Nurturing Wellness Through Seasonal Transitions: A Guide to Beating the Autumn and Winter Blues

Amélie-avatar Amélie
March 20th, 2024 7 min

A chill in the air seems to have appeared out of thin air. Time has accelerated, you blinked and suddenly, Christmas, summer, beach and sea, … it’s now gone. School started again, the routine is setting in, it’s only March and yet… yet, you feel heavy. you might also feel a bit spent, depleted or trapped in the demands of your everyday life.

Let me tell you that you are not alone. It’s very common to feel a pull to slow down when autumn sets in. Nature does. We don’t anymore.

Before electricity and before the Industrial Revolution, life slowed down for humans as the light disappeared and the days shortened. Nowadays, technology and progress have in a way, disconnected us from nature. We’re out of touch.

As the vibrant colours of autumn set in, many of us find ourselves grappling with the seasonal blues. The transition from the warmth and light of summer to the darker, colder months can often take a toll on our mental and physical well-being. I know I do. It always feels like I hit a wall about now, physically and mentally. After having many clients and friends talk about it, I decided to look into it. Guess what? We’re not crazy, it’s a known thing.

Let’s talk about why we feel the way we do and ways to nurture our well-being for the coming months. I used to dream of having a partially nomadic life and having the freedom to chase summer all year round and then I came back to my senses… I am not made for the nomadic lifestyle; I burst into flames when I am in the sun (and being a skin therapist, I do try to hide from it), and I also stumbled upon an experiment that prevented trees from losing their leaves, and the results were fascinating. It was conducted by Dr. David Hall of the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1970s.

They injected trees with a chemical in an attempt to prevent them from losing their leaves and going dormant over winter. The idea was to maintain the trees’ foliage and keep them in a perpetual state of growth, rather than allowing them to enter their natural winter dormancy.

However, the outcome was disastrous. Instead of thriving, all of the trees subjected to this treatment died. Trees, like many plants, rely on the seasonal cues provided by changes in daylight and temperature to regulate their growth cycles. By disrupting this natural process with artificial chemicals, the trees could not enter dormancy and prepare for the harsh conditions of winter. As a result, they were unable to survive.
NB: I could not find a link to the exact study, so I can’t fact-check it, but the philosophical meaning behind it remains.

This experiment illustrates the intricate balance of nature and the importance of respecting the natural rhythms and cycles of nature.

When I found this gold nugget of information, it was an aha moment for me. Very validating. I know that you’ll point out that we are not trees. And you are right, we aren’t. but we are susceptible to nature’s cycle like any other living organism on earth. We have just disconnected ourselves from them.

However, navigating these seasonal shifts with empathy, grace, and well-being is possible.Simply read on, because as always, I have got you ❤️

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly known as the seasonal blues, is a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of year, typically during autumn and winter. Symptoms of SAD may include low energy, moodiness, oversleeping, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.

While not everyone experiences clinical SAD, many people still feel a dip in their mood and energy levels as the seasons change. It is believed to be triggered by the reduced exposure to sunlight due to the decrease in daylight hours, which can disrupt our body’s internal clock and serotonin levels. Colder temperatures, and the end of outdoor activities that provide natural sources of joy and stimulation are also believed to play a part in SAD.

You’ll likely feel the need to slow down, cozy up inside, make a bit of a cocoon, and snuggle. This is absolutely valid. I am right there with you. However, we do not live in a Hallmark movie, so what can we do?

7 Wellness Practices for Autumn and Winter

The number 7 is connected to intuition, wisdom, growing self-awareness, spiritual revelations, and big shifts that can have a positive impact on your life. That feel quite fitting for Autumn and Winter ❤️

  1. Embrace the Outdoors: Despite the colder weather, spending time outdoors can still significantly benefit our well-being. Bundle up and take gentle, slow walks in nature to soak up whatever sunlight is available. Exposure to natural light can help regulate our circadian rhythm and boost serotonin levels, alleviating symptoms of seasonal blues. I also recommend doing this without headphones in but to just be present. listen. to the sound of the leaves under you feet, look at the mirriad of hues that autumn brings and the richness of your surroundings, almost like a last hurrah before nature will mostly look to be at a stand still.
    One of my favourite thing to do to be grounded at the moment is to look up for small beautiful leaves in all colours, pick them up and at home, paint a tree trunk and branches and stick the leaves onto them. I obviously do this with my son but I enjoy it as much as he does.

  2. Prioritize Self-Care: As the days grow shorter and responsibilities pile up, it’s essential to carve out time for self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s reading a good book, taking a long bath, or practising mindfulness and meditation. Making self-care a priority can help replenish your energy reserves and improve your overall mood. My clients on a package know this and they very much look forward to their appointment in the Cocoon with me to be nurtured, pampered, restored and cocooned.

  3. Stay Active: Regular exercise is a powerful antidote to seasonal blues, as it releases endorphins and improves circulation, both of which can lift your spirits.
    Many places offer indoor workouts. Such as yoga, pilates, or dancing. If budget is tight, there are a lot of options out there. If you’re after something to bring a bit of good mood and energy into life, I love Cassey’s videos. She’s got relaxing stretching and energizing options. If you want to move with your kids, cosmic yoga has been a favourite in our household since the pandemic. I have never been able to stick to yoga, I don’t enjoy it personally, but I know people enjoy yoga with Adrienne, so if that’s your vibe, check her out.

  4. Nourish Your Body: Food, yummy food. As someone from a country where slow cookers are not a thing, I love the cooler weather to indulge in all the things you can make in a slow cooker 🥰. Try to opt for nourishing foods that support your immune system and overall well-being. Stay hydrated (as always) by drinking ample water and herbal teas.

  5. Limit sugar: Have a closer look at the amount of sugar in your diet. Sugar is known to increase the inflammatory reaction of your body which can lead to exacerbated mood swings, energy crashes and heightened anxiety. For the past few months, I was really struggling with this one so I am currently on a challenge this month where I can only drink water (sparkling or still) and tea (black). My anxiety was starting to crawl back and something had to be done. I’ll keep you poster but in two weeks, I have noticed some improvement. Maybe I should do a challenge like this soon and take you along for the ride.

  6. Cultivate Hygge: Embrace the Danish concept of hygge, which celebrates cosiness, comfort, and connection. Create inviting spaces in your home with soft blankets, flickering candles, and warm beverages. Gather loved ones for intimate gatherings filled with laughter, good food, and meaningful conversations. Cultivating hygge can foster a sense of contentment and warmth during the darker months. I try to do this at least once a week. If you’re local and you are after a moment of deep connection and meaningful moment, Georgi’s women’s circle are always a highlight in my month.

  7. Practive empathy: Have empathy for yourself; before you hold on to a thought about yourself, pause. Would you say this to a member of your family? a friend? a co-worker? a client? If the answer is no, which I bet it would be, rephrase it with empathy. instead of : “I am so lazy, I did not achieve all I should have today” maybe try “my to do list was bigger than my capacity today, how can I remember that I have less energy at this time of year?” I promise that speaking to yourself kindly will improve your mood tenfold!

Transitioning into autumn and winter can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and introspection. I love to do what I call a “sloth declutter” I do one drawer or one shelf at a time, it takes all winter, the decluttering pile gets bigger and bigger over the cooler month (I acknowledge the privilege that it is to have a garage to store the decluttering pile. If you’re in Auckland and like me, you’re great at decluttering but suck at getting it actually out of the house, you need Beks in your life with her clutter collect service.) You know what they say… a cluttered space, a cluttered mind. A cluttered mind, poor well-being.

By prioritizing self-care, staying active, nourishing your body, and cultivating moments of hygge, you can navigate these seasonal shifts with resilience, empathy and love. Remember to be gentle with yourself and seek support from loved ones or mental health professionals if needed. Your GP can also help.

As we bid farewell to the warmth of summer and embrace the crisp embrace of autumn and winter, let’s embrace how we feel, remember to slow down. A busy schedule does not equal success. A leveled nervous system does. nature rests over Autumn and Winter, and we need to too, in order to nurture ourselves through these transitions, so we can emerge stronger, more resilient, and ready to embrace the beauty of each season.

Let us cultivate moments of joy, connection, and cosiness as we journey through life’s changing landscapes.

If you’re house is all upside down because of clutter from your kids your husband, your schedule is busy and you just.need.a.break. Your next Cocooning moment is simply a few clicks away.

If you only remember one thing from this post… let it be what I say to all of my clients at the end of their appointments:
You’re strong, you’re beautiful, you’re loved, and you are enough!

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