Thriving in Autumn

Trees changing colour, Halloween, Bonfire Night, hearty soups, Strictly, hot chocolates, bobble hats, fungus, muddy walks, onesies at teatime, log burners, candles, fairy lights….

These are all things people tell me they love about autumn and all things I would happily swap to have spring and summer all year round.

The clocks changing in October strikes fear into me. I dread short days and gales. While I can appreciate the colours and light in autumn, I don’t understand why people get so excited about this brief precursor to winter. To me, it feels like everything is dying: the trees lose their leaves, the grass stops growing, the days give up early, the year is running out…

Every year I count down the days from October until spring, but this year I decided I wanted things to be different. I want to be equally happy all year round and so it calls for a mindset overhaul. I need to learn to embrace autumn and even winter, without escaping into Elf and chocolates in November, and a ski resort in January. As that’s not acceptance: it’s escapism and comes at a cost.

Taking on advice from autumn fans, I have found there are ways and means of making a hardened resister, like me, develop an appreciation, and even enjoyment, of this time of year:

-        Accept that autumn and winter needs to happen. We all need to rest, even nature. Trees and flowers die back and prepare for spring and we can emulate them. It’s good to have some down time, which brings me to my next point.

-        Having formerly refused to buy into the hype about hygge, I realised that my contrariness was leading me to miss out. The Danes endure harsh winters and remain one of the happiest nations in the world, so it’s worth taking some tips from the masters. I’ve cosied up the lounge and enjoyed some on trend activities, like colouring and journalling.

-        I’ve really taken note of what’s going on in nature and this has been heartening. Some of the autumn sunrises and sunsets have been truly sensational. Because I’ve made a point of noticing, I’ve seen how the light is beautiful in the late afternoon and marvelled at the colour of the leaves. I’m surprised at how powerful this appreciation has been for my state of mind.

-        Although hygge is all about hunkering down indoors, too much of this leads to cabin fever and it’s much more enjoyable to get cosy after exposing yourself to the elements. I prefer going outside when it’s not raining, but equally I haven’t let inclement weather put me off. I’ve found that if you come home cold, wet and muddy it does make you feel quite gnarly and proud of yourself. Cycling has definitely raised the endorphins and seen me through the last few months.

Autumn is still my third favourite season, but I’ve realised I no longer need to dread it. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to listen to the Strictly theme tune without coming out in a cold sweat. Now we have the respite of the festive season, before seeing what January brings.

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