Embrace the autumn feeling of October and learn how to live seasonally
Late September marked the Autumn Equinox, the mid-way point between mid-summer and mid-winter. There is a discernible energetic change at this point in the year. In contrast to the yang energy of spring and summer, autumn and winter are energetically yin. In nature this is a time of rest and restoration; animals hibernate, trees lose their leaves, it becomes darker.
This time of year has a special beauty in providing us with space to turn inwards. After the action and events of the summer, we have space to take stock internally.
Though this natural energetic tendency to slow down exerts a strong pull, the demands of modern life can often feel stronger. There can also be a sense of lethargy at this time of year. This makes it really important for us to look at ways to manage our personal energy.
You don’t have to go full Mari Kondo, but it’s worth taking stock of your physical environment to arrange it in a way that supports you.
Go through your clothes, putting away summer clothes and donating anything you no longer use or need. Rotate your wardrobe so that your warmer clothes are easily accessible.
You’ll likely be spending more time indoors in the coming months so make your space as cosy as possible. Introduce some seasonal accents into your home. This can be done easily and affordably with flowers, plants, and the use of colour in accessories. Candles and interesting lighting work particularly well at this time of year.
Tuning in to your energy
Most of us have daily energetic patterns. You might have more energy in the first part of the day, or maybe it takes you a few hours in the morning to become productive. To attune to your energy patterns keep track over a week or so, reflecting on how your energy fluctuates throughout the day.
Read more: 5 ways to become mindful in nature
As much as possible try to align your schedule to your natural energy pattern. It saves a lot of frustration. Do your most valuable work at the times of the day that you are most energised. Save low-value tasks for the time of day that you are more lethargic. Batch admin tasks, which need to be done but don’t require a lot of creative energy or brainpower, for these times. On the flip side try not to let those tasks eat into the time you’ve set for your most important work.
Keep your energy in mind when setting up meetings and calls. If you have a big project or deadline make sure that you are leaving realistic windows to accomplish larger pieces of work.
How you start and end your day
Being conscious of how you start and end the day can really affect your energy. Our tendency is often to stay in bed until the last possible moment and to fall into bed at night expecting to sleep straight away. Change that up and bookend your days with personal rituals you enjoy. These don’t have to be complicated. In the morning think about what would energise you for the day, and in the evening think about what helps you to wind down.
You could incorporate movement, meditation, massage, bathing, special drinks or anything that is personally nourishing. Create something which really supports your current life situation. To make your rituals practical and achievable think about how much time you want to allocate and design around that. If you’re not a morning person set up everything you need for the morning the night before so that you can start effortlessly when you wake up. In the evening be mindful of disengaging from activities early enough to have time for your personal ritual.
Read more: 3 ways to prevent manic mornings
If you’ve told yourself you don’t have time to consciously start and end your day really think about that. It’s akin to playing sport without a warm-up or playing music without tuning your instrument. It doesn’t usually go too well. If your tendency is to emphasis “productivity” without self-care reflect on how that’s working for you.
Activities that nourish you
Energy can flag when life becomes too routine and mundane, so prioritise making time for activities you really enjoy. We’re talking soul food here. Focus on the things that give you a feeling of flow and things that really inspire you. Whether that’s a pottery class, a gig or a show or getting together with friends. Avoid thinking about these things as an optional bonus at the end of a long to-do list. After all these things are what makes everything else worth it.
Managing your energy is a very personal thing which requires trial and error, and the ability to change your approach as your life changes. Gift yourself the space to explore what nourishes you and notice the effect it has on your life.
Gráinne Conroy is a yoga and barre teacher based in Dublin. She hosts a monthly Full Moon yoga practice at The Calm Rooms in Monkstown. Her regular public classes are at Oslo Health and Yoga Dublin. More information about Gráinne is available here.