11 ways to be mindful in the autumn and make the most of the season
Autumn is one of our favourite seasons and it's a great time of year to try some mindful activities from photowalking to leaf art.
Summer has its attractions (sun, ice cream, light evenings), but we're big fans of autumn too.
Autumn is a magical season and there are lots of things we love, from the leaves turning to Christmas twinkling on the horizon. And the weather's often better than in the summer (at least in the UK).
The darker evenings can have a negative effect on our moods, particularly for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers, so it's important to look after ourselves at this time of year.
There are lots of ways to live well in the autumn and connect with nature, so we've rustled up a few ways to get the most from the season. Bring on the woolly jumpers, snuggly blankets, autumn walks and hot chocolate!
Create mindful leaf art
Australian artist Ellie Beck finds inspiration in the rainforest surrounding her home in Northern New South Wales. When she goes out on walks, she likes to collect interesting leaves in order to make beautiful wild leaf art. Find out how to make your own leaf art.
Bring meaning to your walks by taking your camera out with you. Tracey Ellis loves to let her feet and creativity roam free. She says: "Nothing gets me out of bed quicker than opening my blinds to the sun rising over Salisbury Plains, dramatic clouds racing across the sky, or a blanket of mist hovering over the town." Discover how to photowalk.
Try mindful coffee drinking
One of the best things about autumn is that it gives an excuse to slow down and cosy up indoors. Eva Maria Smith loves stopping to take a mindful coffee break and says it's one of the best parts of her day. Grind some coffee and pause for a mindful coffee break.
Take an autumn hike
Autumn is when our forests and national parks come into their own, with misty valleys and vibrant foliage. If you're not sure of where to go, take a look at our round-up of the best walking apps to search for routes in your area.
If you're looking for the best places to see the autumn colours, check out these recommendations from BBC Countryfile magazine.
It's really easy to fashion your own autumn wreath using leaves, twigs and plants from the hedgerow. Wire wreath frames can be bought cheaply from your local florist. To make your wreath, simply layer up your plants working around the edge so that each layer covers up the bottom of the previous layer. Add some rough twine for a rustic touch.
You don't need to be an expert forager to try your hand at gathering edible plants while out on one of your walks. Blackberries can be safely gathered for crumbles, sloes make for great gin and rosehips can be used to make beautiful jellies. Read this great foraging guide for beginners to discover what's out there.
September is a particularly good month for foraging – check out this guide from BBC Countryfile Magazine to see what you can gather.
Bring nature indoors
It's easy to bring nature into your home and create stylish decorations. Pine cones can be placed in a jar or bowl and used to give any room a natural vibe.
You don't need to camp out in the woods with binoculars to appreciate wildlife – building a birdfeeder and hanging it up in your garden should be enough to get you hooked on birdwatching. Check out these mindful birdwatching tips from Fforest author Sian Tucker.
Spend time in the woods and go forest bathing
Forest bathing originated in Japan and is believed to have a range of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. You don't need any special equipment – just some sensible walking boots and plenty of time to enjoy your walk. Find out how to practise forest bathing.
The autumn is the perfect time to cosy up and get crafting! These days it's easy to teach yourself how to crochet or knit online, or you can find a course in your area. This cute starry night granny square crochet pattern by Sara Huntington works up into a snuggly blanket.
Take a coastal stroll
There's evidence to suggest that spending time by the sea can help us to feel calmer and even improve our sleep. Find out how to be mindful by the sea with these tips from Dr Deborah Cracknell.
Another great way to get more our of your coastal walks is to try beachcombing – try these tips for mindful beachcombing from Sian Tucker of Fforest.
Photos by Cecile Vedemil, Bethany Fankhauser, Kristopher Roller, Annie Spratt, Nine Köpfer, David Norman, Erik Mclean, Toby Elliott and Maria Shanina on Unsplash