Autumn is in full swing here in Hamburg, so I thought what better time to talk seasonal self-care and what I'm doing to look after myself as the seasons change. It's easy to get swept up in ideas of snuggly knitwear, pumpkin spiced lattes and cosy nights by the fire. We have such a romanticised view of autumn, until it really hits and honestly, lately I've been caught up in that. Picking up orangey-rust coloured items for my wardrobe and kicking up the golden leaves on my way into work in the mornings. Autumn has been unseasonably warm this year, but I can't help but have this niggling feeling that when it really hits, we'll be in for a shock. So now is the time to prepare, to get ready for the colder months that are coming.
As you guys know well, I'm not really made for winter. I've spent the last few years in the southern hemisphere always chasing the sun and fleeing from the cold. I love the tropical heat and coming back to the UK last Christmas was a heck of a shock to the system as we suffered the worst winter I have ever seen in England. This year, I'll be spending the winter in Northern Germany which I'm expecting to be colder and darker than anything I have previously experienced. I'm nervous, but that's why I'm taking the time now to prepare and really make sure I'm ready for when it hits. So how can you prepare your seasonal self-care routine for when the winter blues strike?
My top seasonal self-care tips
Make the most of every last sunny day
I don't know about you guys but I am super affected by the weather, I definitely have a touch of seasonal affective disorder. So to counteract this and focus on seasonal self-care, I'm making the most of every single sunny day and every bit of light. Whether it's freezing outside or raining, I always make sure to get out and get some fresh air on my lunch break by going for a walk. It does wonders for my body and mind, and trust me, you'll be glad you did when it gets so horrible outside that you're trapped in the office. Whether you're working in an office, working from home or not working at all – make sure you get outside as much as possible while the weather is still good enough. Hamburg keeps fluctuating between almost summery weather and freezing winds/rains, so on the sunnier days I will make sure to spend a day soaking up all that vitamin D.
Invest in warm, waterproof winter clothing
For when the weather does turn, it's important to invest in good boots and a warm coat to keep the cold out. Don't wait until the weather is already disgusting and you're desperate, do your research and find the best brands and spend a bit of extra money for a bit more warmth and waterproof layers. When it comes to the blustery and rainy days, you'll be glad you spent a little bit more when your feet are still warm and dry. I'm even considering getting thermal layers after seeing Hamburg in -10 back in March. Seasonal self-care means taking the weather seriously and being proactive, planning ahead and making sure your body is looked after, it's the only one we've got!
Make your home as warm and cosy as possible
This is such an important one and it really makes a huge difference. No-one likes spending time in a cold, uncomfortable room, so why not make yours as warm and welcoming as possible? Read this post for My autumn home decor inspiration. As well as adding cute accessories such as pillows, throws, fairy lights and candles to make your room/home as cosy as possible. Why not consider getting rid of any old curtains and replacing them with wooden blinds to create more of a warming, homely effect? I have wooden blinds in my room at home and in a natural wood colour, they really do make the place seem so much more cosy by candlelight. Plus I would even argue that my room felt much warmer with them than they did with thin curtains so perhaps in terms of keeping the heat in and insulating your room, they might be a better option. I've been exploring a lot of vintage markets lately and have found some amazing things, that would be perfect for accessorising your home ready for winter. Vintage is definitely a great way to go if you don't want to spend a lot but are looking for some really quirky and unique items.
Keep a well stocked cupboard
We've all been there, home late from work, exhausted and starving, just wanting a hot meal and a bath, but when you go to the cupboards there's nothing but scraps. Or even worse, when you wake up full of cold and feeling like death and find you're out of Lemsip and painkillers. That's when you know you've failed at adulting, but it's so easy to turn this around. The next time you go to the shops, stock up on all your medicines and make sure you never have a situation where you run out of cough sweets when it's snowing outside. This is the time of year everyone is getting sick, so being prepared can really help make you feel 100x better. The same goes with food, it doesn't take much to pick up a few extra bags of pasta and rice, tins of beans and to freeze a loaf of bread. Pick up a few frozen pizzas or tins of chicken soup. You have no idea how grateful future you will be to past you when you're having a terrible day and can quickly whip up beans on toast or hot chicken soup when you're poorly. Seasonal self-care is more than just candlelit baths, it's being a grown up and looking after yourself, putting your health first.
Don't be afraid to slow down and say no
It's that time of year when the end of summer parties have just finished and the festive season will soon be starting. We have a brief interlude where we can go into hibernation before being dragged back out for tequila shots and staff parties. On top of that, there's work and gym and friends and family, it can all get a little much when our bodies are starting to slow down. I don't know about you, but I had a crazy busy summer and now I'm looking forward to winding down and enjoying some time at home. Being affected by the lack of vitamin D, the darkness and cold means sometimes you just don't feel great. It doesn't mean you're ill or boring, just that your body needs rest and that's okay! Everyone may still be pushing for you to do dinner here, and drinks there, and to stay as busy as ever, but it's okay to slow down and it's definitely okay to say no. Don't feel bad for turning people down to stay home and cuddle up in the warmth watching Netflix.
Get your vitamin D fix
In fact, this doesn't just apply to vitamin D but all the vitamins and nutrients we need to stay healthy. It's easy to give in to cravings for fatty comfort food, but make sure you're getting lots of fresh vegetables as well. Always keep a stock of oranges and lemons, they're great for eating or juicing, and you can easily add a bit of fresh lemon to your drinking water or tea for a vitamin C boost. If, like me, you struggle with the lack of vitamin D as the sun shows it's face less, then make sure to stock up on the following foods to help boost your levels:
- Salmon and fatty fish such as herring and sardines
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
- Canned tuna
- Cows milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereal and oatmeal which have been fortified with vitamin D
Whatever happens, stay warm and make the most of the autumn season! It's a beautiful time of year and there's nothing better than getting out and enjoying the beautiful golden parks and pumpkin picking. Plus don't forget Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night will soon be here so a perfect opportunity to get out and embrace autumn, with a new seasonal self-care routine.
How are you looking after yourself this autumn? What are your seasonal self-care tips?