embrace fall

5 Ways to Embrace Fall for Some Well-Deserved Wellness

I love fall. I do. But, this year I felt like summer was just gone too quickly.

I’m thankful that Portland winters are mild compared to the sub-zero temps I experienced in Wisconsin for five years.

wisconsin winter

Yet, the rain and grey rolled in early this year and I felt like I had been cheated.

Hold the phone…No more reading on the patio on a weekend afternoon with iced tea? Sure, I could do that now. But I’d be shivering on our soggy outdoor rug, ruining my book and spilling iced tea all over myself AND the book—soaking everything (because it wasn’t wet enough already).

Clearly this was the first autumn I wasn’t super pumped about, and I tried to figure out what the hell the problem was. It happens every year…get over it.

portland bridge

Well, I kept hanging onto a season that had passed. And it was messing with me.

I finally decided to embrace fall instead of pretending it wasn’t here to stay. In case any of you are feeling the “Fall Blues” like I was, here are a few things that worked for me.

1. Embrace Fall in the Kitchen

The same food you ate all summer isn’t going to cut it—both logistically with trying to grill in the wind and rain, and physically with your body craving comfort and warmth.

(Here are some awesome fall recipes from my gal, Laura at Food: A Love Story.)

crockpot

Buy a cooking treat

I’m leery about buying too many kitchen contraptions, but finally I shelled out $30 for a crockpot to make weeknight meals easier on us. Everybody around me was intrigued and annoyed by my excitement, which included hugging the box when it arrived.

crockpot recipes

However my Instagram posse understood and saluted my first crockpot recipe, breaking all previous records of social engagement with this soul-soothing kale white bean soup.

(Psst…Want to obsess over crockpot recipes with me? Follow my What a Crock! board on Pinterest.)

Rethink your healthy staples

I often depend on smoothies and salads for a health boost, but when it gets colder, I just can’t. There are still ways to enjoy them with a few seasonal tweaks—like a pumpkin smoothie bowl and a warm spinach salad.

pumpkin smoothie

If you’re still feeling greens deprivation, take Chlorella tablets. I bought them for travel, but I’ve been taking one a day since my fall diet changed to make sure I’m still getting ample greens.

Tea up

No matter what you do, energy levels are bound to get low. And like me, you might find you have developed a late morning AND afternoon cup of coffee habit on top of your morning cup. Whoa, girl!

loose leaf tea

Stock up on tea—and perhaps a fancy new tea kettle—so you have plenty of herbal goodies to brew when you need a more subtle pick-me-up with bonus health benefits.

2. Embrace Fall in the Bath

Spices and oils aren’t just for your fall diet, they’re perfection for your skin too. Now is one of the best excuses to slow down and experiment with some R&R.

Pumpkin face mask

It never fails that I have leftover pumpkin from some dessert that only calls for a little. Oooh, pumpkin spice molasses cookies

pumpkin spice cookies

Rather than letting the leftover pumpkin spoil in my fridge, I mixed it with other gentle ingredients in my kitchen and slapped it on my face. A girlfriend of mine was horrified when I talked about this homemade mask, because she had used harsh chemical editions before.

This one works on my sensitive skin,  but test a small patch for a short duration to see how it goes.

Create your own spa

The amount of yoga and spa props in our tiny apartment might be funny to some, but I’m willing to give up closet retail space for my puffy friend, Bolster, any day. I recently picked up a bigger body version of an eye pillow I love, but instead of storing in the freezer, you nook this one in the microwave.

Nothing needs to hurting or sore to enjoy it—the wrap just feels really good to have concentrated warmth on your belly or feet while you read, write, or lounge aimlessly.

Incorporate some Ayurveda

Oil pulling? Tongue scraping? Neti pot? Oil massage? These are all practices of Ayurveda and I’m a big fan of them for routine self-care. Abhyanga oil massage is one of the most decadent things you can do for your body, using warm oil to soothe your skin, muscles, and joints.

To fight nasal dryness, I stepped up my game this year with Nasya oil—which has greatly helped stuffiness in my sinuses when I do this at night. I can actually breathe when I wake up, even before my morning Neti time.

3. Embrace Fall in the Elements

You can either fight seasonal changes, or sync up with them. And while shelter may seem like the best idea, nothing beats being one with nature in the fall.

(Read Andrea’s beautiful fall descriptions over at Harvesting Hecate to get in the mood.)

Exercise outside

Whenever I’m feeling especially cranky about the rain, I get my sorry ass outside for a run. Being out in the elements makes me feel better about it, versus trying to avoid the inevitable cold.

rain running

Plus, when you’re splashing through puddles you feel like a kid again—but to everyone else, you look like a bit of a bad ass.

Listen to everything

Autumn sounds are undeniably lovely, from the crunch of leaves beneath your feet to the chuckles of the squirrels as they dash in front of you with their loot. It’s truly one of nature’s masterpieces when you stop and look around. Everything is changing and turning inward, just like we are.

forest park fall

Be young at heart

Go ahead and jump in a pile of leaves (you know you want to!). Carve a pumpkin, dress up for Halloween—stop being such an adult all the time and play.

4. Embrace Fall in the Ensemble

The fading memory of simple summer clothing can be jarring when you’re grasping for the fluffiest blanket. Getting dressed seems more complicated than it was before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Shop ‘til you drop

Kidding. You don’t need to break the bank, but buying a couple of new pieces can lift your spirits. I immediately felt frumpy as I layered up—enter sassy new rain jacket and these fabulous wedge sneakers.

sneaker booties

Change out your closet

Pining over that flirty summer dress isn’t helping. While there are some pieces you can layer to get more mileage out of them, fall is really the time to look as crisp as the leaves outside. Rich colors and cozy structure will align you with nature’s will.

Invest in amazing socks

Slippers are typically made of synthetic materials that get icky as your feet overheat. Mr. H and I bought alpaca socks last March when we visited San Juan Islands. I had never spent $25 on a pair of socks in my life, but they are the best.

alpaca farm

They are the only fabric that shields us from our first floor apartment floors, they are the perfect temp (not too hot or cold), and basically your feet feel like they’re being hugged. Thanks, alpaca friends!

5. Embrace Fall in the Chill

By “chill” I mean don’t overdo it. The changes of fall can be quite a shock to the system already, so take the time to turn inward instead of trying to maintain the energy and commitments you had in the warmer months.

Enjoy a little couch time

In the warmer months, besides our faux leather sofa sticking to my bare legs, lounging around the house doesn’t happen much because it just feels wrong.

When the blankets come out and the cats launch into cuddle mode, give yourself permission to catch up on books and movies. If you’re a creative type, think of this as “inspiration time” not a waste of time.

cats on suitcase

Hunker down at home

For me, the fall transition basically went a little something like this: Italy, San Francisco, sick as a dog. I hadn’t had an epic three-day migraine in years, but it hit me the week after I got back from a conference.

nurse cat

Migraines are my body’s way of saying “stop.” And, it works. Traveling this time of year can amplify the ungrounded feeling, so especially at the turn of the season, a smoother transition means staying at home to explore the previously mentioned tips.

Let things go

It seemed like right after Labor Day weekend, summer vanished in the business world for me. Everyone came back from vacation, full throttle, and I got swept up in the “must do everything perfectly and immediately” mode. Don’t.

A more laid back approach is something you should hang onto from the warmer months. Unnecessary stress will drain you, and this time of year the immune system is working harder anyway. Let it go…get your cuddle on, or take a walk in the beautiful scenery and breathe.

fall hike

Since making an effort to embrace fall, I have been much happier and relaxed. For the go-getters out there, I think this time of the year can be especially tough because we are being asked to slow down. Slowing down is a good thing—a chance to take care of ourselves for a change.

Do you have any good tips for embracing fall? I’d love to hear them…go!

31 thoughts on “5 Ways to Embrace Fall for Some Well-Deserved Wellness

  1. Letizia says:

    My friend was just telling me I should buy a crockpot, haha! She said she couldn’t live without it. We don’t even have a microwave so I’m hesitant but your soup looks so good. I love autumn; the cooler days, the changing colours, the cozy nights! Lovely post, Britt.

    • Clanmother says:

      Oh Letitia. I love our crockpot!! It makes the best soups – perfect for autumn and winter. And the most important thing to remember – Crockpots do most of the work so that you can read more books! Another great post, Britt!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      In Wisconsin we were weirdos for not owning a crockpot. Seriously, the females gasped when I admitted I didn’t have one!

      I could live without a microwave and did for years before we moved here. But, the crockpot is pretty badass. As Rebecca said, it frees up your time to enjoy other things. You still have the prep time, but that’s about it!

  2. Ally Bean says:

    I’m on Team Crockpot. I adore how easy it is to make delicious low fat soups and stews. Plus I like having the kitchen cleaned up hours before dinner is ready. I’ve been trying get my closet in gear for fall, but our weather is on a hot/cold rollercoaster right now. I love fall, but some weeks…

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Team Crockpot! Let’s get t-shirts. It really does make life easier, but the bonus is how good the house smells all day. By the time dinner is ready, the anticipation is ridiculous!

      Yeah, we had the back and forth. In fact, I busted out some flip flops from my storage container yesterday because it was in the 60s and sunny. I was happy to do that though! 😉

  3. Les Petits Pas de Juls says:

    I have no tips to embrace fall… as this is one of the seasons I lived the less. Living in southern France, the weather never really changes that much (it gets colder, sure, but not rainier) and now that I’m back in Mexico, well… it doesn’t even get colder! (summer storms hit more often, though, but I still call them “summer” storms).

    I like your tips, though. And, since the temperatures dropped a little in Mexico too (no, not that much, we can still go to the beach… I know, I’m the bitch!) and we just bought a brand new cooking stove, I’ll be cooking and baking and brewing tea!!!! I’m also arranging the house so it feels cozier and we can have friends over.
    So, if and when, all the tips above don’t do the trick anymore, you know where to come and cuddle! 😉

    Enjoy the fall!!

  4. diannegray says:

    I bought a crockpot last winter and it’s fabulous! It never really gets cold where I live, but I still make good use of it anyway. Sorry I don’t have any fall tips – I’ve got loads of summer ones though!

    I love that teapot xxx

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      It’s funny that I held out for this long, since the damn crockpot was only $30. I am super careful about my purchases to avoid bringing in unnecessary tools and appliances though. No shortage of ways to spend our money!

      I love the teapot too. I’ve been wanting a nice one for a while…makes me feel fancy. xo

  5. joey says:

    I love fall, and never miss summer, although like you, I do miss summer’s wonderfully fresh bounty of foods. I also don’t enjoy paying so much to eat fruits and veggies all winter, but I can’t do life on meat and potatoes, sooo…
    Love your wedge sneakers! Fall clothes are THE BEST! I got new booties, but I’ve only gotten to wear them once, and then it was back to sandals. Then one day into poncho and loafers, then back to sandals. This weather hasn’t made up its mind yet.
    I hate cleaning the crock pot, and I think the new ones all overcook. I miss that old brown mushroom crock pot that I was stupid enough to give away so I could buy a shiny new one. When I realized how hot it ran, I tried a different brand. I have now given away THREE crock pots. And yes I’m very old, lol! I prefer to use my Dutch Oven for the same effect, but it’s much easier to clean.
    Unlike most other people, I am more active when it’s cool, so I enjoy longer walks and hiking this time of year. But the day will come when hot yoga sounds good — like mid January.
    You sound like you do fall right 😀

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Because of the lack of sunshine here, I think summer has become more important to me than it used to. Still not a huge fan of the heat, but I’m foolishly happy when I get some blue skies and 70-degree weather. Must be the Cali girl in me!

      Fall clothes are the best. It’s tough when the weather goes back and forth, because you never know what to wear. I’ve been doing a lot of t-shirts under rain jackets—sweaters are WAY too warm still.

      This crockpot is pretty painless Little bulky for our small kitchen, but it’s a worthy addition. You sound like you do fall right too, doll!

  6. Sheila says:

    I’m going to have to try those recipes – thank you! The soup and the cookies look perfect for this time of year. I’m craving them like crazy now. 🙂 You also reminded me that I have to find my alpaca socks. I haven’t seen them since last winter. I know what you mean about summer fading too fast and it’s especially tough when the days get shorter. I do love fall though for all the chances for coziness. I’ll miss reading out on the porch, but reading inside under a nice warm blanket while warming up some apple cider or hot chocolate sounds pretty good too. Happy Fall!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      You bet, doll! I’ve been on Pinterest A LOT lately, between the cold weather recipes and need for wardrobe inspiration. Alpaca socks are amazing, aren’t they? I don’t know what it is, but they knock my socks off every time. 😉

      Agreed. The coziness is a nice trade. Now I want apple cider and hot chocolate. Happy Fall, babe!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Haha, yes. Just read your piece! I agree that seasonal changes are important for creativity. Sounds like you should spend a month at a fall destination every year. Have you tried that? Hole up in an AirbBnB or cabin somewhere up north? 😉

      • Sean P Carlin says:

        Almost all of my family is still in NYC, so I have occasion to get back there once or twice a year. I’m definitely reaching a point, though, where it is no longer enough to have a week of autumn here or a week of winter there; I want to get back to a four-season climate full-time. Till then, at least I’ve got John Carpenter and Bram Stoker and Stephen King to chill my blood! Happy Halloween!

  7. Roy McCarthy says:

    Nice post Britt. Yes to running in the rain (Andrea’s post was excellent wasn’t it?) but I’ll pass on the pumpkin face mask.

    My apartment overlooks Jersey’s south coast and nothing is cosier than having the weather rage against the balcony doors while I do a bit of writing or whatever.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      No pumpkin mask, Roy? You don’t know what you’re missing! Andrea’s posts are always excellent, aren’t they? 😉

      Sounds like an amazing view. The moody weather is great for creative time…little harder for me to want to be motivated to do actual work though! That’s when I’m ready for a good book or movie.

  8. Andrea Stephenson says:

    Autumn seemed to take a while to begin this year but then it seemed to rush in and leave me in its wake a little. It’s only now that I’m really appreciating the ‘autumness’ of it – autumn recipes including my first pumpkin pie, the gorgeous show of the leaves, the first chill in the air, the stars looking so clear in the crisp light before dawn….Thanks so much for the honourable mention Britt!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Autumn definitely rushed in this year for us. We had indian summers the past two years. But, embracing it with recipes and appreciating nature are just the ticket.

      You’re welcome, love!

  9. Laura Plumb says:

    there is so much here to love – hugging your crockpot, beautiful china teapot, darling boyish bob, and the cat sleeping on your head. thanks for the reminders to stay warm and full of joy!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Awesome, Laura! The cat sleeping on my head is really where it’s at.

      Hey, I tried sending an email to what I thought was your address a couple of weekends ago. Wanted to see if you would be interested in being a Life Enthusiast on the blog.

      I’ll see if I can message you on one of your social channels, so we can chat more. xo

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