How to ignore the gales and keep your summer spirits

summer 2128664b How to ignore the gales and keep your summer spirits

Summer may be over, but your good mood can stay 


By Olivia Goldhill


11:00AM BST 18 Aug 2014



I refuse to look at my winter coat. The world’s most depressing garment (closely followed by scarves and – horror of horrors – thermals) is lurking at the back of my wardrobe and will remain there, untouched, as I shiver on my walk to work.


The wind may be gathering pace and grey clouds blocking the sun but anyone with a grain of optimism will put their head down for the next two weeks and firmly ignore the weather. Summer is the highlight of the year – the season we look forward to for six months before delighting in its warmth for what feels like a brief fortnight.


So as the Met Office predicts that autumn will descend this week, with gale-force winds threatening to blow away summer weather, don’t let their talk of “frequent heavy showers” dampen your spirits.


Here’s how to stave off wintry blues and keep your spirits up for another week or two, at least.


Let your nose take you to Provence

Even if you close your eyes while crammed on public transport, it’s hard to imagine yourself transported to the south of France. But while crowds of bleak, miserable faces are the standard scenery, you can still breathe in the scents of Provence. Buy yourself a pot of lavender oil and dab a drop on your wrists to delight your nose and relax your mind. It’s a small pot of luxury wherever you travel.


You’re not sad, you’re S.A.D

If you get down in the dumps during winter it may not be a case of missing your holidays, but a genuine, medical recognised condition: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Feeling depressed and lethargic during colder months can be a sign that your mood changes along with the seasons. But there’s no need to sit and mope – a light box can help cheer you up. These therapy boxes mimic outdoor light and sitting in front of one for just half an hour a day can boost your mood and recreate those summer days.

Dine on petit fours

It’s outrageously indulgent and so frivolous you can’t possibly feel miserable. Macaroons look and taste like they were crafted by an expert pastry chef but are surprisingly simple to make. Put aside a Sunday afternoon to go overboard on your baking skills – and make a few extra, to help share the positive feelings. No one ever felt sad while eating a macaroon.

Go wild with your nail art

Are your finger nails bitten and uneven? If you’ve never gone further than a coat of paint, now’s the time to take your nail creativity to a whole new level. Baubles, glitter and two tonnes of paint are standard nail fare but why stop there? Ask a nail art bar to paint on some summer images to bring some light to those blustery evenings.

Put away Proust

There’s a time and place for meandering sentences and complex twists on temporality but the beginning of autumn is not such an occasion. Leave aside Tolstoy for now and turn to something you will actually enjoy – where you’ll relish every page, not be moved by the metaphysical message. Wodehouse is the best place to start or, if foppish gents aren’t your thing, maybe it’s time to try Fifty Shades of Grey. And I have some very funny colleagues, so give Bryony Gordon’s The Wrong Knickers or Radhika Sanghani’s Virgin a try if you’re feeling low on laughs.

Plan your autumn wardrobe

Summer dresses and sunglasses are all well and good, but they’re not exactly stylish. Autumn may mark the end of walking barefoot on the beach, but it brings the beginning of fashion. So start cinching your waist with large leather belts and throwing away half your earrings – the solo earing is very much in. If such fripperies aren’t for you, autumn/ winter 2014 has plenty more on offer, as the power suit is striding through the fashion scene with purpose. Farewell to tanning, hello to shoulder pads.

Count down the weeks until Strictly

There’s little to look forward to in the miserable months from September to November, but with a shimmer of sequins and flamboyant twirl, the 12th series of Strictly is sure to light up the autumn months. Frankie Bridge has already revealed herself as the first contestant of the new series and rumours are swirling about the other dancers so get ready to practice your salsa moves in front of the best TV of the season.

Bask in some me-time

When it’s damp outside and summer picnics are fading into a distant memory, your phone may feel like the most exciting distraction in your life. But it’s not, really! Those constant updates and emoticon messages are a drain on joy, not a boost. Put away your phone, your iPad, and your Google Glass every night for some quality time to yourself. There’s no need for an app to re-create that summer feeling – just sit back and relax.


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