It’s Cuffing Season.
Cue Pumpkin Spice, long nights, bowls of soup, cuddles on the couch, and daily aches in joints that were perfectly fine all summer.
Yeah, you can feel it in the air — shout out to Phil Collins! — as Fall hits us full force with a side order of Arctic fronts.
Even if this summer treated you right, you may find yourself feeling slower, sleepier, and more stressed now that we are all up in November. And, worse, it feels premature.
Kind of like when you’re going too fast on a ride and you can feel your organs smooshing together.
Personally, I’m feeling a new pressure in my body, under my skin, against my organs. I’m sleeping more, by 9pm most nights I’m shutting down and walking like I’ve had a night of drinking just after dinner.
This is a real thing, the cold weather of cuffing season can make us feel slow, tired, and aching. But it’s SCIENCE.
“When Barometric pressure drops it significantly decreases the amount of pressure placed on the body which forces the tissue to expand and put pressure surrounding the joints. Keeping the muscles warm is the key to helping your chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.” – Ed Rubin, MD
For decades, I thought this only happened to me.
Did you know your body does that? It expands during warm weather and contracts in the cold, making colder weather prime time for flares of pain and other symptoms. Depression and anxiety, included.
If you’ve ever thought nature was out to get you — you’re not wrong.
Since there is always a part of your brain that is obsessed with staying alive and monitors every minuscule change in your body, cuffing season can include a massive increase in forgetfulness.
Which may feel like it’s not even possible, but here we are, forgetting essential stuff like the the day of the week, whether we paid the electric bill, or if we’ve already had dinner or not.
And if you’ve ever complained to someone else that you feel worse as the seasons change, you’ve probably faced eye rolls and dismissals.
I’ve even had doctors laugh at me. I mean, I paid these people, and still couldn’t be taken seriously. I’m sure you’ve never had that experience before. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.
But, as I began to work with other trauma survivors, chronic illness and chronic pain clients I realized something amazing: we all thought we were unique with Cuffing Season Symptoms.
We were all being ignored, invalidated, and occasionally gaslighted.
So what can you do when Cuffing Season is Upon Us and you notice your energy tanking, your pain increasing, and your body struggling to keep up with day-to-day activities?
Your Internet Bestie Cam has the hook up!
Dress like you live in San Francisco/Paris/London
Try microwavable pads, thermacare pads, hand and foot warmers.
Bet on feeling hot and cold throughout the day.
Invest in warm, lightweight fabrics like cashmere (or fuzzy rayon) that travel well.
Always carry extra socks and hand warmers.
Have a scarf! A big scarf can play many roles and keep you comfortable.
It’s crazy how easily we lose moisture as weather cools, but unlike summer sweat, we often don’t notice.
So, drink up hot herbal tea, hot water with lemon or lime, hot water with (edible) essential oils.
MIND YOUR SKIN (it puts on the lotion)
It’s our biggest organ and easiest ally.
And it’s our worst enemy when it dries out. Drinking all the water is a first step, but your skincare has to level up in colder months.
Invest in an excellent moisturizer/lotion. I love Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter products. Look for all natural options with your favorite scents. Smooth it over damp skin to lock in a little something extra.
Nothing irritates like dry scalp. So pay extra attention to your follicles during cuffing season as well.
We all have different mobilities, so find a routine that helps you relax and lock in moisture without swan-diving into flares.
One of my faves is hot oil treatments. Warm oil with essential oils, smooth through your hair, put on a shower cap and a towel, then REST. Rinse out after at least 30 minutes.
GET THAT REST
If you need more rest, take more rest,
Carve out nap times throughout the day – just 5-15 minutes can make a big difference.
Find a playlist that takes you into your happy place quickly. Here’s mine.
Tell people what you need. Helpful phrase: “I need to sleep an extra two hours each night.” Then, ask them to help you take care of whatever usually keeps you up at night.
Cuffing season isn’t just a time to find a snuggle buddy and binge shows while swaddled in blankets. It’s also a prime time to develop serious flare symptoms and set back your healing by days, weeks, and months.
By prioritizing your skin, scalp, warmth, and rest you can set the stage to cruise through cuffing season with only the upsides: cuddles, love, spiced coffee, and Black Friday Sales.
I always want to hear from you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your best Cuffing Season tips.