket in front of the TV or with a good book, and it will help you to wind down before bed. If you don’t like cinnamon, you can try other scents that are heavy, woody or sweet, like vanilla, black plum, sandal or cedar wood, etc. They are the most grounding and calming during this time of the year. Avoid fresh and flowery scents until spring time.
4. BATHS WITH SOAKS
Another ritual, notorious for its winding down properties, is taking a warm bath with soaks like lavender or calendula. You can boost it further by using your favourite products, (again) better sweet and grounding rather than fresh and energising. Try a homemade brown sugar and cinnamon scrub by mixing 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/3 cup grapeseed, coconut, olive oil, sweet almond or avocado oil, or a mix of any of these.
5. HERBAL TEA
Tea is yet another way to nourish both the body and the soul. Switch your regular black tea to herbal teas or masala chai – they will boost your immune system for the upcoming cold season as well as help detoxify the body. They are very soothing too. I suggest chamomile if you’re not really into herbal teas, as I find it is the mildest in its taste, although I’ve seen some people fall in love with lemon and ginger infusions after transitioning away from black tea. Peppermint is quite strong but if you like mint in general, this may be the ideal tea for you.
6. SLOW DOWN
When talking about teas I can’t emphasise enough the importance of slowing down. In fact, the art of drinking tea teaches us just that – you can’t enjoy it otherwise. Autumn is a beautiful season and you can’t enjoy it to the fullest unless you make the effort to slow down and appreciate it. Just like the summer and everything else, it will be gone before you know it. Why waste this precious time?
7. REFLECT AND CREATE
Autumn is also a season of change, and as such, it is probably the most dramatic season of them all. I think the full cycle of the seasons teaches us about the stages in our lives that every single thing and person have to go through – the inception, growth, maturity and withering before rebirth, or the birth of something new. If you pay attention, fall teaches to reflect on what has been and to let go. And by letting go we create space for something new. This is the time of making peace with the past and unleashing your creativity to move into the future. Use this time to your heart’s content, write, create art. Do anything that will allow you to release the stagnant, toxic feelings and help your soul rebuild itself.
8. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
To truly celebrate the beauty of the season of change try to get out as much as possible, weather permitting. Go on nature walks and hikes. The world is magnificent at this time of the year. We just sometimes need to open our eyes to see it.
9. WEAR COLOUR
There are a lot of colours associated with autumn, some bright, others more muted. Colours are very helpful at creating mood and are also a form of therapy. Did you know that certain colours affect our brain and mood beyond the common ‘green means happy, red means angry’ association? The very autumn colour is orange and it is a happy, energetic colour, while colours like muted purple and burgundy may be more grounding and warming. Use the colours to get the most out of this season.
10. START A NEW HOBBY
Hobbies are a great way to relax and distract yourself from the daily rut. There are plenty of hobbies you can start today and plenty of activities you can do in autumn. Knitting would be my favourite thing to do in autumn. I do not really knit in other times of the year. I also tend to write way more during this time. I used to write a lot of poems when I was younger but now they mostly come to me in autumn. Crafts are a very autumn-y pastime if you ask me, especially if you craft something that you can decorate your house with.
There are so many other things to do, so many things that just scream AUTUMN – like apple pies and apple ciders, denim skirts, cowboy boots and hats, checker shirts in brown and maroon shades, collecting yellow leaves and picking fruit and veg in orchards. I make a bucket list for autumn every year to make sure that I don’t miss out on activities I love doing the most during the months of fall.