Beat the Autumn Blues
Well, it’s here again. What Keats called “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” but could perhaps be better – if less poetically – described as “months of sweeping up leaves and never seeing daylight”. It doesn’t feel like we’ve even had much of a summer at all and suddenly it’s about 10 degrees colder and it seems like the sun never comes up.
Surely I can’t be the only one who, as soon as the clocks go back, just wants to climb under a 15 Tog duvet and set the alarm for April?
So, for fellow sufferers of the Autumnal blues, here’s a few hints and tips to help you make it through to the Vernal Equinox. Or, as it’s better known, March 20th – the first day of Spring.
Practice good “sleep hygiene”:
Succumb to the urge to hibernate by establishing a night time routine, start to prepare for bed an hour or so before actually doing so. Turn off the TV, walk make a warm milky drink such as Horlicks, walk the dog if you have one then perhaps have a bath before going to bed.
It’s not a good idea to have a TV in the bedroom –TV’s and other devices such as tablets and smart phones emit a type of “blue” light which actually keeps you awake. Despite being small, phones are actually the worst because we hold them so close to our eyes. Reading a book or magazine on the other hand, will actually help your mind to relax. Try setting a target of a certain number of pages or chapters before settling down.
Establish a morning routine:
It’s hard to get going on these dark mornings so try to establish a routine by setting the alarm for a regular time, getting straight out of bed to shower then having a tea or coffee with a light breakfast – too much food early in the day can make you feel sluggish. A favourite saying of an old colleague of mine was “Action precedes motivation” in other words, the best way to get going is just to get going! If by any chance we’re having one of those occasional clear, bright autumn days, why not wrap up well and get out for a brisk walk; ideally in the park or a local beauty spot?
Lots of comfort food:
Nothing lifts my spirits more than a hearty stew with dumplings and some roasted vegetables. Cook the meat long, low and slow – 150 degrees for 3-4 hours – with plenty of gravy and covered to stop it drying out. Add the dumplings for the last 30 minutes and turn up to 180, roasting some carrots and parsnips sliced lengthways in a shallow tin with a couple of tablespoons of oil at the same time.
Also, why not make a big pan of vegetable soup and freeze individual portions in margarine tubs or similar. That way, when you don’t feel like cooking, you can just put some in the microwave for a quick meal. To really treat yourself, try baking your own bread from one of the bread mixes available from supermarkets. Tesco sell an own-brand crusty white loaf and Wrights produce a wide range of delicious varieties, all at less than £1 each. I tend to make several buns and freeze them, or you can make a large loaf and freeze individual slices.
If you’re suffering from the blues, why not phone a friend or even visit them? Social media like Facebook helps to keep us connected, but sometimes you can’t beat a good brew and a gossip with a close friend for setting the world to rights!