Accessible Autumn Activities

We are nearing the end of October and Autumn has well and truly arrived. Many of us are feeling the uncertainty ahead with local restrictions and changing news reports. The change in season can mean changes in our bodies too, especially to those whose bodies are sensitive. Many of us find that symptoms like joint and muscle pain or low mood get worse. Maybe a sense of melancholy or sluggishness sets in. Last year I wrote about the change from Summer to Autumn, and how it can cause flare-ups. You can read about it here and here.

Canterbury

On the plus side symptoms such as heat fatigue, photosensitivity and dizziness can ease. And most of all, feelings of being inside and cosy can alleviate the guilt of resting and missing out outdoors. We finally allow ourselves to nest a little, to sit by a fire, enjoy hot baths, eat nourishing food and hunker down.

I thought I would share some things we have been doing this month to celebrate the new season in a slow, gentle and accessible way. Over on Instagram we are chatting about our favourite Autumn activities so come and get involved and add what you like to do by sending me a message.

With your help so far I’ve compiled 7 accessible things to do this Autumn

Click on each activity to take you to a more detailed description

  1. Take in the changes in your local area by slowing down and using your senses
  2. Visit an accessible gardens to experience the dramatic autumn displays
  3. Get Crafty and bring the outside in by making an autumnal display of dried flowers, seed heads and collected items
  4. Start a new hobby or project that you can keep your hands and mind busy with indoors
  5. Learn about the moon cycles and practice some simple activities that go along with the lunar phases
  6. Swap out your Summer wardrobe for your autumn winter one.
  7. Get busy in the kitchen and batch cook yourself some warming food. For subscribers of the blog I have included my apple crumble recipe.

Out and About

For me its easier to move without fatigue on sunny autumnal days than it is on hot days (although the cold and damp causes joint pain). I don’t react to the sun or the heat and wrapped up warm I can walk further and move more. I love a walk to see the changing landscapes. And often my pockets fill up with pine cones, conkers and found objects. If you want to bring in a little magic, folklore says that putting an acorn in your pocket keeps you young. I think I need my fill my pockets to the brim!

Image Description: A cluster of mushrooms growing in the leaves caught in the bow a tree in my local park gardens

Keep it simple by going on a local outing. Even if its a stroll or roll around your block. I love noticing how the trees and plants I see every day are changing, or absorbing how the world smells and feels different. Noticing the small is magical even if its the same route you always take or simply your garden or looking out the window. Try something different explore with your senses. For example the five senses grounding exercise could be used (or a variant where accessible).

image description: a graphic titled 54321 grounding exercise. There are boxes for 5 things you see, 4 things you feel or touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste. Image by @Growtherapy

If you fancy an adventure further afield then head to a botanical garden to take in some of the spectacular autumnal trees. Public gardens are great as they often have accessible walkways and routes. I can highly recommend the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. They welcome assistance dogs and have mobility scooters and wheelchairs available to hire. The gardens are free to enter, be aware that COVID safety measures mean you will need to book your time slot in advance.

Walking in my winter boots with my lilac walking stick in the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh. I am standing on the edge of the path which is lined with moss. A vine of ivy is growing across the bed.

At the opposite end of the UK is Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in the Cotswolds. They offer one of the most spectacular and dramatic autumn displays. They They are also operating a time-slot system and have mobility scooter hire. They allow dogs and there is even a Gruffalo trail for children including an Autumn trail with activities. And a spectacular tree top walk accessed by a series of accessible walkways and bridges..

Image description: The twisted dark trunk of a tree in the Westornbirt Arboretum is on fire with oranges and yellows that surround it. Underneath are the yellow and brown leaves already fallen and rotting.

Get Crafty

Getting crafty can be as simple as displaying some seeds and dried flowers and branches in your home. A collection of dried seedbeds and flowers in a simple pot or bottle or tied in a bundle can look stunning. Or press some leaves then make a garland on a string. Or go the whole way and make an autumnal ‘altar’ with seed heads, pine cones, acorns, orange or brown candles, leaves, and seasonal fruit and vegetables (apples, pumpkins squash). Add to the whole effect by using spices or incense like cinnamon and clove. If you are celebrating Samhain change the candles to black and introduce black feathers and images of black birds, spiders or cats. Use stones such as onyx, obsidian or moonstone. Light incense or introduce herbs such as sandalwood, sage and rosemary. You don’t have to be a witch to enjoy bringing in the natural world.

Cosy days are an ideal time to start a new project. If there’s something you have been wanting to try like knitting, embroidery or sewing now is the time to begin. More time indoors means more time to indulge in something creative and crafty. I like things that keep my hands busy so, I have just started to make a dress (something I began learning a couple of years ago). I have also ordered some knitting supplies (to try something brand new).

Crafts don’t have to be challenging, there are so many crafts to try. If you would like to try some seasonal crafts out, Jen (Mum in The Mad House) has some brilliant tutorials on her blog. They are aimed at children and families but there are some crafts that this big kid will be trying too. I love the look of the Autumn Sun Catchers, Clay Ghost Tea-lights and Aunty Chris’ Yorkshire Parkin!

Find your thing and don’t get put off by failing at first, it’s also ok to try something and say its not for you. I tried to make a crocheted fox a few years ago, it was so mangled and disproportioned I gave it to the dog!

My top tip would be don’t try to do it all at once. Break down the project into tiny stages and do one or two at a time. For example, just finding a pattern is one stage, ordering materials can be another. The project is for you to enjoy and can take as long as you want. I would love for you to share links in the comments to what you are making at the moment or where you have found free craft making resources.

Celebrating Slow and Seasonal

In October we have two full-moons in the calendar month. The second full moon is known as a blue moon (read more about it here). The first full moon is on the Oct 1st and the rare Blue Hunter Moon is Oct 31st meaning the entire of October is surrounded in the full moon energy.

The moon moves in cycles starting with a new moon when we see nothing in the sky, peaking at the full moon then waning until the next new moon. One theory is energy patterns can follow the moon’s phases and we can use this to guide and frame our own energy and activity. If nothing else I like to be able to see the passing time as a physical entity and planning guide. It’s also a great energy pacing tool as a lunar month is a slow but achievable timeframe. Here’s how I plan:

  • The New Moon: Time to plan new projects and set into motion ideas and goals.
  • First Quarter: Put into place resources and move into activity.
  • Second Quarter: Increasing action and activity.
  • Full moon: Reaching peak energy and completion until it’s time to celebrate achievements.
  • Waning Moon: As the moon wanes close and reflect on projects and tie up loose ends. A useful time to see what still needs to be worked on and carried into the next cycle.
  • During the last quarter when energy is at its lowest take some down time to restore energy for the next cycle. Try to stay present and in the moment.

This Autumn’s moons:

  • 1st October Full Moon
  • 16th October New Moon
  • 31st October Full Moon
  • 15th November New Moon
  • 30th November Full Moon
  • 14th December New Moon

Life Hacks

If you only do one thing this October, I recommend having a wardrobe switch around. Put away any summer clothes away you know you won’t wear and go through your winter stuff. Get some help doing this if you need it. Why bother?

  • Its easier to see or access fewer clothesr wardrobe
  • You can plan outfits by seeing or grouping together what you have.
  • You can get rid of anything you know you won’t wear it because it doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable.
  • Any items that need care such as woollens needing a wash, de-pilling clothes to refresh them or mending holes can be done so your clothes are wearable.
  • It saves you money as you don’t buy items you already have because you’ve have forgotten about.

One of my fave TikTokers Lucy Edwards explains why it helps her here

Lucy Edwards’ winter wardrobe

In the Kitchen

Who else is excited about cold, cosy weather foods? Pies and puddings are back. Soups and stews are simmering. It’s time to get that slow cooker out of the cupboard to begin batch cook your fave recipes. I love a good bean chilli infused with spices, that’s been bubbling all day in the slow cooker cauldron. 

The Great British Bake Off is back too and its the perfect escapism and Neve have we needed it more than this year. The 21st of October is National Apple Day in the UK, why not celebrate it with a home-baked apple crumble?

My recipe for Apple Crumble is below for free to those who subscribe of this blog.

Image description: a square dish of apple, pear and cherry crumble sits with a jug of cream. the crumble is golden and the red fruit has bubbled up around the edges. There are handpicked Chrysanthemums from the garden in autumnal colours in a jar and on the table.

I hope you stop by to say hello and share what you are doing this season by leaving a comment. If you have enjoyed reading this post please drop by my Patreon and buy me a coffee. It helps towards the running costs of this blog and fuels my writing.