The end of September, beginning of October sees a real shift in the seasons. It feels like the start of a new phase; the crisp cooler air carries with it the prospect of exciting times ahead.
With the children back in the full swing of school, where we thought that we may have a little more time for ourselves and more freedom, quickly goes by the way side. Days pass in a blur, as we juggle work, children and home life. Any thoughts of self-care can go out of the window and stress levels often take over. Mix that treadmill of life with shorter day light hours and grey skies and it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel exhausted.
Now is the time for nurture and comfort. For eating nourishing meals and looking after our mental wellbeing.
When I feel that my life balance is being tipped towards overwhelm, I’ve learned to acknowledge it and act on it. For me this means embracing creativity, bringing colour into the house by making decorations, displaying Autumnal branches, getting outside as much as possible, cooking and baking with lots of warming spices. All of these activities add up to making me feel comforted and secure. For me this is living a restorative life.
I love the warmth of Asian food when I feel as though I need a food hug. My recipe for poached chicken ticks all of my self-care boxes. It’s easy to prepare, fills the kitchen with the aroma of heady spices and is so warming and nourishing to eat.
I like to add extra ginger and Five Spice to the finished stock. It makes a perfect gingery broth to help ease the symptoms of a Winter cold.
This time of year, I feel a real sense of needing to gather together, make and prepare, get ready to hunker down, get cosy and snuggle up as the inevitable shorter days and longer nights draw in. Halloween is the perfect excuse to gather together materials to make decorations for the house and to prepare some unusual party food! See the Halloween post to get some quick, easy and healthy spooky treat ideas!
Exercise is a great immunity booster, helping us ward off winter bugs. As well as being great exercise, walking is also a perfect stress reliever. I use my dog walks for creative thinking and for taking time for Mindfulness. By consciously taking in my surroundings and deliberately bringing my awareness back to the moment in time, my brain gets a break from overthinking and ruminating. Negative mind chatter disappears and when it does come back I’m able to let it pass me by without dwelling. Among the many lasting benefits to practising mindfulness are:
An increased experience of calm and relaxation, less likelihood of experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, addiction or low immune efficiency and having increased self-confidence and self- acceptance.
Even if the prospect of a rainy, November morning isn’t tempting, take on board the wise words of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Get your waterproofs on and go for a stomp. The seasonal colours and dynamic skies of Autumn make this a perfect time of year to try a mindfulness walk!
I’ve been inspired by “Anna Jones - The Modern Cook’s Year,” this Autumn.
It is well worth a read with beautiful photography and gorgeous recipes. I’ve cooked (and been addicted to) her recipe for Breakfast Kheer, an Indian rice pudding. Kheer is used in the Ayurvedic tradition to balance the system during winter. Click here for my warming Chai porridge, inspired by Anna’s Kheer recipe. By using chunky jumbo oats, the porridge will have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and will keep you fuller for longer. Porridge and instant oats have been rolled flat so that they cook faster. This makes them easier to digest but they get into your blood stream as quickly as white bread! The Chai spice mix has anti – inflammatory properties from the turmeric and ginger. Cinnamon may help to control blood sugar levels and ginger helps with digestion and could help to relieve cold symptoms. Best of all, it tastes delicious, perfect for a November morning.
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is”.
I found this quote in, In The Moment magazine, a perfect message for restorative living!