It’s warm here. You can feel the chill in the air, if you poke a toe out from under the duvet, or reach for your phone to check the time. It’s early, but not too early. A cup of coffee is calling, but it’s too warm to drag your body out from under the covers. And yet…
The sun is creeping in from under the blind, and you can hear a robin. The dog is stirring downstairs, and you can sense it’s the kind of Autumn day where at this hour, the light is golden and the air crisp. Multitudes of different coloured, different shaped leaves and berries pattern the view, and cobwebs covered in dew strew the hedgerows like early Christmas decorations.
The outdoors is calling you. Warm, cosy, tucked up in bed, you fight the opposing urges. Stay in, or get out. Stay warm, or get delightfully, contrastingly cold. You know you’ll feel great after getting out, but the unmotivated side of you could just turn over and sleep all day. It’s so difficult to find motivation, especially in Autumn or Winter when the darker days and colder weather begin to have a real effect on mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing; as the Vitamin D we absorb from the sun lessens, and our serotonin levels are depleted, many of us may feel a little more depressed than usual. This makes dragging oneself out from under that comforting 12 tog cocoon even more of a challenge.
However – if you can muster the strength, the rewards will be immense. Go down to see the dog, give him his breakfast and a stroke, (stroking animals is another thing shown to ease depression). Drink that coffee, wrap up warm. Put on an extra pair of socks, don your hat and gloves, grab the dog lead.
Open the front door and take a deep breath, that smell, that cold, crisp air with the background woodiness of fallen leaves. The light is golden, your breath and the dog’s create clouds of steam in the air as you breathe out. The robin flies up from its position on the hedge as you take the first few steps out into the day, feeling the earlier slump of depression lift a little as the sun hits your face with the dying warmth of the season. One foot in front of the other, feeling your limbs loosen and your muscles warm as your system begins to thank you for making the effort. Let your body soak up that Vitamin D, let the endorphins flow as you exercise, and walk mindfully. Breathe. Listen. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Notice the little details, the variety of flora all around you, the birds, the colour of the sky. Focus on how your feet feel on the earth.