Autumn evokes memories of kicking through crunchy leaves, putting away summer clothes for their woolly counterparts and tucking into steaming pies and crumbles. Slow living encourages us to pause and notice the change of the seasons and the even smaller shifts within each of them. Autumn, or at least the changing colours of the leaves, feels particularly fleeting, but there’s so much to celebrate at this time of year.
Autumn and winter are also the seasons when it comes to hygge, the Danish word for being content and cosy. The Danes, however, would say that this untranslatable word means so much more, underpinning an entire cultural attitude to getting through long, dark winters. As the evenings draw in, we’ve gathered some of our favourite ideas for slowing down and savouring the best of autumn.
Slow Activity Ideas this Season: Slowing Down in Autumn
Make the Most of Autumnal Seasonal Eating
Late summer and October sees an abundance of colourful produce being picked and stored ready for seasonal recipes. Think apples, marrows, blackberries, sloes, squashes, pumpkins and wild mushrooms. Autumn is great time for seasonal eating and embracing slow food. Keen cooks will see light salads make way for hearty, warming soups, pies and crumbles.
More seasonal eating inspiration:
- What’s in season in October?
- Our pick of the best seasonal recipe books
Spend a Cosy Staycation off the Beaten Track
Autumn conjures picturesque scenes of cabins in the woods and bracing walks bundled up in knits and scarves. Opting for a slow travel trip off the beaten track is a great opportunity for a digital detox. This means taking a break from screens, living in the moment and being fully present. Autumn is a particularly restorative season.
Make Seasonal Interior Styling Shifts
One of the joys of living seasonally is to reflect the changing seasons within your home. Throughout the summer, we love to arrange slow flowers, homegrown or locally sourced cut flowers, in various vases and jars. Over the colder months, swap these for seed heads, dried grasses and rustic wreaths. Choose architectural stems, such as dried hydrangeas and teasels. Changing the scents in your home is another simple way to reference a new season. Musky fragrances with spicy, woody undertones epitomise autumn.
Plant Spring Bulbs
Slow gardening is about enjoying all seasons in the garden and seeing your plot as a wonderfully wild work in progress. Bulbs, which take months to appear, are an ideal ode to slow gardening. During autumn you have the opportunity to plant something to look forward to in the spring. The cheerful colours of tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers will be worth the wait after the dark winter months.
Create an Autumnal Tablescape
You don’t need a special occasion to create a tablescape or table setting. It’s an opportunity to exercise some creativity and celebrate the season with loved ones. A tablescape requires depth and texture in materials, a carefully considered blend of seasonal shades, and natural elements such as leaves and dried flowers, all arranged at differing heights.
- Visit our autumn tablescapes board on Pinterest for more inspiration.
Practise Seasonal, Mindful Baking
When it’s hot outside, baking a decadent cake may not be your first activity of choice. Though when the temperature starts to drop, filling your home with the sweet scent of something cinnamon-infused is hard to beat. Baking is also mindful and slow in its nature, especially if you’re working with dough and waiting for it to prove and rise. Autumn evokes warm cups of tea or coffee accompanied by sticky cinnamon buns or cakes filled with apples and pears.
For seasonal birthday celebrations, we recommend this twist on a classic Victoria sponge – salted caramel and poached pear cake.
Visit an Arboretum
“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence
Crunching through leaves and admiring the colours of the falling canopy are some of the best moments of autumn. Plus, where there is damp, dense woodland, there are also usually mushrooms to spot. Make time for getting outdoors to enjoy these fleeting moments and the atmospheric, misty mornings. Linger for longer with a hot cup of tea or coffee from a flask.
Visiting an arboretum is an ideal way to enjoy the autumnal colours – some of the most most celebrated in the UK are Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, The Yorkshire Arboretum and Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey.
Spend Evenings by Candlelight
It’s helpful to switch to softer, warmer lights an hour or two before bed, signalling to your body that it’s time to wind down. Candles give off a much warmer light and can help encourage calm. Take a bath, read, or dine by candlelight and enjoy the soft glow of the flickering flame. Just remember to opt for toxic-free candles, avoiding paraffin wax based products for a more sustainable choice.
New to the slow living movement? Read more on how to slow down.