My Self-Care Methods As The Nights Draw In

We’ve had the summer, those long, light days and now it’s dark by 8pm. Those daylight hours are on a downward slope from here now.

But this year, I’m actually ready for autumn. September felt like a fresh start – although of course, managing COVID-19 is proving no mean feat at the moment (get the track and trace app set up people).

As those nights draw in, seasonal affective disorder is common. You might find that your mood drops, especially as you are no longer being woken up by light streaming through your window (even if it did wake you up pretty early some mornings). Instead it’s a blaring alarm.

I’m a morning person and I’ve talked about that before. But getting up in the dark isn’t really fun is it?

Right so let’s chat some self-care.  Self-care in summer could be a walk, sitting out with a book, breakfast outside or a drink to watch the sunset. But as the nights draw in = more time spent indoors.

There are barriers to self-care, one’s that we don’t even realise. Life feels a bit busy, stress creeps in, overwhelm takes over and the next thing is lying awake at night overthinking. The possibility of burn out here is real. So my self-care methods for the next few months are going to be centred around preventing that, with sleep, connection and organisation.

VIDEO CALLS. If anything positive can be taken from 2020, it’s how much I value connection with the people I’m close to. In the midst of lockdown, virtual communication was paramount. Who else had at least a weekly quiz? (I still have no additional general knowledge from this ‘era’). But as I’ve recently graduated, I’ve gone from living with my friends at university to them being across the country – video call is a key point of call for staying in touch, especially in the evenings as that would have been prime time for dinner together and watching The Chase.

SETTING MY FITBIT ALARM. This is slightly unhelpful if you don’t have a ‘smart’ watch. But I do know that if you have a FitBit, there is a ‘Smart Wake’ function. It’ll wake you up at the best time within the half an hour of when you want to wake up – ie. 7.41am is set, smart wake will operate between 7.11 and 7.41 to wake you up when your brain is most active. I’ve given it a go a few times and to be honest, I did feel better – much better than jolting awake to the sound of a loud alarm.

USING THE SPOTIFY SLEEP TIMER. I’ve got to admit, this was a game changer. I don’t think it’s new, I’m just late to the party with this one. But it’s working well, I’ve used it quite a lot during the summer and I think it’s going to make all the difference in these colder months for winding down in the evenings before sleep. The simple ‘sleep’ playlist is my favourite, put it on for 30 minutes and I drift off.

BEING PREPPED FOR THE NEXT DAY. It’s an anxious time and at times, I do feel pretty overwhelmed. But getting things prepped and in order is one thing that I do have control over. It’s simple things like setting out clothes to do a workout in the night before or making a ‘to-do’ list in the evenings for the next day. It gives the brain that bit longer to switch off.

TRANSFORMING YOUR ENVIRONMENT. I’m a ‘tidy space, tidy mind’ kind of person so that plays a part in making my environment relaxing for the cosy evenings. But it’s all about making it right for you, what’s going to make you switch off in the evening? Multiple blankets? I’m with you on that one. Fairy lights? Yep I agree with you there too.

So, now I’ve talked through mine, what are you putting to the top of your ‘self-care hierarchy’ during the autumn/winter months?

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