Coping with the new normal this autumn

How to boost positivity and practice self-care during the changing of the seasons in the strangest of years…

October, for some, isn’t a simple case of pumpkin-sprinkled fun. For many, the colder climes and darker nights can be mood altering, especially in light of the lingering lockdown measures and social distancing rules.

We want to help you make your autumn and winter as positive as possible and have come up with these tips to support a sunnier mood.

Look after your mind
Whilst all the physical efforts we’re making to maintain good health (sanitising hands, keeping our distance) are imperative for the safety of all, we all need to ensure our minds are not forgotten along the way. Ensure that, every single day, you spend time doing something that supports positive mental health. Enjoy the outdoors and fresh air at least once a day and invest in a mindfulness app; The Independent has created a great round-up of the best of them and one of the LK team – who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety – swears by the Calm app during those overwhelming moments.  

Look after your body
When the weather turns, it’s all too easy to reach for blanket, TV remote and a comforting, sugar-laden snack. Mood wise, this sort of food initially hits the spot, but the resulting slump will leave you feeling fatigued and fed up again. We don’t recommend forgoing sweet stuff, quite the opposite, we’ve fallen in love with Bounce Nut Butter Filled Protein Balls, which taste almost too good to be true. These delicious balls of everyday energy are available in a series of are-you-sure-they’re-good-for-you flavours, but our favourite is salted caramel, which is more moreish than you can imagine! The balls are high in fibre, high in protein and gluten-free. Even better news? Despite tasting like a guilty pleasure, they only contain 160 calories. If you don’t feel like cooking or making breakfast or lunch, these as-good-as-a-meal balls will fuel your walk in the park, boost your mood (low blood sugar is no friend of the blues) and are neatly packaged to fit in your pocket or bag. Priced just £1.50 and available to buy at Holland & Barrett, Tesco, Waitrose or the Bounce online store.

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Look after your social life
With restrictions still firmly in place, it’s easy to throw your hands up and resign yourself to more weeks, even months, of isolation and, with your mood low, feel like giving up on making any effort to maintain social ties. But we’re telling you loudly and firmly, don’t give up!  

If you prefer to stay home, start accepting those invites for online quizzes and bingo nights. Remember that friend who said they were there for a chat if you needed a listening ear? Call them, they’re most likely feeling exactly like you. Write letters, send emails, comment on socials – just keep connecting.

If you’re confident being out and about, arrange a walk or outdoor lunch. After months spent largely inside, it might feel like a herculean activity, but once you’re out and reconnecting, your perspective will quickly change.

Promise to embrace autumn
Make a pledge with yourself to enjoy the forthcoming seasons, to make them as memory filled as you can in the circumstances. And, if you really want to push the boat out, yes, decorate the house with Halloween-themed items… you’re never too old for that.