Fall is everyone’s favorite season. Come September, we eagerly open our bedroom windows to let in chilly breezes. Overcast skies and the first crunch of leaves beneath our feet remind us to unpack our favorite sweaters and to make our way to Target for apple cider-scented everything. We aren’t yet jaded by the bitter cold of winter, but rather embrace all things “cozy.”
But there is a downside. While fall technically lasts three months, the moderate weather and changing leaves lasts about two. So, how do we make the most of fall before it’s gone?
Here are a few tips for taking advantage of this special season.
Embrace the “basic”
If being “basic” means being present in the moment and embracing the beauty of a certain time of year, be basic. When the little things in life bring you joy, hold onto them.
- Just get the dang PSL.
- Wear that flannel.
- Be excited about boot season.
- Buy a pack of knit knee-high socks.
- Stock your home with vanilla-, cinnamon-, pumpkin-, and apple-scented Yankee Candles.
- Grip a steaming mug of hot cider with both hands.
- Watch Hocus Pocus 30 times.
- Listen to Bon Iver all day.
Get creatively festive
Seasonal activities are just that — seasonal. Sit down and write a list of all the things you want to do within the next two months, and contact the friends you want to do them with. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Naturally, hitting up your local pumpkin patch or apple orchard is a fall mainstay, but consider some unconventional fall activities.
- Want to capture the changing leaves? Fill up your gas tank, create a fall-inspired playlist, put a hot drink in your thermos, and take a scenic drive!
- Learn about the history of your area by visiting a nearby historical town. Bonus points if it has tours of old houses and other landmarks.
- Split the cost of a cozy cabin or treehouse Airbnb with friends. Stay in the woods or by a lake for maximum fall foliage appreciation.
- In the mood for a scare? Look into your local haunted hayrides or haunted houses.
- Check your town’s event calendar to see if it’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest or having any other fall-themed festivals.
- Throw a “welcome fall” party and invite your friends over for a bonfire and all things fall-themed.
- Go to an amusement park — they usually have fun, Halloween-themed attractions!
Don’t stay cooped up inside
It’s tempting to stay cozy indoors as soon as it drops below 75 degrees, but fall is all about taking advantage of nature at its peak. If you wake up on Saturday to find the sun shining, get outside! It’s common for the weather change and the lack of sunshine to contribute to seasonal affective disorder — especially in the fall. Make sure you’re gathering some rays and working out to get some vitamin D and endorphins. Here are some suggestions.
- Take in the vibrant leaves and crisp air by going for a bike ride or run around the park.
- Plan a hike to a gorgeous lookout point.
- Grab a blanket and sit outside and read a spooky book.
- Gather your nieces and nephews or neighbor kids and rake up some leaves to jump in.
- Since the sun sets sooner, try taking your lunch break outside to get some vitamin D.
- Visit your local game preserve or outdoor zoo.
- Take an evening walk to catch the last pink and orange sunsets of the year.
Ready, set, hygge
When you have to spend more time indoors because of gloomy or rainy weather, it’s important to create a space you enjoy. Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is a Danish concept that revolves around crafting a special haven where you feel relaxed and cozy. It’s all about shaping an atmosphere and an experience you feel the most yourself in. Here are some suggestions for getting your hygge on.
- String up some warm twinkle lights.
- Bring out your fluffiest blankets or buy a couple new throw pillows.
- Make comforting warm foods and drinks: hot cocoa, tea, soup, cookies, breads, etc.
- Create a fall-themed movie list: You’ve Got Mail, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Rudy, The Village, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and anything else that gives you fall feels.
- Decorate your house with autumnal garlands, wreaths, and flowers.
Fall is a time of endings and beginnings — old chapters closed and new ones opened. And the natural-world transitions of the season can inspire the same kind of introspection that New Years is supposed to. Take advantage of these impulses to review your year. Think about the goals you accomplished, the lessons you learned, the places you went, and the people you met. Think about your hardships and triumphs. Reflect on how you’ve grown and how you want to continue to grow.
- Take your journal where you can be alone with your thoughts: a park bench, church, or by a nearby lake or beach. Write whatever comes to mind.
- Go to peaceful places for prayer — a cemetary, a chapel, a grotto, or a special spot in the woods.
- Take time to remember the departed as you embark on a new season of life. Light a candle on All Souls Day, include the souls in purgatory when you pray, and pay homage to any friends or family who may have passed. Allow yourself to grieve any pain in your life and hold onto hope as you enter into the Advent and Christmas season.
The easiest way to fully embrace any season is simply putting the spirit of gratitude into action. Whether you’re making time to appreciate the fall leaves before they’re gone, sipping on a hot drink by the fire, or throwing a party for your closest friends, fall is all about pausing to delight in the present moment before it’s gone. Fall reminds us that today is all we have, and that gratitude for the “basic” things in life ultimately leads to a greater joy.