Summer is well and truly behind us, and for many this means the best part of the year is over. Those who live for the hottest months, for barbecues and outdoor picnics watch the days shorten and the leaves fall with sadness, but there is a lot to enjoy about the season, and research from Norway suggest that focusing on the specific opportunities the colder months afford you may help you to build a more robust sense of mental health if winter is challenging for you.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the ways you can enjoy the autumn in Britain, even when it’s cold and wet!
Enjoying the Outdoors
You don’t have to come indoors and stay there just because the temperature drops a few degrees. Choose the right clothes (layered, breathable fabrics to insulate against the cold, with a waterproof outer layer to protect you from the rain) and you’ll find so much to enjoy in parks, heaths, commons and even just up and down your street.
Try looking up seasonal calendars, and spotting some of the changes that really make autumn, from the times leaves on different trees change to migrations of animals that leave here for warmer climes in the winter – or that come here to shelter from their own colder climates.
One thing to check, especially if you’re responsible for young children, is if you know how to answer the question ‘how do you test for dehydration?’ We think of dehydration as a summer problem, but it’s just as much a danger in winter, so ensure you have bottles of water – or hot drinks in thermos flasks – to keep it at bay.
One great way to stay in touch with the seasons, and recognise the opportunities and distinct character of each one is to cook seasonally. Look for what’s fresh at the greengrocer, and build recipes and meal plans around the vegetables coming into season. Look for meal ideas that flatter not just the ingredients but also the weather of the season – foods that sustain you in the cold.
When the weather really is too bad to venture out, and the nights get longer, look for the opportunities that staying in can afford you. Crafts are a great way to spend time constructively, making you feel like you’re practicing a skill and making presents, useful objects or simply beautiful things, rather than aimlessly flicking through Netflix again.
Finding ways to spend time that feels meaningful in a season where your usual options are curtailed is a vital way to sustain yourself and tend to your mental health if you find the season challenging. If crafts aren’t inspiring you, you could try learning a language, joining a book club or even writing your own novel!