Autumn is a great time to reset. Summer’s hazy evenings are behind us, September has given us that ‘back-to-school’ vibe and we’re not yet on the mince pie attack.
As Leah Steele, burnout coach at searchingforserenity.co.uk says: “My clients often end up doing everything for everyone over the busy summer months, whether that’s for their kids or filling in for holidaying colleagues.”
“The autumn is a great time to recharge, because there’s less pressure than over summer or at Christmas, we’re all back to work, and we’re all focused. We should use this time to get more aware and curious.”
Steele asks that even her busiest clients get a mindful meditation practice going now, as a super-effective way of becoming more aware of your surroundings.
“The simplest thing that I advise my clients do if they’re getting overwhelmed is to make a cup of tea. It’s a silly little thing but it’s so soothing to have methodical steps to take, and to make a conscious effort to notice the colours and aromas all around you,” she adds.
We’ll drink to that. Here’s five more ways to stay chilled and productive during the new season.
Bring the outside in
Maintain summer’s sense of freedom and light by decking out the house with greenery, even if you haven’t a garden to speak of. Plants have been proven to improve mood, clean up air and enhance concentration.
Try potted plants or small trees, a bunch of colourful flowers, or quickly brighten your workspace with succulents.
Eat Monday for breakfast
Although a far cry from January’s deepest winter, October still brings less daylight, so there’s good reason to prep a start-of-the-week breakfast.
Keep it easy and healthy with some chopped banana, berries and slices of orange, topped with fresh yoghurt and sprinkled with chia seeds, walnuts or pomegranate.
We like Arla Skyr, an Icelandic style yoghurt that’s high in protein and low in sugar, to get in on that Nordic health hype. Start your week strong and show Monday who’s boss.
Streamline your morning
With school, work and everything else, mornings can feel a little fraught. An easy way to inject a bit of order into your day – without added stress – is to get everything ready for the next day the night before.
Chuck leftovers into Tupperware for lunch, check the weather and decide your outfit and pack the school bags and briefcases at 7pm instead of 7am. Come morning, you’ll be good to get up and go.
The writing’s on the wall
Autumn is a good time for new projects and goals, and how better to keep on top of everyone’s movements than with a whiteboard on the fridge? Divide a magnetic board however you like – activities, jobs, family members, days of the week – and add stickers or colourful markers every time a new task is completed.
Decide on rewards for every successful week, or simply use it to keep track of moods, wins, or areas for improvement, scoring one for a terrible day and five for a great one.
Make a splash
The end of summer needn’t mean getting back on the treadmill. Swap high-impact running for low-impact swimming and take the kids along. A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh in the States showed that new parents do less physical exercise than singles or married-but-no-kids couples, so this is a good workaround.
Plus, most leisure centres have weekend family times, so you can get them out of the house while also fitting in some movement yourself. Thirty minutes of moderate-effort swimming has been shown to build muscle, manage weight, boost mood, and improve sleep, all with no impact on your knees or other joints.