Feeling Those Autumn/Winter Blues? Here’s How You Can Combat Them

Check out what we learned during Grazia's Wellness Week, plus tips from life coach Rebecca Lockwood...

autumn blues tips

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Oh summer, how fast you came into our lives with promise of renewed joy, sunny socialising and that chance to finally wear our (many) lockdown purchases. But almost as fast as you came, you left, leaving us - as the great Shania Twain would say - left outside alone… when it’s cold out here.

This past week, it seems as though the autumn/winter blues have well and truly caught up with everybody. Scroll through social media and you’ll see countless complaints of a summer entirely NOT well spent, as the cries of a cold coming winter are heard far and wide. But alas, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom: autumn/winter could actually be your time for a glow up.

By glow up, we don’t mean an external makeover with new clothes and a cool new hairdo (although, we’ll take those too). In fact, we mean that all important inner happiness. Step aside spooky season, October will now be known as self-care season as we cuddle up at home and take the down time to become the best version of ourselves.

‘Typically, autumn/winter blues manifests itself as feelings of low mood and sadness, low energy, low sex drive, lack of motivation and anxiety,’ says life coach Rebecca Lockwood. ‘It can also feel as though you have nothing to look forward to.’

But in fact, there could be plenty to look forward to if you embark on said self-care season. By prioritising your emotional wellbeing, physical health and overall happiness, it can actually be a very exciting time for new beginnings – particularly when you know the outcome is feeling like the best version of yourself.

So how do you do it? Well, as well as providing some of our own learnings from Grazia’s Wellness Week with Yakult, we asked Rebecca what tips she has to turn this autumn/winter season into our 2021 glow up season. So, get a pen and start scrolling, here’s what you need to do to really combat those A/W blues…

Prioritise your gut health

It’s easy to let those cold winter nights overwhelm you with desires to slump at home eating junk food. Of course, while all food is perfectly fine in moderation, maintaining a focus on staying healthy can improve your productivity, motivation and general mood in spades. Take improving your gut health, for example. During Grazia’s Wellness Week with Yakult, it quickly became apparent just how important a healthy gut is to feeling good.

Prioritising your gut health is about feeling good from within first (trust us, nothing says discomfort like an unhappy gut).

Start journaling

Outside of focusing on your physical health, prioritising your emotional wellbeing is key too.

‘Journaling is amazing at helping to reduce anxiety and prepare you for what you might face that day, particularly when done first thing in the morning.’ says Rebecca. ‘There is no right or wrong way to journal, you write down whatever it is you feel or want to write down and don’t stop until everything is out of your mind and on the paper.’

Set an intention for each day

‘Being clear on what you would like to achieve daily will help you feel more accomplished and focussed,’ Rebecca continues. ‘It could be something as simple as making someone laugh!’

Practice daily gratitude.

In our experience, positive affirmations can make a real difference to your long-term outlook and overall wellness. It might feel strange recounting everything you’re grateful for at first, and it may not always immediately improve your mood, but in the long run, just taking stock of all the positive things in your life can make a huge difference to your attitude.

‘Some days can be difficult, and we may not feel our best for whatever reason,’ Rebecca adds. ‘We can change the negativity of our energy by focusing on our gratitude and being grateful. If you are struggling with negativity, which we all do from time to time and it isn’t wrong to experience that, try focusing on the things that may come out of that negativity that are positive. For example, what can you learn from the situation to help you grow?’

Tap into yourself, literally.

‘If your autumn/winter blues are all about incoming stress, recentering yourself with deep breaths allows you to look internally for relaxation and happiness as opposed to finding an external source,’ Rebecca says. According to Harvard Medical School, she’s not wrong: breath focus is the key to quelling stress.

‘We can't avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them’, reads the Harvard Health Publishing journal. ‘One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. ‘Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations. It's especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach.’

So how do you do it? First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath: breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose if that feels more natural).

Once you've taken the steps above, you can move on to regular practice of controlled breathing. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps a focus word or phrase that helps you relax.

Don’t forget about your daily Vitamin D boost

Vitamin D is important for bones and muscles, as well as for the immune system and general wellbeing. Self-care is about looking after the full picture; physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, ensuring we get enough of the right vitamins is key to feeling our best.

The majority of our vitamin D actually comes from exposing our skin to sunlight but in the UK, we can only make vitamin D this way during spring and summer months (thanks British weather).

Luckily for you, there are some good dietary sources of vitamin D, like oily fish (try salmon, mackerel or herring), liver, eggs, some mushrooms and fortified foods like breakfast cereals, supplements or even a little bottle of Yakult Light.

Each bottle of Yakult Light not only contains the unique L casei Shirota bacteria - scientifically proven to reach the gut alive – but it’s also enriched with vitamin D and E. Yakult Light is also gluten free, fat free and suitable for vegetarians… what more could you want?

Ultimately, making sure you get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet during those cold winter months is vital to maintaining a happy, healthy immune system – and since you’ll also be so proud of the self-care Suzy you’ve become, it will hopefully improve your general mood too!

So, why don’t you give our tips a try? You might just find self-care season is your new favourite time of year.

Feeling inspired to focus on your wellness? How would you like to give your wellbeing a really big boost and win an incredible luxury spa package, all thanks to Yakult? Enter below for a chance to win!

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