Getting ready to hibernate with my autumn essentials: My favorite at-home autumn activities

Woman holding brown dog next to plant shelf

Just like Taylor Swift and pumpkin spice lattes, my powers activate during autumn. ‘Tis the damn season for coziness and cuffing and calm. It’s when all of my grandma hobbies are en vogue: curling up with a good book, knitting blankets with the most basic stitches, sipping chai on blustery evenings, and making stone soup from random leftovers.

There’s something about autumn that feels worn yet beloved, like talking with a close friend you haven’t seen in a while. That’s the kind of feeling I’ve been trying to replicate repeatedly as I grow older and can’t keep up with every trend out there. It’s one of clarity and comfort. (But like, not in a regressive way, you know?) 

My work and personal obligations require me to spend most of my days at home, and cabin fever sometimes pays a visit. But, for the most part, my mood stays relatively even-keeled, thanks to the little routines that I set up and the pleasures that I allow myself. 

Here’s what I like to do on an autumn day inside — besides annoying my dogs, of course. 

Woman in mustard sweater with brown dog
Coco not really appreciating being sequestered for this pic.

Snuggling up in chunky sweaters and kicking it in Crocs

At the peak of the pandemic, I often played dress up while working from home, thanks in large part to my repeated rewatches of The Nanny. That’s not really my  approach anymore. Though I appreciate fashion and clothing quality a lot more now, I’m beginning to find that how I look is the least interesting thing about me. That’s all to say, I’ve been distancing myself from conventional fashion standards to embrace comfort in all its slobby glory. 

Still, autumn attire is très chic while being très comfy! Nothing beats swaddling yourself in a thick sweater on a chilly autumn day. What I love most about my chunky sweaters is that they’re mostly gifts from the people I love! I own a few hand-me-downs from my dad, a couple gifted cardigans from my mom, and a grey cotton cable Gap sweater from my grandma. Not only do they feel physically warm, but they also feel kind of, well, *emotionally* warm. 

Garment rack with outerwear hanging on it
What my immediate closet looks like right now.

I also have a few sweaters that I feel particularly proud of because they were my first semi-splurges from writing money. One of these sweaters is a fuzzy burnt mustard teddy bear sweater with a subtle cable knit from Upwest. It may or may not have my shih tzu’s poop stain camouflaged into it from when he had chronic diarrhea…  

Hand on brown notebook on jeans with green clogs peeping out
Peep the Crocs!

Along with my sweaters, I’m usually wearing my Crocs. (Not sponsored, but I am very keen on the carrot Crocs, if Croc would like to sponsor me.) They come in cute finishes, from strawberry print to Shrek green. I also like the little dots on the sole that make me feel like I’m getting a mini foot massage whenever I wear them!

Stack of books
I hit the jackpot.

Collecting stacks of library books

Note that I said collecting instead of reading library books. I fancy myself an enthusiastic reader, but I borrow way more than I’m capable of finishing in the library’s typical three-week allotment, three months if I max out the renewals. My recent to-read stack of library materials is inordinately big because I’ve harvested enough literary goodies to hibernate at home for a month or so. Last Friday, I picked up three holds at the library and hoarded a couple more — reading is the *epitome* of an indoor autumn activity, so I need to be well-supplied, OK? 

As I grow older, reading has become one of my favorite activities because it allows me to be alone without really being alone. Plus, it nourishes my brain for my work, and I feel productive yet relaxed while doing it. 

Hand on knitting needle working on white blanket
My latest knitting project.

Curling up in cozy blankets

The most promising sign of fall’s arrival is that you no longer sweat on top of your duvet each night and instead start becoming the bottom of a multi-layered blanket crepe cake. And although I try not to make a habit of it, I work from bed on particularly rough days. So it’s nice to always have access to cozy blankets as it gets chillier. (And hey, maybe you chronically need a security blanket like Linus from Peanuts.)

My latest obsession has been working on a blanket knitting project each night while watching old episodes of Will & Grace. During my birthday week, I hand knitted a chunky blanket with Big Twist yarn and started making even more blankets in other colors. If you’re not particularly big on DIY-ing blankets, it’s also the time of year when you can find the cutest seasonal blankets in stores! It’s burnt orange and mustard yellow and woodland creatures and autumn leaf motifs galore right now. 

Hand holding 'Tis the Season to Be Spooky mug with tea bag
My body is about 70% chai right now.

Drinking tea 

My culinary autumn activity of choice is drinking copious amounts of tea (separate from my obligatory morning black coffee). I drink lots of chai and black tea throughout the day. (My friend gave me adorable Kusmi mini sampler tins that I’m still working through.) Each evening, I mix chai with a splash of Lactaid milk to drink with an almond biscuit on the side. Lately, though, my terminally restless mind has been egging me on to try herbal teas because my body hates caffeine after 3 p.m. 

Glasses on two three-wick candles next to pumpkin
BBW’s Candle Day and Semi-Annual Sales are national holidays for me, personally.

Melting candles on my wax melter

Warm fragrances set the autumn mood, and they make overcast fall days feel less bleak — kind of like a SAD lamp for your olfactory organs. At the beginning of the pandemic, I poured a disturbing amount of money into harvest and holiday candles from Bath and Body works. As such, I have a ridiculous selection of three-wick candles. Because I don’t trust myself enough not to burn the house down, I use wax melter, and I swear it helps the fragrance last longer! Lately, my fall favorites have  been Paris Cafe x Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla, Pumpkin Donut Shop, and Hot Buttered Rum. My room frequently smells like notes of coffee, vanilla, chai, and butter!

Anyway, I’m going to go curl up in my bed and knit now, maybe finish the novella I picked up afterwards. Have a safe and cozy start to autumn, everyone. 

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