Friday, 7 October 2016

Transitions

The change from summer to autumn is a mixed one for me.  Whilst I'm happy to welcome the amazing low sun light of September, admire the colour changes and enjoy the great fruit and veg, I'm always sad to start wearing socks again and covering up.  There's a few things I've been trying out to ease the transition to less sunlight and shorter days.  This is all totally unrelated to sewing but I thought I'd share.


Cold showers
This sounds contrary.  I love to be warm.  My hands and feet easily get cold so to immerse myself under cold water each morning sounds like the very worst thing to do.  The idea came from a TV programme, The Doctor who Gave Up Drugs.  If you are in the UK, I would recommend watching it in the next week or so before it disappears from iPlayer.  I'm a bit of a pill popper, headaches, migraines, hormonal aches and pains etc.  I'm no stranger to an analgesic so this programme was an interesting watch.  One of the treatments Dr Chris Van Tulleken recommended do a woman suffering from long term depression was cold water swimming and in a round about way, that's what lead me to cold showers.  The cold seems to shock the body, make the blood pump faster and wake you up.  I struggle with darker mornings, even in early autumn.  I have a sunrise clock which definitely helps and the cold shower is helping too but more importantly it is preventing an early morning fuzz that I often wake up with and can quickly become a bad headache.  It's quick: straight from the bed, under the shower, and our shower is basic and above our bath so it's not the most salubrious of surroundings.  I have the water on warm just to ease myself in and then I turn both controls to cold and stand with my back to it.  Many of my migraines are to do with blood vessels constricting in my neck so standing with the cold water hitting my neck and upper back seems to help.  It takes my breath away every time, I often exclaim out loud.  My arms stay by my sides and I rotate slightly from side to side.  It's brief but it is exhilarating.  Before I know it, my towel is wrapped firmly round me, my head is clear and my body is buzzing.


Overnight Oats
I feel like I am very late to the party on this one but I love it even if I'm only a recent convert.  I usually have toast and porridge in the morning. Whilst I like the taste of porridge, it is a bit of a faff to cook, even in a microwave and the washing up a pain (we don't have a dishwasher).  Overnight oats seem to be be firmly associated with Slimming World and lots of recipes emanate from them.  I keep it simple and use a Bonne Maman jam jar.  
  • ⅓ cup of oats
  •  ⅓ cup of milk of your choice (I use sweetened soya)
Swish around to mix and top with frozen raspberries- as many as you fancy.
Add the lid, then leave overnight, not in the fridge as soya milk doesn't go sour like dairy and I don't like it very cold in the morning.
The next day you eat it as it is or add some yogurt (dairy or non) to the top.  There are endless variations on this theme if you Google for recipes.  It's so easy and fast, minimal mess and a great way to eat fruit in the morning, plus if you have to travel early in the morning , it's easy to pack and eat on a train.

 

3. 'Prep like a Boss'
This came about from watching The Body Coach programme in the summer and it just struck me as a common sense way for us all to eat more veggies.  The premise is simple: buy some plastic storage (I use takeaway style boxes) and regularly put aside time each week to cut and prepare some raw veg snacks.  This is the limit of my prepping and it's often combined with when I'm cutting up veg for an evening meal.  We have carrot sticks in one box, pepper slices in another, radish in a third and keep them topped up during the week.  It means that all three of us consume a lot more veggies at lunch time whether it's packed lunch or at home.  I know the nutritional content is reduced from being cut up the day before but the reality is if these veggies aren't cut and ready to dive into at the time of eating or leaving for work, it's not going to happen.  As a result of eating more raw veggies at lunch time, we're all eating less sugary snacks at lunch times.  I haven't cut sugar out or anything like that - I like cakes, biscuits and chocolate too much but a eating a stack of carrots and peppers keeps me from adding three biscuits to my lunchtime coffee more often than not.

4. Colour
We all do this in some way and the older I get, the more I feel the need to more colour.  A cheap bunch of flowers- the Asters below have been going for two weeks and I think they'll do a few more days.  I never used to buy cut flowers, I saw it as a waste of money but now I find that burst of intense colour is money well spent.  


5. Hygge
And buy Hygge or cosiness I mean snuggle up, you and your family, animals, gentle lighting, quilts and blankets, drinks, food.  Play a game, watch Bake Off, X-Factor,  Strictly or whatever you can watch and enjoy together.  Hygge is taking over the bookshelves as the Danish art of cosiness has gone mainstream and the publishers have got their lifestyle books (mainly photos of Scandinavian houses and how to tie twine around a tea-light) on point of sale.  It's not rocket science and it's what people have always done: huddled together as the lights get low and snuggle up.  My daughter found a cookbook with a wonderful array of biscuits and cakes for such an occasion, Fika & Hygge by Brontë Aurell of Scandi Kitchen.  It's beautifully written and photographed and the recipes are sublime.  Much of this inspiration comes from Sju Sorters Kakor, Swedish Cakes and Cookies which is the Swedish equivalent of the UK Bero cookbook- every house has a copy or multiple copies.  I found a copy of Swedish Cakes and Cookies on eBay for under £3 and it's amazing.  So many recipes and photos.  Maybe the raw veggie eating offsets the sweet snacks from these books ;)



So those are the things I've been enjoying whilst I put my sandals away and get the quilts out.  What are your recommendations for seasonal change? 


13 comments:

  1. Welcome age! The cure to my migraines. I hope that time will cure what ails you too! (I'm still looking for other advantages of age!)

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  2. Thanks for this really interesting post - those showers sound shockers, but I bet it quickly becomes something you miss. I've got to say that the idea of getting up in the dark and immediately leaping into a cold shower holds little appeal and I admire you for even trying it once, and more so for sticking with it!
    I find that as the days get shorter, it's even more important to spend some time outside in day light, even if it's very dull that day. I think it's something to do with knowing that there has been a daytime, rather than any benefits from the weak light, and I'm a great believer in getting some fresh air!

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    1. Still winning on the showers but early days! I totally agree about getting out in daylight, especially if there is any sun. Fresh air and activity, one of the many the benefits of owning a dog too.

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  3. My grandpa used to have a cold bath every morning (they probably didn't have a shower) and yes I can imagine that is does get the blood pumping, if it's a cure for migraines then I'll definitely try it! I used to think the same about cut flowers but I bought a bunch from Aldi for £5 a while back and they lasted for ages and brought such delight that I'm another convert.

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    1. I don’t think I could cope with the cold bath but i can imagine it would be a more intense version of the same thing- when I go in the sea I always have a moment when I think I’m going to pass out or I can’t move my arms at all! It’s defintely helped with the headaches, even this week with a crappy cold and a very congested head, it has made a difference.

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  4. I love your ideas here, I also need to eat more healthy snacks and a bit less sugar, but no intentions to give it up completely. Love the sound of overnight oats

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    1. I love oats but I hate washing up and sometimes porridge is a bit hard going to eat first thing, the overnight oats feel like the laziest thing ever with a much tastier result!

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  5. Thank you for all of your tips. That clock sounds wonderful!

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    1. A friend bought one for her son who struggled to get up on dark mornings and it made such a difference. It certainly helps me start the day a little quicker

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  6. Funnily enough I, too, had the idea of cold showers from watching the same programme, though I haven't actually started yet ;p I have ME/chronic fatigue, as well as struggling with the lack of daylight, so that's putting me off a bit, and showering is usually a huge effort, but its interesting that you say it wakes you up, as I certainly need anything that would help with that. People did used to have a cold bath a day, I believe; I used to know an old chap who'd had to have one every morning at school. And then there's the Scandinavian saunas and snow, talking of Sweden. I like all your ideas and will look out for both books. As well as warmth, light and lovely things, I think scent is also important, in order to assault all the senses with cheerfulness (!), whether personal, in the form of lovely toiletries, or for the house: flowers, candles, oils , etc. Also exercise is supposed to be energising and mood enhancing, so several outdoor walks a week, somewhere enjoyable and relaxing is something I want to start. Thanks for the post!

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    1. ’m still doing it, a few weeks on now and although it makes me gasp each time it helps significantly with headaches. I agree with your comment about scent, I like Thieves, Breathe Easy and Panaway oil blend and I use them on hankies and sometimes in a vaporiser. A little goes along way, they are pricey. Totally with you on walking too.

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  7. Interesting post! Will definitely try the cold shower as my migraines are unrelenting.

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