Autumn Friendships

Hi Everyone, Sam here!

Autumn; a beautiful time of year! The leaves are vibrant in a mix of colours falling all around us, it may new a new term at school/university for many, and there’s that lovely nip in the air that reminds us that we’re alive. Autumn in many ways is a season of change, and therefore it’s nice to have things in our lives that remain a constant; our friends being one of these.

It is important therefore to cherish time with our friends, and it can in fact be highly beneficial for us spending time with them also. According to a survey from Carnegie Mellon University, quality time spent with those we care about the most can act as a stress buffer in our brains, thus putting less of an allostatic load on our bodies; this has been linked to the lengthening of one’s life. Friendships also give us a greater sense of purpose which in turn can generally nurture our mental wellbeing.

Subsequently, I have taken the time this month to compile a list of some autumn activities that you can do with your friends. However, as the work done here by Cyril Flint Befrienders showcases, friendships can come in all shapes or sizes too (whether this be a mix of ages, abilities etc) and so I have split the list into things to do out and about, and things that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home; this means that everyone can benefit from time spent with a friend regardless of their circumstance.

  • 5 things to do out and about with friends this autumn:

  1. Take a nice walk around a local park:

    This time of year is probably the most aesthetically pleasing of all, therefore take advance of the fresh air and go on a stroll with a friend. It really is a great way to catch up, appreciate nature, and keep fit, all at the same time.

  2. Enjoy a warm drink at a café:  

    What better a way to get in out of the cold, and warm the soul, than with a hot drink of choice. This is also a great setting for having a chat and take part in some people watching! My personal favourite autumnal drink is a chai tea latte; the rich flavours of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon really give me that fuzzy feeling inside.

  3. Attend Oktoberfest:

    Do it like the Bavarians and attend your city’s local Oktoberfest alongside a pal. Beer, Bratwurst and Brass Bands makes this a certified good time, with an atmosphere like no other. Manchester’s Oktoberfest for 2019 is set to take place from Weds 16th– Sun 20th

  4. Take up Photography:

    With all the natural beauty that comes with this season, why not go with friends on a day out taking some nice pictures- this could be of the leaves, wildlife, or architecture around your city. You don’t need to be a seasoned pro or have the best equipment; just getting out/exploring your locality, and having a physical memory of that day will be a great mood booster.

  5. Take a trip to a local market:

    There are plenty of local food/produce markets in many areas each month that you can explore with your friends. These are great for just passing the time whilst getting to try some in season goods, and homemade treats from local businesses. In South Manchester, the West Didsbury Makers Market takes place on the last Sunday of every month in Withington Community Hospital car park. Moreover, the Altrincham market is open all week expect Monday and Wednesday; each day hosts something different also, for example local produce on Tuesday and a Farmer’s market on Friday.

  • 5 things to do at home with friends this autumn:

  1. Have a cosy movie night:

    Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures in life that can be the best! A perfect autumnal evening with a friend could involve putting on shared film favourite, wrapped up in a warm blanket, with some snacks.

  2. Board Games:

    This can be such a nice way to pass an evening with friends! Board games come in many of varieties, whether its monopoly or scrabble, you’re always guaranteed a laugh, especially when it comes down to some healthy competition. Whoever loses can make the brews!

  3. Cook a meal:

    Nothing screams autumn to me more than comfort food! So why not get together with a friend and make a bowl of something to warm the cockles. It has been proven that sharing food with company can severely improve one’s mood also. A go to autumn classic for me is a chilli! I’ve included a recipe below to get you started:

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped

2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups cooked and crumbled ground beef

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 medium green pepper

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon baking cocoa

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, sauté onion until tender. Add the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  1. Carve some pumpkins:

    Autumn is the season of all things spooky! So this addition to the list, although quite wacky, can be a lot of good fun, especially when doing it with a friend. Not only does it give you something to do but you also will have cool outdoor decorations for all to see!

  2. Pamper night:

    This one applies to both guys and girls alike! A great night in with friends could involve getting into cosy clothing, with a facemask, cup of tea, and an accompanying playlist of your favourite tunes. It really allows everyone involved to just unwind, catch up, and show that you don’t need to be out and about to have a good time with those closest to you.

Cyril Flint Befrienders value good quality friendships, currently facilitating over 110 across the Trafford & South Manchester areas. These friendships honestly bring so much joy to the lives of those who would be struggling with loneliness and social isolation otherwise. For example, in our 2019 feedback survey, one of our befriendees quoted that:

“Cyril Flint has really given me the boost in my mood that I’ve needed! My experience with my befriender has been great; we get on so well. A normal visit usually just consists of a nice chat with a cuppa, although sometimes we also listen to music which is super enjoyable. I would recommend this service to anyone who may be in my position and feeling lonely or isolated.”

Being a relatively small charity however means that we require generous donations to keep the service we offer running. Therefore, why not help us out and host a fundraising event in aid of us. A good example might be getting all you colleagues together for an office coffee morning/bake sale? Cyril Flint Befrienders even have our own branded packs for these events which you can receive from our fundraising coordinator Sam at: [email protected]

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the month ahead, and maybe try out some of the many suggestions given above.

Until next time,

Sam.