Autumn wellness: tips for looking after yourself

Just like the leaves that fall from the trees, autumn is a season for transition and letting go. We naturally find ourselves slowing down in autumn, although the temptation in our western culture is to keep going at a fast pace. It’s important to remember that we are a part of nature, not apart from it. It is healthy and wise to fall into the season of fall and allow ourselves the rest and repair our bodies need at this time of year.

Autumnal fatigue can also set in at this time. It can contribute to low mood, which is common this time of year. Autumn is a great time to prioritise self-care, so here are some tips for combating fatigue, and some ideas for achieving optimal health this season.

Sleep and rest

Feel like getting cosy, keeping warm and hibernating? That’s because as we are seeing less sunlight our brain produces more melatonin – our sleep hormone. Our brain is governed by a light-sensitive circadian rhythm just like a lot of animals: we are sleepy when it’s dark and more alert when it’s light. That’s why it’s harder to wake up when it’s dark in the morning.

We often keep ourselves awake later than nature intends, with artificial light in the evenings. Think about our ancestors who used to live by candlelight, they’d all be feeling sleepier much earlier due to the darker evenings.  Some ideas to help us feel more sleepy in the evening are to reduce the bright artificial lights we are exposed to late into the night. Instead, adopt a more Hygge approach (a defining characteristic of Danish culture) by having dimmed lighting with lamps and candles. Reducing time on screens a couple of hours before going to bed will also help.

We also tend to do less physical activity as we transition into colder and wetter days. This can contribute to seasonal tiredness – as we move less, we feel less motivated.  At this time of year, it’s important to maintain a balance between the rest we need, but also keeping active so that we don’t become too passive and struggle with energy levels.

Physical and mental health

Physical and mental health are directly linked to a strong immune system. Experts advise 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, which will lift your mood, reduce stress, and improve immunity.

Stay active and go for daily walks. Natural daylight will prompt your circadian rhythm to produce less melatonin helping you to feel more awake, as well as supporting circulation which will help energise you.  Walking is also a wonderful way to be mindful. Noticing nature and the changing colours on walks can be a great exercise for staying present in your surroundings and calming a busy mind.

Even if it’s raining, getting out into the elements can be good for you. A lot of people find the sound of rain healing. Make sure you don’t get too wet though, or you’ll be more vulnerable to a lowered immune system, and catching a cold or flu. Lack of physical exercise during the day can also make us more lethargic and restless at night, making it harder to sleep.

If you struggle to motivate yourself to get out, why don’t you partner up with a walking buddy? Or you could join a local hiking group. You could even organise a charity fundraiser, as it’s a perfect time of year to raise money for those in need, just before Christmas. 


Feeling colder and more tired this time of year can be down to a combination of burnout (not resting when we need), getting sick, lack of sleep, and a poor diet.

Boost your immunity by taking Vitamin D supplements, which we lack due to less sunlight in Autumn. Vitamin D will help you feel less tired, as well as contribute to muscle function and energy, supporting metabolism. It is also an important nutrient for mood and according to researchers, supports those who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms include fatigue and depression, and sufferers have been observed to have lower levels of Vitamin D.

Give your body the best chance of fighting off seasonal flu and viruses. Increase your Vitamin C consumption, which is an antioxidant that promotes white blood cell production to keep you healthy. Research shows that Vitamin C may decrease the length and severity of a cold, boost immunity and – if you have allergies – can help histamine breakdown

Vitamin C can be found in berries and oranges or taken as a supplement. Another fruit or supplement you can take is elderberry, which also supports your immune system, increases white blood cell production, and contains anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. Zinc-rich foods also benefit numerous immune functions and can be found in fish and nuts. So, try to incorporate those into your diet.

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can also help combat dry skin at this time of year. The anti-inflammatory fats found in fish oil can hydrate the skin from the inside. Go for supplements derived from black current seed oil if you are a vegan and want healthier hair and skin.

Seasonal habits

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water! As we are not out in the sunshine getting hot and sweaty, it can be easier to forget to drink water regularly. Try implementing a routine to remind you to drink, such as starting and ending your day with a warm cup of your favourite herbal tea.

Eat seasonally for optimal health, as well as preserving the health of our planet. Most produce travels over 1,500 miles before it reaches the supermarket. Check out local grown sources or your local farmers market to help reduce greenhouse emissions and eat more sustainably.

You have probably noticed how much tastier foods are when they are in season. This is because the right temperature and sun exposure for optimal growing conditions can lead to more nutrients in the food, including antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals.  Some nutritious foods in season this time of year are apples, pumpkins, brussels sprouts, carrots, pears, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, cranberries, and beetroot.


As the colder months creep in, this can be a time of year, particularly for those who live alone, where loneliness is on the rise. Relationships and social bonds are important for a sense of belonging which can have a positive impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing. Some ideas to build community can be to organise indoor activities at home. These could include a pie or cake tasting evening where those invited bring something they have baked – a fun and cost-effective way of bringing people together to share each other’s creations. 

It’s a great season to organise a boardgame night – especially games that encourage the health benefits that come with laughter. Laughter increases endorphins to the brain and stimulates our organs. It’s a wonderful way to get to know your friends in a different way and share a sense of play together.

Another idea can be to join a local hiking group or joining a local book club. You may even like the idea of volunteering to help those who don’t have much sense of community around them.  A wonderful local charity that connects people in Brighton is Time to Talk Befriending. Is there something similar in your local area?

In summary, autumn is a great time of year to listen to our body, slow down, and get some rest. We should walk out into nature to watch the colour changes on the trees and remind ourselves of the importance of self-care. It’s a time to boost our immune system and enjoy the social opportunities that we can create while we all keep warm!

At Magenta, we’re working hard to keep ourselves warm and well. To read more about how we keep employees happy, read our blog on International Week of Happiness at Work here.

Heather Ward