I felt it today: the first cool, crisp signs of the cozy fall season to come. After a few brutal weeks of heat and humidity, I’m more than ready for all that’s good and wonderful about this season. Reflecting on falls passed, I’ve always known the September cool-off to be one of the most inspiring transitions. While some hate saying goodbye to the freedom of summer and the easy-breezy beach days that celebrate warm weather, I’ve always felt like my best self wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a candle lit.
Luckily, there’s a term for that: Cozy Girl Fall. Like it sounds, the moniker defines the vibe of the season post- “Hot Girl Summer.” The past several months have meant embracing the idea of hotness in every sense—from saying yes to new adventures to embodying your most confident self. And while we can still be “that girl” in any season, designing our wellness routines looks a little different when the leaves start to fall.
The welcome return of my favorite wellness rituals comes along with Gilmore Girls reruns, knitting marathons, and warm mugs of cider. (I reserve my PSL addiction for candle scents only.) My fall wellness routine keeps my mind settled, my body happy, and my emotional health at peak fall bliss. So, read on for the wellness tips, tricks, and ideas that pair perfectly with a cozy pair of sweats, your favorite fall beverage, and a big embrace of all things Cozy Girl Fall™.
1. Take time to reflect
I’m a stickler for carving out time to connect with myself and take stock before making any changes. As we move away from Hot Girl Summer, the push to gather indoors, layer up your wardrobe, and swap out smoothies for soups can feel like a total 180. While it can be exciting to jump right in, first, give yourself the opportunity to set an intention for where your fall is headed. Is this the season you work on yourself? Do you want to socialize more with friends or perhaps make some new ones? Are there major projects or goals you’d like to get after this fall? I’m all for a good theme, and the same is true for my seasons. Seasons can be a helpful reminder to stay on track and accomplish what you’ve set your sights on. So this fall, try identifying one area you’d like to focus on and stick with it.
2. Do a life edit
After I’ve taken the time to reflect, I feel prepared to do a life edit. I first learned about the practice from the Almost 30 podcast. Essentially, the idea is that a key part of manifestation is clearing the space to prepare for and invite what you really want into your life. Because my summer was filled with lots of travel, a packed social life, and—honestly—overcommitting, I’m entering fall feeling more than a little disorganized and scattered. It applies to all parts of my life—both my physical environment and my headspace.
Setting aside the time to do a life edit in the fall has helped me infuse my routines and schedule with intention. Instead of being bogged down by old stories, people who drain me, and physical objects that no longer resonate with me, I’ve found that everything moves more smoothly now. The desires I’m pursuing enter my life more easily.
I followed the Almost 30 program, but there are simple ways you can do it on your own.
- Divide your life into six different parts: digital, spatial (home life), finance, wellness, mental, and relationships.
- Spend time in each of these areas. Journal about where you’re feeling stressed or blocked in each of them. Reflect on what it would look like for you to feel more confident and at peace within each area.
- From there, take time to sort through everything that relates to each of these parts of your life. Spend a few days clearing out your phone of old text messages, apps you never use, and contacts you’d rather not “accidentally” reach out to late on a Saturday night. Marie Kondo your apartment, understand where your money is going each month, and make a realistic budget. Are there relationships that have run their course? Tackle it all.
- By splitting up your life into these sections and focusing on each, you’ll end your life edit feeling more confident about what you’re keeping and how you’re spending this season.
3. Prioritize workouts that align with your shifting energy
Your body needs different things in different seasons, and we’re meant to adapt—that goes for movement too. Personally, I’m less inclined to do a high-energy HIIT sesh in November than my summer self may have been. Having a Cozy Girl Fall is all about staying true to where your energy, mindset, and emotions are during this time of the year. By all means, follow your natural inclination to get cozy! We’ve ditched the idea that cuddling up and enjoying a good book should be considered lazy. Rest is a key part of wellness.
That being said, it’s still important to connect with joyful workouts and fitness routines that connect you to your body and mind. During the colder months, prioritize gentle yoga flows, Pilates (everyone’s doing it), and slow walks.
4. Double down on your immune-supporting routine
Supporting your immune system is key throughout the year, but with cold and flu season upon us, balancing (not boosting) your immune system is top of mind. I’m not going to lie, though. It feels like everywhere I turn, there’s some supplement or wellness influencer trying to sell me a magical immunity elixir or pill. Needless to say, there’s a lot of info to sift through. We have our work cut for us in trying to separate fact from fiction. So what do I do when wellness feels complicated? I seek out the simplest ways to ensure that my body is getting what it needs. Talk to your doctor about keeping your immune system at its peak this season. Here are some of my go-to tips:
- Eat a whole foods diet that’s rich in vitamins and nutrients. Keep an eye out for carotenoids, B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc, which are especially beneficial for supporting the immune system. Get your 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies, and prioritize whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Explore the wide (and delicious) world of fermented foods. Picks like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and yogurt add tang to your daily diet while aiding immunity.
- Cook with more spices and herbs. Dr. Erin Stokes and Tieraona Low Dog M.D. recommended loading up on flavors like garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, and cinnamon since they are immune-supporting powerhouses.
5. Start a mood-boosting routine
If you are prone to seasonal affective disorder or just feel less energized when the weather gets bleaker, you should start talking to a doctor or therapist now. In addition to seeking professional help, start a mood-boosting routine to help keep you as energized and happy as possible for the months ahead. For example:
- Try light therapy. Get as much sunlight as possible throughout the day—especially first thing upon waking up. (Even sitting by the window can make a difference if it’s too cold to get outside.) If you’re going through cloudy stretches where there’s limited or no sunlight, order a lightbox or light therapy device.
- Lean on a schedule. As someone who has experienced depression apart from seasonal shifts, I can say that sticking to a schedule has been immensely supportive in helping me keep up with everyday activities when I don’t have the energy or desire. What’s more, a schedule can give you things to look for throughout the week that can boost your mood. So while you’ll want to pencil in your working hours, be sure you’re also setting aside time to see your friends, watch a movie, or do another cozy activity that you love.
- Talk to your doctor about your vitamin D intake. Because we absorb vitamin D primarily through sunlight, the season’s darkness can lead to low vitamin D levels. This can, in turn, perpetuate symptoms of SAD. Check your vitamin D levels and talk to your doctor about whether supplementation is right for you.
Remember: Any wellness practice isn’t one-size-fits-all. Experiment with the tools that resonate with you to find what works best.
6. Commit to a weekly self-care date
We’re calling it now: A weekly self-care ritual is the new morning routine. While I find keeping #thatgirl Reels on repeat an inspiring social media habit, the sped-up videos of my favorite influencers running through their morning routines can be a bit intimidating–especially in the fall when we want to sleep in. Enter: a once-a-week meeting with yourself to weave in some wellness and self-care.
While you can do this any day you’d like, I’ve found that my natural fall rhythm sets aside Sunday as my slower, self-care-focused day. (It helps that my partner is tied up with football for 12 hours.) I’ve also found this incredibly helpful in terms of getting over my Sunday scaries. Knowing that I have several hours to spend as I want helps me feel set up to dive into the week ahead. Additionally, I feel refreshed knowing I took time to pour into myself without letting the rush of obligations get in the way.
Some ways you can spend your self-care Sunday during #CozyGirlFall:
- Take your favorite book to a new coffee shop and cozy up for a few hours.
- Take a bath with a stack of your favorite magazines and most luxurious products.
- Hot girl walks are seasonless. Pop in your favorite podcast, bundle up, and get moving.
- Meal-prep cozy and comforting fall meals. I love making soups, cooking grains, and chopping up squash for bowls. (Oh, and don’t forget the dessert.)
- Plow through a few episodes of a new show, and try one of these activities to keep you off your phone while you’re watching.
- Invest some time in a new hobby–punch needle embroidery, anyone?
Of course, it’s also important to carve out time for your daily wellness rituals. But it can be overwhelming to feel like you have to fit it all in during the 30 minutes you have before you log onto work. Remember: Fall is all about embracing our cozy, quiet, and slower lives. You don’t have to do everything to do enough.