Autumn Resilience Hacks: how to stay positive through the changing seasons
For many of us, autumn is a time for settling back into work and saying goodbye to long sunny days. There may be some mixed feelings. The opportunity to snuggle into a cosy jumper and watch the leaves slowly change colour is for many a time to savour. But the darker mornings and shorter days can also bring a feeling of dread. Here we provide some top autumn resilience hacks to stay positive through the changing seasons.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to survive adversity, to recover, bounce back and develop new skills along the way. These skills help us to thrive in even the most challenging situations.
In the autumn, as we adjust to the clocks changing, the colder and wetter weather, the darker days and longer nights, you might experience a dip in your resilience.
Finding ways to manage emotions, hold onto positivity and take care of yourself through these changes is key to maintaining resilience and wellbeing.
Autumn Resilience Hacks to stay positive through the changing seasons
1. Manage negative emotions
As autumn sets in, it is important to notice changes in your mood and put in place strategies to soothe negative emotions. Proven to regulate the heart rate and calm stress emotions, the slow rhythmic breathing technique is quick and easy to use in a host of situations.
Try following these simple steps:
Breathe in slowly over a count of 4 seconds
Breathe out for a longer count of 6 seconds
Pause at the end of the out-breath
You can see a demonstration of this technique in this short video.
Practising slow rhythmic breathing teaches you to slow down your breathing. The steady breathing rhythm calms sympathetic nervous system arousal, reducing symptoms of stress.
Using a visual prompt such as the blue square can be helpful in practicing this technique.
2. Hold onto positive emotions
During the summer, many people take time out, go on holiday or enjoy the company of friends and family. This is great for your mental health and wellbeing, allowing you to step back from work and reconnect with what is important in your life.
As you return to work and the normal routine, it can be easy to lose touch with the benefits of these experiences.
And yet, research shows that savouring these experiences, holding onto associated positive emotions, and remembering what is important in our lives can help to prolong those benefits.
Savouring your memories of good times by sharing stories and photos with friends and family.
Arranging activities that you can enjoy with other people as the bright days of summer fade. This will give you something to look forward to and generate positive emotions, regardless of what the weather outside is doing
Engaging in activities you find interesting. This will connect you with positive emotions such as curiosity, pride or amusement.
3. Banish the ‘Monday Blues’ with flexible thinking
Many of us experience a dip in mood at the prospect of returning to work after the weekend or a holiday. The anticipation of what’s to come and worries about meeting the pressures and demands of work can lead you into a vicious cycle of negative thinking that lowers the mood and increases stress and anxiety.
Try noticing when these thoughts arise and:
Take charge of negative thoughts by using flexible thinking. This technique will help you to put challenging experiences into perspective and view them in a more balanced way.
Develop a more optimistic thinking style by viewing negative events as:
o Temporary – “this won’t last forever”
o Specific – “this won’t happen in every situation”
o External to you – “it’s not my fault”
Flexible thinking allows you to change how you feel by changing the way you think.
Self-care is an important component of resilience. Attending to your self-care involves taking positive actions to look after yourself emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually.
As we head into the colder months and our attention turns to managing changing demands and transitions, it can be easy to forego breaks in favour of getting things done. However, doing so causes increased stress and reduced productivity. It becomes harder to make decisions and takes longer to complete tasks, leading to more overwhelm as the jobs pile up around you.
Giving yourself time to rest - scheduling down time is key to managing feelings of overwhelm.
Engaging in relaxing activities, not just at the weekend but also periodically during the day – meditation, mindfulness practice or time in nature.
Planning activities you enjoy - a hobby, spending time with a friend or watching a movie. This might feel indulgent when there are other demands grabbing your attention, but will pay dividends when you feel more energised as a result.
Looking for more proven methods to stay resilient though the tough winter months and beyond? Our Essential Resilience e-learning course provides a flexible and accessible way to learn new skills for lasting resilience.