IS anyone else experiencing the existential restlessness that comes with the changing of the seasons? Granted, this year the late summer heatwave has confused the circadian rhythms somewhat (the glorious sunshine and roasting hot days juxtaposed with pitch darkness by 8pm have been a tad discombobulating to say the least).

However, slowly but surely, autumn is whispering my name. After spending much of the recent months at full pelt, I am looking forward to a chance to shift gears and slow down a little. It feels like one minute it was early May, then I blinked and suddenly we are halfway through September.

Don’t get me wrong, the summer has been jam-packed with incredible adventures - running, cycling or tramping through the woods at every opportunity - but increasingly in the last couple of days, I am finding myself eyeing the comfy chair by the fire and smiling fondly at the dusty to-be-read pile of books languishing on the coffee table.

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I am picturing myself clad in woolly jumpers and cosy socks, enjoying a mug of hot chocolate bathed in the warm flicker of candlelight, or kicking through the leaves sipping a pumpkin spice latte.

Salad season has been a joy, but I am craving hearty soups and thick doorsteps of bread. Already there has been copious daydreaming about stodgy pies, rich casseroles, and a gargantuan mountain of potatoes with every meal.

Outside in the garden the tapestry of vibrant greens, that hit their peak in June and July, are steadily fading into what will soon become a kaleidoscopic swirl of gold, crimson, ochre, bronze, amber and russet.

The apples hang heavy on the trees, ready for harvest. The light is softer. Any day now the first geese will begin arriving on their way south. All harbingers of autumn that bring tiny shivers of excitement but also a slight sense of impending dread.

If there is a saying that makes me shudder, it’s “aye, the nights are fair drawing in”. I loathe the claustrophobic confines as the curtains are drawn ever earlier in the evenings. Like the shutters being pulled down on the outside world. A barrier in every sense of the word.

Over the years, I have been no stranger to the debilitating effects of seasonal affective disorder, or “winter blues”, which bring an overarching lethargy and low mood.

Last autumn I decided to confront it head-on with a plan to winterproof my life. I wanted to stave off the worst ravages of the energy-sapping shorter days and gloomy weather from impacting on my mental health by setting tangible goals. A balm for the soul.

This included everything from taking up running to starting driving lessons. It worked a treat and I emerged into spring with a sense of accomplishment, rather than lumbering through the winter days like a miserable, bleary-eyed zombie.

Already I am percolating ideas in the back of my mind, so that in around a month from now, I will be ready to embark upon a fresh set of challenges. Some physical. Some mental. Some downright scary.

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I always find early autumn to be a perfect time for simultaneously decluttering and nesting - the proverbial out with the old and in with the new - like a creature robustly preparing for hibernation.

The key, though, is balance. We all need time to rest and take things easier. But the trick, I have come to learn, is not to get crippled by inertia. But rather to always be in forward motion, even when every sinew of your being is telling you to hunker down.

This isn’t some “look at me, I’ve got everything figured out” humble brag. But more an acknowledgment and appreciation of growth. I don’t have all the answers. Yet, hopefully like everyone else as they build on life experience, I am finding new ways to exist ever more comfortably in my own skin.