Even though it might look like it on Instagram, autumn isn't all pumpkin spice lattes says Sarah Groves, founder and director of Feel Good Norfolk - a community of wellbeing practitioners and businesses who are passionate about helping people to be at their best.
“The colder months can be challenging in many ways," she says.
"We can often feel bombarded by illnesses, our energy may dip considerably and we can feel low and irritable without the warmth of the sunshine."
So here, seven of the collective's expert share their knowledge and insight into how we can find simple ways to feel good at this time of year.
Liz Naven – Movement and Words
The transition to winter necessitates a steady balance of rest and activity.
Shorter days, colder weather and other seasonal changes offer more time to tend to ourselves and find simplicity in the daily rhythms of life.
It’s a chance to listen and respond, to be in conversation with the body so we can sense, feel and explore what we might need.
Beyond the hibernation and the cosiness, often what we need is to rise with the sun, throw some layers on, run out the door and hear the crunch of the leaves under our feet as we continue running.
We might need to find friends who’ll motivate us to pull neoprene gloves and boots over our hands and feet, then wade into icy waters for a swim.
We might hear the call of the gym, of lifting heavy things to keep ourselves strong. Or we might follow the urge to roll out our yoga mat, to continue listening to our bodies and moving from one moment to the next.
Sometimes it’s far easier to stay in the nests of our homes in winter, lean into that when you need to.
But I would also urge you to build routines that get you outside, moving, possibly even sweating, certainly smiling; anything that involves being in community and sharing movement and conversation with others.
Tammy Parnell - Tara Hills Therapy Centre
The change of seasons, long dark evenings and cold weather can trigger low mood, and sadness and if you’re struggling with anxious feelings and overwhelm right now, you’re not alone.
It's tempting to shut others out and hide away, close the door, and draw the curtains, but actually one of the best things you can do is to concentrate on the things that you are grateful for, reach out to others, build your community and spend time with other people.
Even when you don’t feel like it, perhaps especially then.
It's a common myth in our society that if you are suffering with worries and anxiety, that you are stuck with it.
I practice Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT), a form of hypnosis which gets right to the root cause of what is going on for you, and then changes it for you.
Lisa and Izzy Webster - The Space, Burston
Autumn, for sisters Lisa and Izzy at wellbeing centre The Space, Burston, is about slowing down to a steadier pace.
The natural hibernation instinct kicks in, after a busy and sociable summer.
As introverts we embrace this opportunity to step back, hunker down and preserve our energy for winter.
A challenge for us is that we’ve both had babies recently.
Finding time on maternity leave for a growing business during a busy summer was tough, so we’re embracing this autumn’s restful pace.
Remembering our own wellbeing is vital when we’re busy.
Izzy practices yoga, finding it uplifting. This is beneficial as the nights draw in and our energy levels may drop.
Lisa loves a massage, a chance to be looked after and totally relax. A hot stone massage is the ultimate luxury as the days get colder.
Getting outside to walk is important for our mental health as the days get shorter. A blast of fresh air helps to lift our spirits, giving us energy too.
Listening to a guided walking meditation can help bring us in to the present moment.
Laura Roberts - Rock and Realm
Boosting your mood through self-care, mindfulness and improving your environment could be the key to staying happy and healthy through the colder months.
If summer is the season for socialising, then autumn is definitely the season for indulging in cosy self-care rituals and turning your home into a sanctuary of warmth and wellbeing.
You can bring the warmth and the spirit of Mother Nature into your home with crystals, houseplants and handcrafted natural materials like wood, wool and ceramics.
I recommend crystals that evoke autumnal energy such as Smoky Quartz, Aragonite and Moss Agate, which encourage a sense of stability and contentment.
And who can resist the amber glow and flickering light of candles at this time of year?
Wellbeing practices like yoga and meditation feel extra comforting when accompanied by the soft glow of candlelight and the warming aroma of palo santo wood filling the air.
Himalayan salt lamps and candles used during the evening could also improve your sleep patterns by replacing blue light with ambient light to wind down before bed.
Tap into your inner child and make a seasonal den on your sofa with masses of cushions, sheepskins and blankets for the ultimate luxurious ‘hygge’ sanctuary.
Once you’ve filled your space with snug homely delights, it’s time to retreat under a blanket, grab a hot chocolate and indulge in some quality me-time.
Craft hobbies are great to lift your mood and keep you entertained when time outdoors is restricted by wet weather or darkness.
Macrame, drawing or reading aren’t just fun ways to while away the hours though; by immersing us in a state of flow they calm our hectic minds and lower our stress levels by anchoring us in the present moment.
Amy Woods – Groove
I love the autumn! The cosy jumpers, the vibrant colours of the Earth, soups and stews, hot chocolates and golden sunsets. Yes!
I haven’t always loved this time of year though, it has been a journey of discovery to learn to appreciate, honour and harness the gifts the colder seasons offer.
Understanding more about the Celtic Wheel of the Year can help us feel more connected to the natural world and support us through the changes and transitions of the different seasons.
It helps us remember the darkest point is up to the Winter Solstice (December 21), and after that the light begins to return and the days start to get longer.
It's also the time to allow nature to be a mirror of beauty and inspiration to slow down, take stock of what is important and nurture your roots
Although the natural world slows down, in our culture the festivities begin and December especially can be a very busy and overwhelming month.
Enjoying pockets of fresh air and natural surroundings is such a boost for the immune system and all those feel good hormones.
Community is so important at this time of year. It's too easy to feel isolated, alone and depressed without connecting with other folks.
We are so lucky to have so many wonderful offerings and community gatherings in Norfolk.
To give yourself a boost indulge in some dancing, music and joyful movement. Get your favourite tunes on and dance your heart out!
Shani Ben-Aroya – Shani Bella Coaching
Shani is a breathworker and here shares a breath pattern which reduces stress and opens the lungs:
Coherent breathing means you are consciously controlling your breathing rate to five breaths per minute by inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
This balances the autonomic nervous system, which controls your “rest and digest” and “fight or flight” responses.
There is an alignment between the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) systems and synchronisation between the energy of the heart and the energy of the brain.
With regular practice, your heart rate variability typically increases, which usually indicates better overall wellbeing.
This breathing exercise is helpful for calming you down and bringing you into the present.
You can do this in silence or to the sound of gentle music you enjoy.
Breathe through the nose. Inhale and exhale through the nose. We are designed to breathe through the nose! (The mouth is a receive system for emergencies) Your nitric oxide levels will improve by breathing consistently through the nose. Nitric oxide is an important molecule for increasing blood flow and interestingly is antiviral - excellent for the winter sniffles.
Simply make a gentle whooshing sound in the back of the throat, it will sound like the ocean. Let yourself listen to the soundtrack of your own breath. Your own life force energy!
Inhale for six seconds into the belly, exhale smoothly and gently for six seconds. This places your breathing rate at five rounds of breath a minute.
Breathe into your belly. Taking the breath down into the belly helps alleviate feelings of anxiety. It will instantly make you feel better.
Sarah Groves – Feel Good Therapies
Reflexology is a great way to warm up!
This natural therapy works by stimulating points on the feet or hands that correspond to the systems and organs of the body.
It increases circulation and so, with better blood flow, not only will we feel warmer, but our body will function better.
It is a wonderfully relaxing therapy that, as with all massage, generates heat in the body and improves circulation, which can warm up cold hands and feet, plus soothe achy muscles and joints.
With the way the treatment encourages the body to release toxins it can reduce inflammation in the body, helping to ease conditions, such as arthritis, that can worsen at this time of year.
By stimulating the lymphoid reflexes, the lymphatic system can flow more efficiently and immunity is strengthened. Also, with regular reflexology, sleep may be improved.
Many people can experience some form of ‘winter blues’ at this time of year which can be due to less exposure to sunlight during the darker days.
Without the stimulus of the sun a significant part of the brain, called the hypothalamus, can stop functioning properly and this can cause an increase of melatonin (the hormone which makes us feel sleepy) and a decrease of serotonin (the hormone which regulates mood, appetite and sleep).
Reflexology is a great way to work the endocrine (hormonal) system to stimulate and balance where needed.
It can be a fabulous energiser and mood enhancer, not only because of how we can work so intricately and inwardly with the body, encouraging and promoting its own healing capabilities, but also because it feels good!
To find out more about the Feel Good Norfolk community visit feelgoodnorfolk.co.uk