Summer, when it breaks through the clouds, has the power to bring about a whole new mindset. That boost in Serotonin can drag you from the depths of seasonal depression and thrust you into the world of sunshine and after work drinks.
Tops are off at every opportunity. Eating and drinking outside; without a coat or a blanket wrapped around your legs. Sitting in the park with an ice cold beer. Strap marks on your shoulders from a weekend spent avoiding the shade. Leaving the house without giving an umbrella a second thought. Festivals and holidays fill the calander. People smile, stop to smell the roses and plan a barbeque whenever there is an evening free.
Summer, although short lived in England, can be a spirit lifting time of year. The sunshine is like a medicine, curing people of their grumps and grudges. It’s easier to get out of bed, stay up late and leaves no excuses for hibernation. For most, the end of Summer therefore looks a little like a slippery slope. A slope that leads us back into dark mornings, muddy puddles and electric blankets.
There is loads of research about how the seasons can affect our moods and lifestyles enourmously. The weather and it’s associated activities can often dictate how we spend our time and how we feel. So, if Summer is a time in which you often feel happy, invigorated, excited, why not try and discover those feelings in different aspects of all four seasons.
Autumn does not have to imply the end of Summer; rather it is the start of something new.
If the season changes are going to affect us; let’s do everything we can to make it a positive impact.
Let’s look to nature for inspiration, move with the winds and allow them to guide us.
A tell tale sign that Autumn is on it’s was is the shredding of leaves. What could be more symbolic than leaves starting to glow orange and amber before letting go of the branch and falling softly to the floor. Take this into your own day to day. Can Autumn signify the beginning of a period of time in which you shred, let go of things that may be holding you back, or impacting your life negatively?
Like nature, we are constantly evolving and changing, exploring ourselves, never finding the best version but still moving toward something better everyday. If we look to nature during the Autumn months, we are reminded of this. It is a transitional period. Why not transition with it? It can be as simple as taking your old clothes to a donation bank. Or as serious as sitting with yourself and discovering what traits and behaviours could be shed with the Autumn leaves.
I would like to shred my impulse to do things that please others, when mostly these things do the opposite for me.
Just drop it like the leaves.
I would also like to let go of the clothes I look at every day, the clothes which I do not wear, have never worn, but always find a reason to keep them.
Float away leaves. Float away.
Food can also have a huge impact on syncing with the seasons. Eating foods that are in season is the perfect way to embrace Autumn and the changes it brings. Root vegetables like Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato. Whole grains like Oats, Quinoa and Brown Rice. Lots of Green Vegetables; Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Rocket and Artichokes. Please see the recipe below for ‘G’s Autumn Bowl’ to get you in the mood.
Serotonin is a real benefactor of the summer months. Although I’m not sure how much we actually get in the UK. But as the sun disappears, try to maintain a high amount of Vitamin D. Fatty fish like Tuna and Salmon, Cod Liver Oil, Egg Yolks and Mushrooms. (If you’re vegan, get a load of this.)
Make the most of the natural light. The air always feels cleaner to me in Autumn and Winter, so breathe it in. Go for walks where you’re wrapped up and don’t have to worry about chaffing. (I intend to do an entire blog about the privilege of having a body which does not chaff. My thighs are like a divorced couple, who hate each other and whenever they’re in the same vicinity, in a hot room, they just rub each other up the wrong way. It’s infuriating and excruciating. I for one can’t wait for Summer to be over so that my thighs can spend some time apart, separated by trouser legs and tights. Good riddance.)
It’s also the beginning of Libra season. (Excited because it’s my birthday but also because of the following…) Fun, bubbly and indulgent. Don’t feel sad because your plans no longer involve a tinny in the park or a weekend in a tent. Get excited because they will now involve soirées and intimate occasions. Venus is our ruler and love is in the air. Fall in love with yourself, with the person you’ve loved forever, with a stranger, with a new song, with a new hobby, fall in love full stop.
There is so much to look forward to… Sunday Roasts. Red Wine. Big Jumpers. New beginnings. Say Goodbye to summer not with sadness but with fondness. All the bullshit about not crying because it’s over, but smiling because it happened.
The holidays. The alfresco dining. The dancing in the moonlight. The sun kissed glow. The ocean. The heat. Love Island. It’s been a blast. Thank you for the memories. But, it’s time now to make our own heat. To snuggle down. To get cosy. To shed our leaves. To make our own orange glow. Let’s fall in love. Fireworks in the air and dew on the grass. Time to transition. Change with the seasons and you might benefit more than you thought you would.
Let’s start by getting in the kitchen:
G’s Autumn Bowl
Red Wine (For drinking.)
Music (For dancing)
1 Sweet Potato
1 Butternut Squash
A handful of Broccoli
Lots of Spinach because it disappears
Chick Peas. (Half a can)
Garlic, Fresh Chili, Paprika, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.
A bowl (For serving.)
Ready, Steady, Cook…
First things first, even before washing your hands, pour yourself a glass of something and put on anything sexy, both on the speakers and on your body.
You can now wash your hands.
Get the oven roaring at about 180c. Start by chopping up the root vegetables into bite size chunks. I keep the skin on everything apart from the Squash, completely up to you. Toss the chopped veg into an oven safe dish and glug a healthy amount of olive oil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and bung in the oven.
These should take about half an hour. Who knows though, I’m not Nigella.
If you’re using normal brown rich, start to simmer this in boiling water with a vegetable stock cube now, if like me, you’re partial to a packet rice, don’t worry about your rice until the end.
Once your veg is in the oven and your rice is on the stove (or near the microwave.) Have a sip of your drink, boogie around the kitchen and have a look around for a frying pan and a saucepan.
Pop the saucepan on a low heat with a generous splash of olive oil. As that simmers, chop or crush a garlic clove and some fresh chili. Add this to the pan, keeping the temperature low. Head over to the sink to open your can of chickpeas, drain a little of the liquid but save enough to pour into the saucepan with the chickpeas. If you’re dining solo use half of the can ensuring that you slosh a little of the juices in. (If you’re cooking for more than one person multiply all ingredients by the amount of people to ensure second helpings and lunch time leftovers.)
Toss the chickpeas in the sauce pan and add a sprinkle of paprika. As they start to brown add a few handfuls of Spinach to the pan. As this wilts, have a little look at the vegies in the oven, shimmy them around and stick a fork in them. If they are starting to go soft, add some chopped Broccoli to Boiling water (Use the water cooking the rice if this is your preferred rice method.)
Mix the spinach and chickpeas ensuring that everything in the pan is covered in garlic, chili and paprika. Season as you go.
Your rice should now have boiled, drain in the sink along with the broccoli. Packet users now is the time to pop the rice in the microwave.
Grab your bowl. Not just any bowl, use a big bowl. not your average cereal situation, I’m talking a mixing bowl, salad bowl type size of bowl. If you don’t have, use the washing up bowl?
Put the rice in first. Add a little soy sauce and mix. Now take your veg out of the oven, you probably only need half, and add to the bowl. Pop the Broccoli on one side and the Spinach-y Chickpeas on the other.
Garnish with fresh chili and a squeeze of lime and add whatever condiments you have lying around.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Sit back, relax and listen to the rain. Get a big jumper on and light a candle.