It’s officially fall! Some of our favorite activities can’t be done or have to be a little different now, but that doesn’t have to stop you from having a lovely fall at home. I know that autumn is a lot of people’s favorite season, and this year doesn’t have to be totally different just because there’s a pandemic. You can still create a fall bucket list that you can complete entirely at home!
The goal is to focus on the positives. The things that you like and make you feel good. To me, fall is a time to start bundling up and getting cozy. It’s the start of a nesting time that will last through the winter, so I want to make it a really nice thing.
Lately, fall has become a very aesthetic-focused, pumpkin spice-flavored thing. And if that’s what you like, great! But I think it can also be more of a feeling. A sense of contentment and gratitude and comfort. I’d like to share some ideas for your fall bucket list. Some of them are traditional seasonal activities, but another part is a focus on self-care and slowing down. Maybe they aren’t all things to check off a list, but rather some intentions for where you want to devote your energy for the next few months.
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Five Ideas for Your At-Home Fall Bucket List
1. Make your space cozy – seriously
This doesn’t just mean décor for fall, but it also means intentionally creating a space that brings you all the cozy feelings. We’ll be spending a lot more time inside as the weather gets colder, so our indoor spaces are even more important.
You can go all out, maybe you have boxes of decorations for Halloween and fall, and you always pick and carve a bunch of pumpkins. But it doesn’t have to be expensive! Especially right now, there’s a joy to be found in making do with what you already have. Maybe you already have enough decorations, so you don’t need to buy anything new.
On top of décor, your space should make you feel at peace, but you might need to put in some work to get to that point. If the clutter in your room is stressing you out, spend some time organizing and go for a more minimal look. I don’t have many fall decorations for my apartment, but I still make it work. I make my space cozier by adding some extra candles, pillows, and blankets. All of the lamps have warm-toned bulbs in them, and I love the Himalayan salt lamp on my nightstand.
It doesn’t have to be the traditional fall aesthetic to be cozy, just go with what you enjoy instead of what you think that fall décor should look like.
2. Do something good for someone else
This is such a worthwhile activity. I know that this is usually something that comes up more around Thanksgiving and the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start early! People need help year-round, not just during the holidays.
Some examples of things you can do are donating money, food, or clothes, and doing good deeds for the people around you. Maybe you have a neighbor that could use some help. You could send a nice letter or text to someone you love. It’s a pretty safe bet that it would make their day! Two easy places to get started are your local food pantry and organizations that support communities in need. There are plenty of ways to help from home.
Colder weather and shorter days can be hard on everyone. I definitely don’t have all the answers about how to feel better, but I know that helping someone else always makes me feel good.
Being at home all the time can make it easier to forget that there are plenty of people struggling. Doing something charitable helps us look beyond ourselves and make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
3. Read a fall book
The story doesn’t have to take place in the fall, but it can! Try to find a book that’s cozy or comforting to you, or spooky and scary if you’re into that. Maybe read something in your favorite genre or reread an old favorite.
It’s easy enough to just sit down and read (or listen to an audiobook), but I think the real magic happens when you make it a bit of a treat. Get comfy with a blanket, light a candle, make a cup of tea, and play some background music. I’ve discovered a whole world of ambient noise soundscapes on YouTube. A lot of them are very specific vibes that have fun mixes of sounds like ‘autumn river sounds’ or ‘cozy cabin ambiance’ with rain and crackling fire sounds. So nice for reading or anything else that requires focus.
Reading can be a great part of self-care and, depending on the genre, a way to wind down before bed. I’ve got the books that I’ll be reading this month listed with my goals, but I also have a few other books to recommend!
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V. E. Schwab is one that’s been talked about by almost every booktuber that I watch, and the feedback is generally good. It follows a young woman who makes a deal to live forever – with the condition that she’ll be forgotten by everyone she meets. She lives this way for 300 years until a man finally remembers her. I haven’t read this one myself, but it sounds like such an interesting idea!
Insomnia by Stephen King, or pretty much anything else that he’s written. Insomnia happens to be one of my favorites, but his books are great for when you’re looking for something weird and scary. I’d say that fall is the best time to be reading Stephen King.
Wow, No Thank You. By Samantha Irby is such a fun read. Irby has a hilarious way of telling stories that’s equal parts self-deprecating and relatable. I laughed out loud more than once while I was reading this book. I completely understand the desire to seek out funny and light content during these stressful times, and Wow, No Thank You., or either of Irby’s other two books would be the place to start.
4. Make your favorite fall recipe
It doesn’t even have to be a fall-specific recipe. Maybe there’s something that reminds you of autumn, or just make your favorite food in general! It could be a hearty comfort food dinner, a warm drink, or some baked goods.
I love hot coffee in a cute mug and apple pie. For me, I enjoy the experience of baking the pie more than actually eating it, lol. In college, my boyfriend and I had a tradition of going apple picking every year. We would make a date of it: we’d walk around and enjoy all the sights of the orchard and farm and it was always a lovely day. Then, we’d go home and make the apple pie together. It was a welcome break from all the stress of homework, and apple pie is still a favorite of mine because of that.
We’re not going apple picking this year, but we still got a bag of apples at the grocery store, which is close enough. We plan to make the pie together soon, and I’m sure it’ll be a fun time.
Food is something that can be so comforting. It can hold a lot of memories and help us be closer to people that we may not be able to physically see right now. Instead of cooking together in person, maybe you can set up a time to video call and make a recipe with a friend or family member. It’s all about working with what we’ve got and making some delicious food!
5. Carve a pumpkin
Or insert any other fall tradition that you have! There are plenty of grocery stores and hardware stores that are selling pumpkins, so you can still get one even if going to a pumpkin patch isn’t possible this year. And it can still be a social occasion. Have a virtual pumpkin-carving party with a video call instead of getting together in person.
Finding a way to safely do one or a few of the usual things that you enjoy will make these times feel less strange and more cozy. Staying at home means making some sacrifices, but you don’t have to give up everything.
Memories will certainly be different this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become good memories that we look back on later. I know that I want to look back on this year and know that we made the most of the situation that we’re in, and that we found a way to be festive and safe.
September 2020 Goal Reflection
Goal #1: Finish two books
I’m usually successful with my reading goals, and September was no different! I finished two audiobooks and one physical book this month.
The audiobooks were The Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis. I’m right in the middle of my reread of the Narnia series, and I’m loving it. Maybe it’s that they’re children’s stories or the soothing British voices of the narrators, but these books have been so comforting to listen to. They really help with my morning anxiety while I get ready for work, and I’m super grateful for that.
The other book was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. One of the best chapters was the little notes that she wrote to everyone on the Parks and Recreation cast. I love that show and it was so fun to hear some behind the scenes stories about it. Amy also had a lot of other stories and life advice to share which I really appreciated. Actor/celebrity books are definitely not something that I want to read all the time, but it was a good book nonetheless.
Goal #2: Join group boards/Tailwind tribes
It was a pretty big success on the Tailwind Tribes front! In case you’ve never heard of it, Tailwind is a popular Pinterest scheduling tool. In addition to scheduling, Tailwind also has Tribes that allow people to connect and share pins with others who make similar content. If you’re interested, you can check out a free trial for Tailwind for yourself!
I’ve given up on group boards for now, which are the equivalent of Tribes on Pinterest itself. I was tired of spending time looking for active boards, applying for them, and then hearing nothing back. I sent so many requests and never got a response on any of them. At some point, I realized that it wasn’t a good use of my time, and there were other things I could be doing to get better results.
Instead, I spent that time looking for tribes to join and got pretty immediate results with that. It was easier to find active groups to join, and the ones that required a request to join all responded within a few days. I was able to start sharing quickly and reaching larger audiences, which felt very gratifying. I also love repinning content from people that I know are active and taking things seriously because we can all help each other succeed.
In terms of analytics, my impressions went from 16k in August to 213k for September, which was super exciting! This was mostly due to one pin going viral, but I think tribes were another big part of that increase. I also started gaining followers more regularly. I didn’t do anything specific to get more followers, but it’s a nice bonus.
Goal #3: Gratitude practice
My goal was to make a gratitude list 4 times per week, for a total of 16 lists in September, and I did exactly that! I didn’t stick to that strict schedule, but it evened out to the amount that I was aiming for.
This is something that I do because I know it works for me. I know that I always feel better when I take the time to write down what I’m grateful for, even if I’ve had a bad day. It’s a chance for me to change my perspective and stop focusing on the negatives so much, which is crucial for my mental health.
I make my writing as relaxing as I can. I write before bed, in my dedicated notebook, with fun colored pens. Listening to calming music or background is another thing I started doing while I write, and it really helps me to slow down.
On top of being beneficial for my mental health, gratitude lists are a way for me to remember what I’m doing. Especially in quarantine, the days tend to blur together. Keeping a record like this will help me look back on these times and remember what I was up to in my little apartment. I like to think that one day, these times will be fond memories. Not because everything that happened was good, but because I tried really hard to focus on self-care and things that make me happy.
Goal #4: Start brainstorming gift ideas
A success! And something that I highly recommend. Obviously, I don’t have all of my holiday gift ideas figured out just yet, but I’m off to a good start. I keep my ideas in a note in Evernote, with a list for each person. You could keep your list anywhere that’s easily accessible and that you’ll remember to use.
I’ve ordered a few presents, but mostly I just have ideas. I love coming up with the perfect gift idea, but I know that I’m not good at it when I’m under pressure. That’s why I start so early, to give my subconscious enough time to work. It’s also good to have a list ready early in case someone mentions something they might want. It’s so satisfying to give your loved one a gift that they wanted but didn’t ask for.
I think it’s also worth noting that the holidays are probably going to look a lot different this year for most people. Presents are obviously not the most important part or the only way to show someone that you love them. I get so much joy from shopping for my friends and family, but it doesn’t compare to how much I love spending time with them, which is what really matters.
October 2020 Goals
Goal #1: Read two books
I have some ideas for this goal, but my plans aren’t set in stone. I have my little TBR shelf, and I might just pick whatever sounds the most interesting. Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry is also at the top of my list right now, which will make more sense when we get to goal #3.
I’ll also probably finish another Narnia book because I really enjoy listening to them in the mornings while I get ready for work. It’s probably a side effect of the whole world situation and stress at work, but it’s really easy to get so overwhelmed with racing thoughts right when I wake up. Having a completely different story to focus on helps me put aside all of those worrying thoughts because they’re not helpful. Basically, books are a key part of my self-care routine!
Goal #2: Gratitude lists
More gratitude lists! Because they’re grounding and something that I look forward to doing. I think that writing 4 times per week was a manageable goal, so I want to aim for that again. And if I end up doing more, that’s even better.
Like forming any kind of habit, it takes time and dedication. You have to figure out how it fits into your routine and make it work for you. I already mentioned it, but the atmosphere of the writing is important for me. To make it more of a self-care activity, I want it to be as cozy as possible.
Goal #3: Make an investment
I’ve gotten to a point where dealing with finances doesn’t scare me the way it used to, and I realized that I could probably benefit from making some investments. But I’m clueless when it comes to investing outside of a retirement account, so I knew that there would be a significant learning curve.
Personally, I don’t like making any financial decisions without totally understanding why I’m doing it, and investing is no different. I want to read Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry and use the knowledge from that book to make my first investment. I don’t really plan to go into detail about it here, but I want to take the first step this month.
Erin’s first book, Broke Millennial, was so helpful last year when I was learning the basics of personal finance. It walks you through getting your financial life together and addresses a lot of issues that people my age probably have questions about, like student loans, budgeting, credit scores, and much more. Financial wellness is another aspect of self-care, so it’s important to acknowledge those things as well!
Goal #4: Enjoy the fall season
This is kind of vague, but I just want to do fall things and really soak in the changing of the seasons. I want to take time to appreciate the weather, the leaves changing color, and all that good stuff.
To be a little more specific, we’ve got our Halloween decorations out in the apartment, and I plan on making the traditional apple pie sometime soon. I also intend to spend as much time as possible under a blanket, because I think that is one of the best places to be. 🙂
I hope you found some inspiration with these at-home fall bucket list ideas! I love sharing these monthly recaps and goal planning sessions.
Let me know what your favorite fall activities are by leaving a comment!
You may also like 7 strategies for achieving your goals or ideas for your next self-care day.
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