Hello hello, and welcome to episode 9 of Life On the Brink!
Autumn is here! It's very much so here.
Josh and I took a little impromptu honeymoon to Disney World a couple weeks ago, and after a few days of Florida sun, we returned home on October 31 to discover that the autumn chill had settled in Virginia while we were gone.
Since then I've been sort of analyzing how my routine can adjust with the new season, and today I'm sharing some daily rituals that I have either implemented already, or am looking forward to starting this season to really soak up all the warm cozies that autumn has to offer. Each season is different, and they each call for different routines so that our day-to-day lives are as comforting and energizing as they can be, while celebrating the season we're in.
1.Not looking at my phone: at least for the first hour or so. This is one that I'm just starting, and it's not quite a habit yet. Even if I have an alarm on my phone or need to check the weather, I'm trying to avoid checking emails, social media, Youtube, etc. until I've had a chance to assess where I am that day. It can be a lot to take in first thing in the morning, and I personally am able to let a lot of my time go to waste in those first few hours by just looking at all those different apps.
I've been trying it this week, and I really do like it. I feel like I have a lot more time than I did before, and I'm able to be more present as I greet the day. Lately I've been getting up when Josh does (at about 6:00) to avoid an alarm, and start by getting ready for the day, drinking water, reading and praying, and if I do use my phone it's only to check the ever-changing Virginia weather or to do a little at-home yoga practice. Once I feel like my routine is more complete and I know where I am that day, maybe around breakfast, I'll check out what's going on online. And I've found that even then I tend to spend less time on my phone because I already have a bit of momentum to the day. This is one I'm going to try to stick with as we move into winter, as I feel it's going to be really great overall once the habit sticks.
2.Mozart in the Morning: I don't tend to listen to a lot of music for someone who studied it and has made a career around it. I do a lot of things in silence, or I'll listen to podcasts, and if I need background music to work to, Disney parks background loops are my go-to. Lately, though, I've really been enjoying some classical music to begin my day. Mozart is energizing without being overwhelming, and even though I'm typically a Romantic era or Impressionist type of lady, this Classical music has hit just right.
Here's my tip: if you have a small speaker, or even just your phone, bring the music into the bathroom if you're a morning shower person. It's just the loveliest, liveliest shower you'll ever have.
3.Walking: I am someone who generally puts the idea of "exercise" into the morning routine, mostly so that I can shower afterwards before I do anything else. While to usually do some kind of yoga every morning, I haven't been walking as much since I moved, which I attribute mostly to the summer heat. So with the new autumn season, I've found that an afternoon walk is a wonderful thing for me. It's cool enough outside that you can really stop whatever you're doing and just go for a quick walk, without it feeling like a sweaty "workout" kind of walk. I generally just like to lead an active lifestyle, rather than subscribe to a workout plan.
My suggestion: leave the earbuds at home. I've found that the midday or mid-afternoon walk is perfect for when your brain is a little squishy from working or studying, or maybe you've just got home from work or an outing, and the best way to maximize that walk is to just take in your surroundings. Rather than music or podcasts, I like to just breathe deep and notice the sounds around me. It's a refreshing change that raises the heartrate a bit, helps ground me in the moment, and is great to help soothe a headache. It's also nice to leave technology throughout the day and just take a little time to be present. A walk around my apartment complex (a little over a mile) takes about 20-25 minutes, depending on how many leaves you crunch, and it does a world of good for me.
4.Reading: I used to be such an avid reader as a child and in high school, but sadly fell out of habit while I was in college. All those little in-between moments that are perfect for reading a few pages here and there were spend on assignments or in the practice room, and since graduation I've been trying steadily to get back into the habit. I had a goal to read 15 books in 2019 and that didn't happen, and it doesn't look like it'll happen in 2020 either (in my defense, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is almost 900 pages long), but I'm on my way.
On thing that I think has held me back is the fact that I've mostly been saving fictional reading as an end-of-day winddown activity. The problem for me, though, is that I fall asleep very easily and I don't end up reading very much at night. I think I feel like I need to do a days work before I can sit down to a book (never mind all the apps that I'm ok with distracting me throughout the day), so once I recognized that I decided to let myself indulge in a book during the day. Maybe a little in the middle of the day, or that little pocket of time around 4:00 or 5:00 when I'm done working but not quite ready to start my evening. It's such a wonderful cold weather activity, so especially as we're heading into winter I want to get back into this wonderful, comforting habit.
**In case you need a book to help get back into reading, I highly recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's one of my favorite books of all time and it's such a perfect atmospheric, autumnal read.**
5.Tea: It should come as no surprise at this point that I'm going to talk about tea at every opportunity. If you're new to tea, check out Episode 6 on all the essentials, it'll help get you started. So how is this a new daily practice for me? Well, I have a cup of tea almost every morning either with breakfast or very early in the morning, but now I'm branching out into multiple cups of tea throughout the day. Yes, MORE TEA! It's sad that the tradition of afternoon tea is not part of modern American culture, cause it's perfect. Some time around 3:00 or so, a little cup of tea does wonders, whether or not you have a sweet accompaniment next to it (Josh and I made pumpkin bread over the weekend).
I've been making a practice of a second cup of tea during the afternoon, maybe something lighter like an herbal tea, or just something different from what I had that morning. Taking that little bit of time to revitalize yourself in the middle of the day is a beautiful gesture of self-care, and cold weather calls for warm drink. Combine that with a few chapters in your book and you have the perfect afternoon respite.
6.SOUP: Wow, soup in fall, what an idea! This is nothing new. The weather cools down and the ovens turn up. Everyone loves a nice bowl of warm soupy goodness in the colder months, myself included, but the thing I have really come to appreciate this autumn season is making soup from scratch. And I mean, so many soups. As it's my first fall since I left home, and as I do most of the cooking for Josh and myself, I've been able to branch out into so many different new recipes. Seriously, soup is so easy to make and so GOOD. And even though I'm finally figuring out how to use the slow cooker effectively, I really like the experience of cooking over my Dutch oven with my wooden spoon and putting all that love into the soup.
No premade soup is going to be nearly as good, and soup is so wonderful for leftovers. It's so easy to make it in large quantities, and with so many different kinds of soups, the possibilities will last me all through fall and winter.
Here are some of my favorite soup recipes at the moment:
7.Going to bed earlier: This is something that has been part of my routine for the past few months, partially because Josh is usually up by 6:00 to go to work, so we tend to go to bed a little earlier. And especially if you've had a nice walk in the afternoon and then read a few pages in bed, you're well on your way to a lovely night of deep sleep. Since Daylight Savings ended a few weeks ago, the sky is dark so early, and while I'm still getting used to that, I think it's only natural that we get a little more sleepy a little earlier. It's what our bodies need during this time of year.
I'm sure I'm not alone in doing that thing where I'm tired but also too lazy to get ready for bed and actually go to sleep. Instead I'll distract myself with anything until I'm just so exhausted. Lately, though, at least 3-4 nights a week I will just get ready whenever I'm tired, and we usually end up asleep around 10:00. It's nice to be intentional about taking care of myself and making sure I'm well rested each day.
And there is your autumn day! These are 7 daily practices I'm bringing into my routine to max out my enjoyment of the fall season. Of course, you can light the candles and break out the warm blankets as well (though that's a year-round habit for me). These are just some changes to the routine that I feel have helped the days feel a little more comforting and cozy, and still filled with the energy that I need to work and to enjoy.
Do you have any practices that you're embracing this season? Leave a comment in the box below and let me know what changes you're making! Let me know how it's benefited you so we can share.
It seems like everyone is really pushing for Christmas this year, but until at least Thanksgiving I'm holding onto autumn, because it's so beautiful in it's own right.
This Week's Little Joy: I finally had my family over for Family Dinner at the apartment. Just my parents, two of my grandparents, and my two younger siblings. It was sort of the first time that Josh and I had that kind of meal with family in our home, and it was lovely. I've been dreaming since I was a child of entertaining people in a home of my own, and while I hope to have scores of elaborate dinner parties with menu planning and all that, this was a simple family dinner prepared by myself, my mom, and my grandma.
I even got to make them tea! Most of my teacups rarely see the light of day, so I love breaking them out. I made a fun tea preparation that has been a favorite of mine as of late. I'll brew a loose-leaf jasmine oolong tea with fresh mint from our garden. It's so refreshing, and went perfect with dessert. It was a lovely evening, the first of many in this home.
What I'm Listening To:
This is the Mozart playlist that I have been enjoying during my mornings. It's fun and light, and though I haven't gotten to the Bach section yet, I'm looking forward to that as well.
There's one random track of Tchaikovsky (treasure hunt), but the rest is good ol' Amadeus.
I hope you're doing well, friends, and you're taking good care!
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Be on the lookout for warm holiday fun, this Christmas is much needed and will be beautifully celebrated. Until next time, stay warm and have a lovely week!