How do you stay cosy and keep your emotions warm when it’s cold outside?
Whilst at work last week, I did my ‘focus’ on uplifting Christmas products and those with neroli (an ingredient proven to stimulate serotonin) and my good friend Hannah showered me with a fact I did not know and had never even thought about.
We were discussing Seasonal Affective Disorder and though I am not a sufferer, I am a sufferer of other mental health issues and it has been known for them to drastically worsen at this time of year (and I’m not going to lie, the past week has been a week in which the decline has already been evident). Hannah, knowing of this personal decline and generally of Seasonal Affective Disorder (and how many non-sufferers frequently will experience symptoms of SAD) mentioned a scientific fact about why SAD and general mental health decline is likely to exist.
Disclaimer: This may not be the case for everyone, but it is a scientifically proven chemical imbalance.
When the sunshine is around us, human skin can produce a significant amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps you produce serotonin. Serotonin helps you to be happy (or for some people, regulates their mood to ensure they’re simply not-unhappy). It is a proven fact that in winter, you are not likely to be as happy because there is less sunlight.
It’s a simple link, and it makes so much sense.
Regardless, autumn is by far my favourite season, especially on the border of winter. The end of October/November is my favourite part of the season. As mentioned above though, my mental health is not exactly… wonderful.
So, I need to be comfortable. In a previous post I wrote what comfort means to me, but not how to obtain such comfort and coziness, especially in these darker times, so here is a little guide for you on how to stay cosy in the cold:
- Take a nice, warm bath. Said bath is preferable with a Lush bath bomb. My ultimate comfort bath bomb is ‘Christmas Sweater’, one new to this year. It’s filled with cinnamon, mustard and coriander, and it’s truly just the definition of comfort to me. It’s a super warm, spicy scent with a red, orange and yellow colouring, so it screams autumn, and it how I self care.
- Make yourself a huge mug of chai latte. As a vegan, I buy ‘drink me chai’s FREE FROM chai and make it with a dash of coconut milk and I promise you, it’s the most gorgeous thing you will taste in centuries.
- Grab yourself a good book! I’m currently reading the very themed ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith, but usually otherwise would pick up something by Austen or Shakespeare for a re-read, or some poetry is good, too.
- Cosy yourself up in a huge jumper. I spent a ridiculous amount on jumpers last month, and I have two favourites. This mustard yellow high-neck with flared sleeves, from primark: and this beautiful one I got from a vintage shop in Leeds! I actually am also desperately in need of ‘Keep it bright’s ‘Autumn nights’ sweater. It is so beautiful!
- Or a cardigan I wish I could say this was mine, but my grandma knitted it for herself and won’t let it out of her sight… mostly because she knows I’m likely to steal it!
- Plan an autumn activity for your day off: Yesterday, I went to a pumpkin patch! My grandma said it was only for children, but I protested and it was an amazing experience
- Plan something more ‘low-key’ with your friends for days off or evenings. If I’m honest, I’m constantly tired. A Disney film and cuppa will do me good! Last year I spent a fair portion of my time at my good friend Saskia’s and we’d make ginger mochas and watch call the midwife or the great British interior design challenge. It was comforting, but didn’t require a lot of effort (which was good news as at the time we had a hell of a lot of work to do) and a good autumn activity.
- Take a step back. I have retreated to my grandparents for the past few days as I have had them off work, and I think I would have gone (more) insane if I was at home. Having a little place to retreat, have no responsibilities for a few days and just… do nothing or do things, get back and be able to chill, is amazing. Being at home can sometimes just cause a lot of stress and make me feel hopeless so I really needed this break.
- Be outdoorsy; Stare at the stars. Go on a woody walk. Just sit in a park for a bit. Anything. Just appreciate the world around you and serenity will follow, I promise.
I have found these to provide me with comfort and it’s really all I’m holding onto at the moment. Going through a rough patch in your favourite season isn’t great, but I have still found ways to appreciate it, and hope these help you stay on top of your mental health this autumn.