Ah, Michigan autumn is upon us with all its splendor. When a dappled sun shines through a tunnel of yellow oaks, it is hard to feel blue. And looking at beautiful things can reduce cortisol levels (the primary indicator of stress). We have all experienced heightened levels of anxiety during the post-pandemic years, but a Michigan autumn brings mental and physical health benefits. Whether driving, horseback riding, biking, walking, or sitting on a park bench, fall beauty fosters a cheerier attitude.
To help you celebrate autumn 2023, we have come up with 26 sober things you can do to bring joy to your life! And for better mental health and wellness, taking advantage of moments of joy is important. Walking through crunching leaves can reset feelings of anxiety, anger, or hopelessness. These moments in God’s bounty are a gift that will remind you to get out of your head and take the leap to mental health.
26 Sober Activities to Celebrate Autumn!
- Put away the summer clothes and get out your favorite fall sweaters, mittens, and socks.
- Shop online for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations and anticipate the fun you will have this year!
- Review your photos from past Octobers and relive the joy.
- Sit on a balcony, park bench, or backyard chair and breathe the cooler air.
- Have a haiku contest with autumn as the theme. (Orange, yellow, brown; rustling in my winter boots; harbinger of snow.)
- Build a fire in the fireplace, curl up, and read a moody gothic novel like Jane Eyre.
- Drink something hot and delicious – hot chocolate, cider, or Queen of Harvest tea.
- Visit a cider mill, get on the hayride, eat a doughnut!
- Grab your favorite furry lap blanket and take a nap outdoors.
- Get up early and head for the nature center (Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids). You might catch a deer family or spooky vultures lurking in the trees.
- Pop popcorn and watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or another movie you’ve seen enough times to quote along with the main characters. (Linus: “You’ve heard of the fury of a woman scorned, haven’t you?” Charlie Brown: “Yeah, I guess I have.” Linus: “Well, that’s nothing compared to a woman who has been cheated out of tricks-or-treats.”)
Take a stroll on a messy, leafy path and shuffle.
- Pull out the holiday cookie cutters and make cookies from scratch. Get a friend or family member to help decorate.
- Go to Frederick Meijer Gardens for the Forest of Dreams: Contemporary Tree Sculpture exhibit.
- Celebrate autumn with the kids – collect gorgeous fall leaves and iron them with waxed paper.
- One of the best sober activities is to rake leaves into a pile! Jump in leaves!
- Make a hearty stew, light all the candles in the house, and invite friends and family for dinner.
- This is the time of year for an awe walk. Spectacular views are around every corner. Take the dog. Hold a child’s hand.
- See a sunrise and sunset in a single day. Remember what and who you are grateful for.
- Plant marigolds and mums in pots – add small pumpkins or gourds for an artsy autumn look you will enjoy every time you pull into the driveway.
- Take a drive. Stop at a gas station or drive-through and buy a classic road-trip snack (Slim Jim, local jerky).
- Dare to be scared at the local ZOO (ZOO GOES BOO at the John Ball Zoo) or a haunted house.
- Volunteer at the local food bank or soup kitchen for Thanksgiving.
- Get a big box of crayons and paper and sit at the kitchen table with the whole family. Draw and color your favorite things about fall.
- Make and eat something that contains pumpkin, yams, cinnamon, or sugar.
- Last but not least, click the link below for our article on why Michigan Autumn is Good for Your Mental Health.