The days are getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air. And while there’s so much to love about autumn – golden leaves and snuggling up on the sofa – it can also make us feel a bit sluggish. To avoid my mood and my energy levels suffering – or indeed the effects central heating can have on my skin – I’ve compiled my tips for beating the new season blues.
Firstly, sleep is key. Which is why I try – not always successfully! – to avoid drinking too much. Don’t get me wrong, the temptation to snuggle up with a bottle of burgundy and the latest boxset is sometimes too much to resist, but I find that overindulging in booze and getting into bed late has a huge effect on my energy levels the following day. It also makes me crave coffee and sugar – a vicious cycle that I find hard to break.
As well as cutting down on drink, I also try and stick to a bedtime routine – treating myself like a newborn! An early, hot bath is a great way to wind down, and there’s two products I swear by at this time of year. Firstly, Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil (£49 for 55ml, available at www.spacenk.com ) is packed full of vertivert, a natural sedative. Sandalwood is also super comforting and helps to calm a busy mind. Secondly, I’ll use magnesium salts or flakes in the bath, which help to calm the system. Available in flake form (£2.45 for 150g from betteryou.com) these minerals are great for muscle recovery as well as aiding skin health.
I also keep a window open at night for ventilation. Its great for the skin and for you and once you’re all snuggled down under the duvet I promise you a better nights sleep. It makes me feel less groggy and helps my skin battle the effects of the central heating. And in the lead up to bedtime, I’ll light a few candles. My favourite is Neom’s Tranquillity range (starting from £30 for one wick at neomorganics.com).
My skin is often the first thing to suffer in cold weather. Biting winds and central heating amount to a dry, parched complexion. This time of year, my skin can cope with heavier products and I always keep a stash of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream (£28 for 50ml, available at elizabetharden.co.uk) on hand to combat dehydrated patches. Facial sprays are also a great product to keep in your handbag for a boost of moisture throughout the day. Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir Spray (£12 for 30ml £32 for 100ml, available at www.spacenk.com) is great for giving dull, tired skin a dewy boost. And another favourite spritz of mine is Aurelia’s Calming Botanical Essence (£42 for 50ml, or £10 for the travel size available at www.spacenk.com ) which contains probiotics to protect and balance the skin.
Though it’s not just what we use on the outside that counts. As the seasons change, I also take particular care over my diet, ensuring that I eat lots of colourful food. Vitamin C is important as cold weather sets in as it’s a powerful antioxidant that keeps our immune system in check. I get my mine by eating vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and lots of leafy greens. And for a daily dose of zinc – which the body can’t store so needs replenishing regularly – I eat hearty, warming dishes packed full of lentils and chickpeas. Nothing better on a chilly autumn night!
Lastly, pick up an Omega with Vitamin D, which is crucial as the hours of sunlight start to diminish. Vitamin D and Omega 3s are crucial for controlling the seasonal effects of darker days on our mood. Helping to boost the brain’s serotonin levels, it’s the first supplement I reach for as autumn sets in. Not to mention this kind of supplement helps to regulate blood pressure and support a healthy heart. Try these Swanson Omega-3 Fish Oil with Vitamin D capsules (£9.54 for 60 capsules, available at healthmonthly.co.uk).
So, there you have it, my guide to handling the change in seasons like a pro. Do you have any tips for battling shorter days? If so pop them in the comments box below.