All writing, design, and photos by Kathryn Crowley.
The hedgerows are starting to get heavy with the weight of blackberries now, and the days are cooler. At sunset, smears of orange and pastel pink are appearing in the sky earlier and earlier each evening.
The swallows are preparing to return to Africa. Autumn calls me to make some preparations too: changes are ahead. I love this season. There are a few things worth paying attention to that help me, and I hope may help you, to feel more balanced.
I don’t mean ‘balance’ in a physical sense. Variety in life is very much part of being balanced. That could mean spending time alone and time with others, for example. Too much relaxation without some active periods would lead to me feeling sluggish. Over exertion and multi-taking leads to stress. To attain equilibrium requires awareness of our daily actions and how they impact on our waking hours, sleep, and general vitality.
Rather than striving to stand on one leg or pushing to ‘achieve’ something through yoga or anything else, wellbeing begins with simply noticing how we feel. Then we can take action and make tweaks if necessary. With this holistic approach, aiming for balance does not have to be overwhelming.
While the use of multiple supplements is not something that I promote (read more in this post), Vitamin D is one that we all need. I turn to it every Autumn and Winter. In mid August I begin taking it, so that by time the dark days come around I have been fortified with vitamin D.
D is for depression and D is also for difference! For anyone who has experienced a low mood and less energy in Winter, I can relate. Thankfully, I no longer experience S.A.D.*. Taking a supplement has transformed my Winters in Ireland for many years now.
ABOUT VITAMIN D
We produce vitamin D through “a complex process that starts when rays in the invisible ultraviolet B part of the light spectrum are absorbed by the skin“, according to Harvard Health Publishing.  Sunlight (or a lack of) affects the production of it, so a supplement is necessary here in Ireland during the darker season.
Vitamin D supports healthy bones, teeth and muscles through the regulation of calcium and phosphate. Those nutrients are essential.
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression.  This does not mean that taking supplements stop the Winter Blues completely. Each person’s situation is different. At the same, it is true that many people in the northern hemisphere find that boosting their Vitamin D level helps.
The best sources of Vitamin D in food include
- oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals 
As for those blackberries I mentioned at the start of this post, in Irish they are called called sméara dubha (pronouned ‘smay-ra dove-ah‘. ‘Blackberry-Picking’ is a poem by Seamus Heaney.
I read and recorded it recently. Listen here:
Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s time to focus on my own creativity now. If you want to receive my Winter arts newsletter, get in touch here with “newsletter please” at the start of your message.
Till next time, take care.
*S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Read more here.
 ‘Vitamin D’ (reviewed by the NHS August 3rd 2020).
 Aglin et al (2013), VitaminDdeficiencyanddepressioninadults: systematicreviewandmeta-analysis, British Journal of Psychiatry.