As a welcome calm descends upon us, this season is the perfect time to check-in. Journal, reflect on the year so far, and cultivate health and well-being as we journey towards the early nights and darker months of winter.
For me, Autumn represents Hygge, the time to walk through crunchy leaves, wrap yourself in soft blankets, read a good book, sip on warm fragrant teas.
I've noticed, how busy we all are, working so hard this year, I think there is a struggle, naturally, we want to slow down a little in Autumn, but perhaps life doesn't let us. The to-do lists feels never-ending, pressures feels big and minds are busy. the tug of war feeling real and rather wearing. At least, that's been my experience this year.
Hard to pronounce, hygge ("hooga") is difficult to explain, too. In brief, hygge is about taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about - or even by yourself - to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.
The word hygge dates back to around 1800, at least in the meaning it has today. However, various definitions of hygge can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where a similar Old Norse word meant "protected from the outside world."
TIME TOGETHER OR ON YOUR OWN, WITH NO AGENDA.
In a world that's hyper-focused on results, achievements, goals, and getting s**t done. It can be quite freeing to plan some time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, without goals or motivations.
Here are some ideas:
Meet a best friend for coffee and a walk through autumn leaves, take in the colours, and sip on hot chocolate. Take a moment to stop and appreciate your environment and how safe and calm you feel with this person. Perhaps take time to ask each other deeper questions, ponder life, and share.
Make time for yourself, it's rather crazy, but if you're often a busy person, book out 'nothing time' for yourself. A whole afternoon off one weekend, and do simple things that bring you pleasure, potter around your home, drink tea, read a book, journal, draw.
share a meal, this doesn't need to be extravagant. in fact, the simple delight of sitting with people you love and sharing food can be very special. Place small pretty candles on the table, go slow, talk, and play cards. This practice is all about truly connecting and slowing down.
THINK SOFT, COMFORT AND COSY.
You don't need to spend loads of money on Hygge paraphernalia. But you could treat yourself to an item or two that makes you feel very cosy and relaxed.
Candles, try to go for natural soy or coconut wax candles with aromatherapy oils and cotton wick, they are a bit more, but don't affect your hormones and lungs like traditional paraffin wax. Choose a scent that allows you to feel truly relaxed.
A soft blanket. I love a blanket, I've probably collected a few too many over the years, but I couldn't live without them.
A warm, soft, oversized jumper.
A beautiful journal or note book.
GET INTO NATURE THIS AUTUMN.
It goes without saying really that the colours found in nature during these months are stunning, joyful and lift your spirits.
It's my favourite time of year to head to the woods, I love wrapping myself up, putting on my waterproof boots and having a long walk.
Set yourself quiet moments while on the walk to stop and notice 3 things, a sound, slight, contrast, colour, leaf, animal....
if you're in a group or with children, look for beautiful leaves along the way, pick up a few and make a collage afterwards! You can also peg your leaves to a piece of string and hang them in a window so they catch the light.
Plan a day walking trip, perhaps add in a cafe or pub with a cosy fireplace to break up the journey and rest tired legs.
AND OF COURSE, FIND A RESTFUL PRACTICE.
For me, my favourite practices this time of year are yin yoga, nidra and full deep immersive soundbaths.
I'm running wonderfully restorative yin yoga every Thursday night from 7pm,
a class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, and lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer. Yin is almost entirely passive, although some Yin asanas contain Yang elements. For me, this is a mindfulness practice, drawing on compassion and kindness to leave you feeling held, restored and light.
Meditation and Nidra is also the perfect way to feel calm and rested, it is a later class, but the perfect thing to do to aid a deep nights sleep. Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation also known as “yogic sleep” or “effortless relaxation”. It’s usually practised lying down with a teacher guiding the session. The practice draws our attention inwards, and we learn to surf between the states of wakefulness and sleep, often following a clear order of audible queues, you'll be led through a body scan, breath practice, and visualisation. Perfect if you struggle with anxiety and sleep.
Take time to slow down if you can, even if that means planning it into your week and setting a reminder.
"Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him."