Fall Moments to Pause and Take Note of

When you’re moving so fast you don’t take a moment to look at what’s around you, it can seem like time has miraculously sped up and passed by quicker than it should. We all find ourselves in this spot, too much work piling up around us and blinding our view of the outside world. That’s why it’s so important to make yourself stop and set intentional times where you are only focused on the present moment, especially around things you are looking forward to. Fall is the season many people look forward to the most, but because of school, sports starting back up, and general winter preparation, it can seem like it’s gone in a second. To help myself, I’ve tried to recognize a couple of moments throughout the season that I pay attention to and really try to take in, in hopes that it will last a little longer.

One of the most iconic fall moments is when the first leaves start to turn. While this usually comes far before a lot of the other classic fall experiences, for me it’s the perfect moment to get myself excited. It’s a motivator of sorts that definitely helps me push past any block I’m in; I  get to see and enjoy the color of the trees around me. I try to grab some of the first leaves that fall every year and keep them dried to remind myself how beautiful it was.

Then, there comes the day when you walk outside for the first time the cold air seems to hit you as you take a deep breath in. You can notably feel the temperature difference on your skin and the chill clings to you as you go about your day. I always try to take a couple of deep breaths whenever I’m outside at this time because I can feel the cold air expanding in my lungs. I find the time of change very invigorating.

Along with that, the first day I grab a jacket makes me feel like a giddy kid who gets to wear their favorite piece of clothing to school one day. As someone who enjoys long pants and long sleeves, the colder weather is a blessing to my closet. Jackets are one of my favorite pieces to choose in the morning. The day I finally get to break into my collection again, gives me a sense of happiness that isn’t clouded by anything which I find is a harder experience to come by so I cherish them when they do.

Another moment is when I see squirrels hunting around for food to store. Growing up in a small rural town and then moving to a college campus, squirrels are everywhere. While they can be pesty, I can’t help but love seeing them run around burrowing and burrowing. Seeing one bust out of a campus trash can with a muffin way too big for it in its mouth will never fail to make me smile and remind me how simple life can be.

Finally, the first snow. While this may not apply to everyone, I live in Minnesota which means that we get snow early. t’s one of the things that marks the transition of fall to winter for me. That’s one reason why I really want to pay attention to this day, whenever it happens year to year. The snow is falling on a clean slate so it’s still pristine white. With shorter days, the snow falls while backlit by the street lights, making me appreciate being able to see and take in that moment. The quiet that settles in with the snow, even in a larger city, gives the perfect environment to sit with my own thoughts or even let my mind go blank.

Fall is a special time for me as a student. It is my favorite season of the year, but I’m always so busy that it seems impossible for me to enjoy it sometimes. Using these tricks that force me to stay connected to the present has had a huge impact on my mental health. I appreciate my life more and it helps me put everything into perspective. Like many people, I tend to exaggerate my own problems even in my own head. These annual experiences help me remember that no matter what I have ahead of me, it too will pass. Paying attention to things that bring happiness and peace is something that will help people mentally, physically, and spiritually. Journaling or just mentally reflecting will help people stay in touch with themselves and bring everything back down to a manageable level. Never underestimate the impact a simple moment can bring, and keep an eye out for the little things.