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Hello Autumn Lovers.

With October in full swing it seems like the perfect time to let ourselves be our true pumpkin spiced selves, right? We should be living our very best lives right now, revelling in the season. Except, it's not always that easy, is it? 

Sometimes everything can be going our way, and yet we're still feeling low. If I've learnt one thing over the last few years, it's that mental health doesn't always make much sense, it's not always logical. You can be doing everything you think you want, and still struggle with your mental health. Or least, it's often that way for me. 

One of the reasons I started embracing autumn more wholeheartedly was my mental health. I often found that I struggled more mentally + emotionally at this time of year. The anxieties I already struggled with felt more pronounced, bouts of lower moods took longer to shift, and I was generally followed by a cloud of melancholy waiting to ruin any good moment. A lot of this was related to that sadness that comes with the passing of summer, the dread of an approaching winter, cold, dark and miserable. The loss of light in the mornings and evenings, the feeling that I was spending all my daylight hours at work. By changing the way I looked at these things, by actively seeking the magic of autumn and winter, I found that my mental health got better. 
All that said, working on my mental health is an ongoing project, and I still have to put in the effort to not sink in to a seasonal depression. So some tips from me, and others on the internet, on how to help avoid the worst of it. 
Embrace the daylight when you can. It can be so overwhelming when you're arriving and leaving work in the dark. I'm lucky enough to have my desk in a big window so I can embrace what little daylight we get, and I pop the window for fresh air most days too, but I'm also swapping my evening walk for one in my lunchbreak, just to make sure I'm getting out in the daylight at least once a day. I'm making sure to make the most of weekend daylight too, stocking up on it for the week ahead even if it's raining. 
Create a cosy space. Spending more time inside is a given this the of year. Make it a little easier by making your home as cosy as possible. Light candles, pile up blankets, use warm lamps instead of harsh lighting, decorate with fresh seasonal flowers, or even pumpkins. Make your home a cosy space you're excited to spend time in. If you're struggling with the loss of light, pick up a Lumie lamp, I have one on my desk and an alarm clock to help me in the mornings too and I can't rave about them enough.
Seek the magic. Even the worst of days have a little of it. Shifting your mindset to one where you're looking for the good is such a positive action to take. Slow down, take a bit more notice of the little lovely things. If it helps, document them in photos, or a gratitude list to look over when you're feeling overwhelmed. 
Find time for positive mental thought. I go through phases with meditation where I'm either doing it 3 times a day, or never, there's rarely a middle ground. However, I know I always feel calmer and ready to tackle the day the more time I spend in some kind of mindfulness practice. So I'm making more of an effort for it, I've found scheduling it as a goal for the day in my Google Calendar really helpful. It only needs to be a few minutes, or a quick session on the Calm app, but it really helps. 
Keep talking. The more we keep the conversation around mental health going, the better it will get. Open up to your friends and about how you're feeling, chances are they're probably feeling some of it too. I'm trying to be more open and honest about my own mental health with friends and on social media too, we have to normalise the discussion, and the more you talk about it, the less scary it all seems. You don't have to struggle alone, find someone you trust to chat to, or even hit reply to this email, I'm always here to talk.
  • Plan a pumpkin carving hang with your favourite people. Eat spooky treats (the shops are full of them) and drink spiced lattes or spiced cider! 
  • Create a happy playlist of feel good songs to help you get out of bed and ready in the mornings.
  • Bake something spicy and delicious. I may just have the perfect thing if you carry on reading...
  • Go for a walk on your lunchbreak, take a turn you've never taken before, enjoy being outside, look for something you've never spotted before. 
  • Spend time with a dog, pup cuddles help everything. 
  • Brew a pot of tea and drink it whilst reading a book. Don't stop reading until all the tea has gone. 
  • Treat yourself to some cosy new comfy clothes for the colder evenings. I maintain my cashmere socks are the best thing I've ever bought. 
  • Plan your next coffee date at a coffee shop you've never tried before.
  • Think of how you can document the good things of this season. A scrapbook, a photo album, a journal? Collect leaves to press, and scrawl memories on receipts and coffee shop napkins. 
  • Leave room in your schedule for nothing at all. Sleep in, wear pyjamas all day, read a book, watch your favourite movie, or binge trash tv. No judgement, just rest. 

If you're struggling with your mental health this season, then an approaching Mercury Retrograde is not ideal. Mercury Retrograde is known to bring with it brain fog, unexplained anxiety and trouble with communicating, which is frustrating to say the least. 

The next Mercury Retrograde starts on October 31st (the spookiest thing I could think of this Halloween), but instead of dreading it, look forward to it as an opportunity for a reset. Leave room in your schedule to better take care of yourself, leave time for exercise, time to cook nourishing, wholesome meals, have one too many bubble baths (maybe even treat yourself to Lush's new bath bomb for this very purpose). Seek a season of self care at this time, and use it as an excuse to cut yourself some slack. Mercury Retrograde or not, you deserve it. 

The perfect pick me up for any miserable autumn day. A batch of these will last a good week or two in an airtight container (if you can resist them that long), and are the perfect accompaniement to a cup of chai tea, a pumpkin spice latte, or anything really. I've also made these with Dove's Farm Gluten Free Flour and they were still fantastic.

You will need: 
1 cup of unsalted butter
3/4 cups of caster sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 + 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp treacle
1tbsp madagascan vanilla essence
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp ginger
a pinch of salt
1 cup icing sugar
4 tsp maple syrup
Beat together butter, caster sugar and dark brown sugar. When smooth, beat in the egg, treacle and vanilla essence. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Once combined, add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mix, beating together until smooth. Shape the mixture into small balls (around 1 + 1/2 to 2tbsp works best), roll in a little granulated sugar and pop on a lined baking tray. Bake for 8 minutes at 180 degrees, then bring them out to cool. You won't think they're done, but trust me, they are! 
To go all out, mix icing sugar and maple syrup with a splash of water. Drizzle over the cookies when they're cool. It works well with a splash of bourbon too! 
There's still time to read this month's book, The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. It's a spooky retelling of the story of the brides of Dracula, but really it's a warm hearted story of friendship, feminisim and sisterhood. It's a quick read (easily bingeable in a night or two) and I'd love to know your thoughts when we discuss it in the next issue! If you haven't yet, pick up a copy here

(PS, got a suggestion for next month's book club? Hit reply and let me know!)

Please keep sharing your images on Instagram with  #huntingforautumn and tagging @huntingforautumn! I'm loving seeing all your snippets of happy, cosy autumnal moments, and ESPECIALLY all the autumnal pets popping up too. Nothing will make you feel as good as a good pup photo will! Shout out to @winyeemichelle for this lovely snap of the gorgeous Milo! 

Big thanks as always to the wonderful Daphne for the gorgeous Hunting For Autumn illustrations! Make sure if you haven't already to check out her shop, she sells some seriously beautiful designs! 
Until next time, happy hunting! 
Copyright © 2019 Jayerockett, All rights reserved.

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