Driving Away the Autumn Blues

While the freshness of spring always tends to give my spirits a lift, autumn typically finds them settling like fallen leaves.

The chill in the air, the long hours of darkness, the sense that another seasonal chapter is coming to a close, I admit, it makes me a bit wistful and I work to remain motivated. Or perhaps the ol' brain just seeks to hibernate, and recharge for brighter more active days.

So as a little departure from the traditional Treasure Box Wednesday post here at The Thrift Shop Romantic, I thought I'd share with you a few things that have helped drive the autumn ho-hums away... Little things you also might want to try around the house to make it feel more warm, inviting, soothing and cheerful for those long cold evenings ahead.

Now, naturally, for individuals who believe they may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is something you should discuss with your doctor. My suggestions below are not meant to trivialize the condition, or "cure" it in place of actual medical treatment.

But given our busy lives, sometimes it really is just a small change... a little nicety... and unexpected merry detail that can help make even the longest, darkest day seem just that much brighter.
  • Fill the house with an inviting scent. Whether you prefer a tart warmer, scented oils, or fragrant candles, a favorite warm autumn scent can temporarily help lift the spirits. While the world outside may be musty with dried leaves, a nice fragrance at home can trigger cheerier, comforting images of baked goods, fond memories, vacations or just warmer days.
  • Light candles. Separate from the concept of scent, I've found lighting candles, and getting to see that nice warm glow, adds a lot to a room-- even if there's no special occasion-- and can create a cozier atmosphere. Obviously with kids and pets, this may not be ideal-- and would certainly require supervision to be safe. But as fall light wanes, a little flicker of light in the night does a lot to make the evening feel more special.
  • Change textiles to richer, more vivid colors. Trade usual pastels for juicier colors and suddenly an autumn room takes on more life. I was surprised at the difference, for instance, in my bathroom, as I swapped out the pale greens, light pinks and whites, for this deep plummy purple, eggplant and warm dark pink. The room seems deceptively warmer-- and without ever touching that thermostat.
  • Break out that Crock Pot. What's better than to come home from a long day of work and find dinner already made? A pot roast, soups, stews-- even a whole roast chicken-- are fantastic slow-cooked in a Crock Pot. And you can't beat the smell of home-cooking the moment you step through that door!
  • Use reflective items-- luster and mirrors-- to bounce light. Those of us with older homes know, getting enough light isn't always easy. But the Victorians used items coated in luster-- a layer of metallic opalescence-- to reflect off the limited light there was, and flicker under the attention of candles. And this trick still works today. Add to that a few mirrors, or other metallic surfaces, and you can brighten up your space easily.
  • Tackle that long-procrastinated craft. Whether it's sewing, latchhook, crochet, knit, needlepoint, sketching, beadwork, or a thousand different crafts, cooler days and shorter nights are a great time to think creative.
  • Switch shower gel to a new, heavier scent. I know this seems like such a strange detail to suggest, but a good hot shower is the way so many of us start the day. And for those of us who really respond to scents, changing up the soaps you normally use to something new and fun-- and a bit more fragrant than normal-- is
  • Take even fifteen minutes to a half hour, if you can, to curl up with a book or magazine. Time to mentally regroup can be extremely helpful when the days feel bleak and busy. So a little quiet time with a book... or my fave, a decorating magazine... is a nice way to settle down a bit and gain a fresh perspective.

Well-- that's all I have for today. But what are the ways you make the colder months warmer and more cheerful? Leave a comment below-- I'd love to hear from you!

If not, perhaps I'll see you Sunday when I hope to show the progress on the faux fireplace I'm installing! Take care, friends!


Claire said...

Jenn these are fantastic suggestions, some of which I do and really work.

I love the Autumn it is definitely my favourite season, but the gloominess does affect me. So I try to make the most of what light there is and fit in a walk when possible, even if its a 15 minute one. Leaf kicking is an added bonus, but I have the knack of finding dead rats and crap under leaf piles, lucky me!

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Your climate, too, is very similar to ours in terms of the amount of clouds and rain. So I can see where it would be an issue there, as well.

I need to do more walk-taking. I admit, I tend to want to curl up in a chair with a blanket over physical activity-- the latter would likely be better for me.

Mind those rats! :)

Chris said...

I definitely do a lot of candles this time of year. I also love a lot of christmas lights just before the solstice. It seems to help.

junkdreams said...

Great tips....I also find fall a very gloomy time of the year and have to work hard to stay motivated.
Happy day!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chris- You know, Christmas lights are great idea just to hang around for a little extra color and cheerful light.

Junkdreams- I'm sorry to hear that-- It really seems to be hard on a lot of people. Hang in there.

Le-Chat said...

It's early morning here and I'm facing a bicycle ride through the rain to work... I'd rather stay in and work from home but there are meetings to attend. But I'm looking forward to coming home and picking up my crochet project; a scarve in lush mohair. It's true, though I craft all year working on seasonal projects gets me through fall and winter!

Blondie said...

Just wanted to let you know I added you to my blog roll! Kori xoxo

Jenn Thorson said...

Le Chat- Oh the mohair scarf sounds lovely! I have no talent for crochet so really admire folks who can.

Kori- Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. :)

Andrea said...

Jenn, you need to write self-help books! Just reading your blog tonight, lifted my spirits. It is another dismal, rainy night in Illinois.
If I was to make a suggestion, it would be.........adopt a pet!! If it is at all feasible, having a warm friend to greet you at the door after a long day, brings a smile to the face and a lilt to the step. Animals don't care if you are moody, ugly, fat or creepy. Their love is unconditional. I know that everyone can't have pets at home, but I challenge those who can, to open their hearts and homes to a homeless animal. It will be one of the most heartwarming and fulfilling things that anyone can do. Even the gloomiest day or night will be brighter!

Rebecca said...

So identified with your suggestions. I love it when someone can just LIST helpful suggestions like you have done here. (So far, I'm tracking quite well with you! I'm especially excited about some thrifted curtains that have a delightfully vintage pattern on them. I'm trying to figure out how to remodel them to use in my living room.

My crock pot is already begging for a rest, by the way! I *heart" crock pot dinners!

Jenn Thorson said...

Andrea- Indeed, pets are so great to relax and cheer you. I'm actually interested in getting a kitten. I haven't had a pet beyond goldfish before, yet I love animals. I would LOVE having a cat around for this winter.

Rebecca- Oh, excellent on the curtains. I'm guessing if they won't work as curtains, you could always make them into tablecloths or cover a small chair with them.

And yes- Crock Pots are the best! Anyone's a great cook when a Crock Pot's involved. It's so easy!

cometkatt said...

I too LOVE autumn- its my fav.. funny enough its the softer light & greyer days that i love- they make the colors of autumn really stand out.. besides after so many months of Harsh bright light its so much nicer!!(& cooler) love your blog.. wish the thrift stores around here were as nice as yours must be!! not nearly as much 'great' stuff!!
rj is so cal desert

Gail J Richardson said...

I loved your fireplace idea and I have 3 lovely pets who are a big part of our family who love laying in front of the fireplace. I love the fall season.
Gail J Richardson