The Wholesome Culture Autumn Bucket List: mindful & sustainable things to do this fall
When we think of fall we think of changing leaves, apple pies, pumpkin lattes, and all the cozy feels. You too? Even though 2020 is very different from last year (and every other year before that), there are still so many mindful and sustainable things to do this fall. From thrifting to crafting, here’s our Autumn Bucketlist for 2020! And as the season changes and temperatures get cooler, remember to hold extra space for yourself during this whirlwind of a year.
1. Whip up a vegan pumpkin spice latte
We love a good combination of pumpkin and coffee. And even though the PSL at Starbucks isn’t vegan — that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sweet & spicy yumminess. We love this delicious vegan pumpkin spice latte recipe by Detoxinista made with maple syrup and almond butter. And if you prefer smoothies over lattes, she also has a vegan blended version of the recipe.
2. Prepare a plant-based meal with squash (and then share the recipe with a friend!)
When we think of fall, squash is one of the first things that comes to mind (besides pumpkin, of course). The bright color pops at farmers markets — a fall-favorite activity — and it tastes great with other seasonal veggies like parsnips and turnips. Plus, squash is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, along with folate, fiber, and potassium. Lots of good stuff to incorporate in your diet!
Here are some plant-based squash recipes we love:
- Butternut Squash Mac N Cheez – Wholesome Culture Cookbook
- Creamy Vegan Squash Linguine – Cookie and Kate
- Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells – Love and Lemons
3. Do something nice for someone else
With more time at home, reimagine how you can go out of your way to do something nice for others. Plan a virtual check-in with a friend who you think is having a hard time. Write a “thank you” note to your mail delivery person. Or look into remote volunteer opportunities, such as digital crisis counseling through the Trevor Project (requires a 40 hr online training) and helping mobilize Black voters as a volunteer with the NAACP.
PS, for more tips on ways to use your time at home to give back, check out this post: 9 Ways To Volunteer From Home
4. Plant native flowers
We love how home gardening has soared in popularity recently. It’s sustainable, affordable, and fun! Not to mention, by growing native plants, you’ll help support local butterflies, bees, insects, and other animals. And according to the U.S. Forest Service, native plants also don’t require as many pesticides/fertilizers, they help reduce air pollution, and they promote biodiversity.
Not sure what plants are native to your area? We recommend using NWF’s Native Plant Finder to help you narrow it down.
5. Make homemade nut butter
Autumn just screams nut butter. Between the creaminess, warm color, and the way it tastes on so many fall baking classics like loaf bread & muffins — it’s a must-make.
Here are 3 recipes we love:
6. Write in a gratitude journal
Especially in the fall, as seasons change, it’s a good time to focus on the little things that often get overlooked amid news headlines and to-do lists.
If you’re anything like us, the hardest part of writing in a gratitude journal is starting. But we find, once we pick up a pen, the grateful thoughts effortlessly flow from our minds to the page.
Here are a few of our favorite prompts:
- What are 3 things that bring you light?
- When was the last time someone did something nice for you? And you did something nice for someone else?
- Write about two people who consistently make your life more joyful.
7. Do a DIY activity
You’ve likely seen endless cute & crafty projects on Pinterest. So next time you have a free afternoon, why not channel some creative energy by making fall wreaths made with recycled paper or leaf lanterns. Also, according to Thrive Global, doing DIY projects helps relieve daily pressures, boosts confidence, and creates a source of happiness. YES to all of that.
Check out 18 DIY upcycling projects: here.
8. Eat vegan Halloween candy
Got a sweet tooth? There’s no better time to treat yourself to candy than October! Luckily, there are *plenty* of vegan candy options so you can have a spooky, sweet, and cruelty-free Halloween.
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
- Justin’s PB Cups
9. Thrift a Halloween costume
Thrifting is PERFECT for finding costumes & festive decorations. Spot a cute black dress & pearls, and you’ve got a Breakfast at Tiffany’s look. See a red and white striped shirt? There’s a good base for a Where’s Waldo costume. Even if you’re not leaving your house and having a movie marathon instead, you can still play dress-up & take fun photos! More interested in online thrifting over visiting your local thrift shop? ThredUp is a great option to find pre-loved treasures online.
10. Enjoy a zero-waste picnic in the park
Between cooler temperatures and colorful leaves, autumn is the ideal time for a zero-waste picnic. Grab a tote, cozy blanket, cutting board, and all your favorite plant-based foods. Keep it eco-friendly by using real plates & cups + bamboo utensils & cloth napkins.
11. Send a just-because card
No need to wait for a birthday, holiday, or a particular celebration to tell someone you’re thinking of them. Sending a card to a friend is a beautiful way to stay connected to those near and far away. It’s also an easy way to support the USPS.
12. Support a small business run by BIPOC
Treat yourself — or get an early start on your holiday shopping. Supporting a small business run by BIPOC not only helps the specific business, but it also helps BIPOC visibility.
Here’s a list of small businesses run by BIPOC we love:
- Enbois: We love all the accessories, and especially the ebony bracelet because you can feel good knowing that with every purchase, they plant a tree.
- Lit Soul Candles: The Love Yourself Candle is one of our all-time favorites. Plus, there’s a monthly subscription box if you want to keep the goodness coming all year long!
- BYCHARI: For sustainable, handmade jewelry — you’ll love Bychari. The Vote necklace is one of the most popular pieces (for good reason), and we’re also big fans of the Initial Necklaces.
13. Curl up with a book
Fall is truly a dreamy season for cocooning with a good read and letting minutes turn to hours with your head in a book. We recommend finding a reading tree to lean against as you flip through the pages or cuddling up in a comfy corner in your house with a yummy-smelling candle nearby.
14. Go for a long walk on a brisk weekend morning
Ditch the car and go for a long walk on a brisk Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s a great excuse to wear your chunky scarves and crews before those extra chilly winter temperatures start to creep in. Besides wardrobe benefits, walking has so many benefits for our mind & body — like alleviating mental stress, boosting heart health, and relieving inflammation (to name a few!).
If you’re 18 or older, get excited to VOTE! Mail-in your absentee ballot early or make a fun day out of your in-person voting experience. Dress up, treat yourself to something yummy afterward, and feel good knowing you used your voice and exercised your right to vote!