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.
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.
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.)
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.
(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.
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.
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!
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…
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!