Nature is flaring up in a million colours and whilst we enjoy its brilliance, it’s a good time to set in stone some self care rituals for when the soft autumn shades have fallen into winter. 🍁
For those who embrace in nature and revel in the freedom of the summer sun, we need to protect our inner warmth before winter makes it’s way to town.
More and more people are suffering with SAD or Seasonal Affective disorder. This is a form of depression which can set in over winter.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
- more information can be found on this NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/
It’s during this season that our hobbies and routine pleasures might not be available to us as freely as they normally are. Bicycles are packed away, sports practices can be cancelled, people around us can tend to retreat inside and our socialising patterns might start to fade into the darkness.
So, in the face of this adversity, we humans need to do exactly what we were designed to do. Adapt.
We can firestart this adaptation through the practice of rituals. Rituals have been used across cultures for thousands of generations as a way of finding, creating and maintaining inner peace. They are practiced through a series of repeating activities. In today’s age, we need to make these rituals a very personal practice, filled with things we can enjoy, reflect on and be present with.
“If you want a new idea, read an old book”
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We only need to look back and learn from the coping mechanisms of our ancestors. Taking a leaf out of the ancient system of rituals, instead of running from the cold, we can try to be fully with it, engaging, embracing, divulging and loving it for everything that it is and can be.
But this pattern takes setting up, preparation and work.
Studies say it takes around 30 days for our actions to become habits, so there is no better time to start than now. Fill your seasonal self care rituals with the things YOU love. Practice them with diligence, even on the days you don’t feel like it.
Consistency is key.
To get you started with some ideas, here are some of my self care rituals…
(My favourite has to be embracing the darkness with cosy candlelit dinners amongst friends and family. The light kisses the room so beautifully and I’m sure they evoke a natural story-telling gene around the flame too!)
☀️ Morning rituals: Yoga, pranayama, meditation, visualisations, positive affirmations
🍁 Daily exercise (minimum 20 mins ).
🍃 Be in connection with nature as much as possible (Walks in the forest or by a river).
❄️ Cold showers (increase blood flow, I don’t love these but they’re good for us!).
☕️ Hot fluids (influenced by Ayurveda and my time living in China, eating and drinking warm requires less energy).
🎨 Honour what makes me feel alive By creating space and time for hobbies: creativity, writing, movement, art.
🎃 Eat local produce from the season (it’s armed with nutrients to protect us!)
🗣 Make an effort to have meaningful conversation with people around me, even strangers! (proven to increase happiness for us all)
✨ Night time rituals: candle lit dinners to celebrate the early dark nights, diary writing, reflections, incense, music, gratitude journals, copious amounts of reading from my favourite and new authors, early nights
I’d love to know, What could you turn into your seasonal self care ritual? Do you already have some? Have you ever felt SAD over winter? What helps you?