Welcome to autumn, the season of short days and long nights. Everyone’s lighting candles, gathering blankets and generally getting their hygge on.
Wouldn’t it be nice to really make the most of these longer nights? This autumn, try carving out a bit of time each evening for a simple activity which will focus the mind and boost your creativity. I promise it’ll make you feel calmer and more rested – plus, it’ll help ward off any incoming winter blues.
You’ll still have time for a TV boxset, or a bit of passive scrolling on your phone, but you’ll never regret time spend on these simple, mindful activities…
May I present the perfect autumn activity? Knitting is soothing, satisfying and really useful. Unless you’re already an expert, avoid complicated patterns, and knit something simple like a scarf or a hat. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you can have one eye on your knitting and one eye on something (or someone!) else. It’s also perfect for restless hands that are used to spend too much time fiddling with a smart phone. The best bit though is that you get something pretty at the end as a nice reward for your efforts.
Read a classic
Autumn evenings were designed for curling up with a good book. Swap a new release for that classic book you always meant to read, but never got time. Read a chapter a night and escape into a new world. This is especially good if you’ve got a long, dark commute ahead of you on a train or bus. A great place to start is Wuthering Heights, or something by Charles Dickens.
Do a crossword
As I struggle to think of the answers in a crossword I imagine I can almost feel my mind stretch, and hear it whirling with effort. It feels good to flex those problem solving muscles – especially if you’ve had a dull and repetitive day. Personally, I favour the Guardian quick crossword (definitely not up to the cryptic), but if words aren’t your thing try sudoku instead.
Read a magazine in the bath
The bathroom is one of the few places in my house with no distractions, and that really feels like the ultimate luxury. I like to run a big, scented bath and escape there with a favourite glossy magazine. Rather than flicking it through it, I actually make the effort to read it from cover to cover. Just make sure you remember to lock the door!
Do a jigsaw
I never thought I’d be a jigsaw person, but last winter I discovered they really helped soothe anxiety and focus the mind. If you’re impatient, try a puzzle with 500 pieces or less. Or, if you’re a serious puzzler, go all in with the 1000 piecers. For happy jigsaw life balance, invest in one of those roll–up storage mats. Or if you only have a few minutes to spare each day, then try something like this maths game instead. It’s very satisfying and will totally distract you from everything else in your life for about ten minutes.