Fall for Fulfillment

Self-care tips for riding seasonal changes like a boss

Fall is here! Whether you’re jumpin’ for pumpkin spice or mourning the loss of summer sunsets: emotionally, autumn can be a rollercoaster. Best we can do is brace ourselves for the holidays ahead, and find some joy in perennial activities and events to celebrate this unique time of year.

It’s not just that it’s such a time of transition: our days are literally getting darker as our side of the planet tilts farther and farther away from the sun. Feelings of sadness are actually quite common and even natural. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that declining mood affects up to 38% of Americans every winter, including nearly 10 million people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that hits people from mid fall to the early days of spring.

While most of us are familiar with the concept of “winter blues”, there’s no clear evidence what exactly causes it. Some studies suggest SAD might be related to brain chemicals like serotonin, which appears to be affected by exposure to sunlight. Other research seems to indicate hormonal responses to changes in daylight can also play a role. Vitamin D levels might factor in as well.

The one thing we do know is that SAD is triggered by lack of environmental light, which likely affects all of us in varying degrees. Even animals have been shown mood and energy changes related to shorter days, from pets to laboratory rats to many species of wildlife that hibernate each year.

The lovely news is, losing sunlight doesn’t have to plunge us into darkness – not when we can glow from within!

✨🍂 Five Ways to Shine this Season 🍂✨

  • Embrace the outdoors
    Exposure to natural light is a huge mood boost! Take a walk through a park or your favorite neighborhood (even better with a delicious beverage in hand!)
  • Fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods
    Fall is harvest time: seasonal produce is abundant and affordable. Fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals and can positively influence your mood. So can herbal teas and other supplements such as St. John’s Wort and Lemon Balm.
  • Make your home or work space more comfortable
    Create a cozy environment to counteract creeping chill and malaise. Cushions, pillows, and plush blankets in sunny hues can warm, uplift and enliven your living space. Scented candles or incense add heat and fragrance.
  • Don’t be a hero
    If seasonal depression interferes with your daily life, don’t wait to call in the professionals. Therapists and counselors can offer effective coping strategies, and will provide specific support tailored to your needs.
  • Get out there
    Fall is a great time of year for public events — one of the best natural remedies for seasonal gloom. Fill your calendar with fall festivals, block parties, performances, and other activities that can be both fun and therapeutic. Fun Fact: the disorienting nature of haunted attractions and corn mazes popular this time of year stimulate ancient power centers in the brain, unblocking stagnant energy.

While autumn changes may present unique challenges for many of us, this season also offers a wealth of opportunities for personal growth. Remember, the changing leaves are a testament to the beauty of transformation, and nature’s everlasting cycle of loss and renewal. By gathering goodness around us, we keep the blues at bay.


  • Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens – September 30-Nov 12
    Celebrating fall’s favorite flower in its many hues, forms and varieties in full, radiant display. Spectacular horticultural artistry, plus trails and other attractions. Gardens open daily 10am (closed Tuesdays).
  • Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary – Sep 22- Nov 12, 7PM – 10PM
    Halloween Nights is an immersive experience featuring FIVE thrilling haunted houses PLUS… historic tours, themed bars and lounges, live performances and many more surprises within the walls of a real, abandoned 10-acre prison.
  • Harvest Weekend in the City – October 6-8, 12PM – 8PM
    Dilworth Park will be buzzing with activities and entertainment all weekend-long, including performances from local bands, cider-making, live pumpkin carving, roaming circus performers along with the city’s best brews, bratwurst, and Bavarian pretzels.
  • Roxtoberfest – October 7, 12PM – 6PM
    The neighborhood’s favorite festival’s in its 11th year of food trucks, craft brews, German-themed entertainment, fun competitions, and activities for kids. All welcome to Ridge Ave in Roxborough for local music on the Main stage and over 70 crafters and community organizations.
  • Chestnut Hill Fall For The Arts Festival 2023 – October 8, 11AM – 5PM
    The quaint streets and stores of this urban village fill with locals and guests enjoying great shopping, live music, and delicious food from the Avenue’s top restaurants plus games, arts, and crafts throughout this free, family-friendly event.
  • Chinatown Night Market – October 12, 6PM – 10PM
    Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) is proud to present YèShì Chinatown Night Market, a 1-night street festival featuring neighborhood restaurants and food trucks.
  • Boo At The Zoo – Weekends from Oct 14-29, 9:30AM – 5PM
    The Zoo’s annual Halloween extravaganza, Boo at the Zoo, is back for three fun-filled weekends of costumes, festive fall treats, and ghoulish fun.
  • The Philadelphia Open Studio Tours –  October 14-15 and 21-22, 12PM – 6PM
    The Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) is the largest, self-guided, free-to-attend tour of artist studios and creative workspaces in the region, spanning 26 neighborhoods throughout the city over two weekends each October. (East of Broad: October 14 & 15 | West of Broad: October 21 & 22)
  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Live In Concert – October 24, 8PM
    With a soundtrack that blends symphonic orchestral music and hip-hop, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Live In Concert pairs a screening of the Oscar-winning animated film with a full orchestra, band, and turntables live on stage.

Do you know any other great fall events we should add to this calendar? Please share in the comments below! PRO TIP: Follow PA fall foliage reports at dcnr.pa.gov (forecasts say we’re in for a spectacular season! 🤩)

About Duchess Simone D. 6 Articles
Duchess Simone D. is a freelance writer and holistic wellness entrepreneur providing a variety of herbal teas and supplements at myauntiesapothecarie. com. Discover more of her work including poetry, photography, and other creative pursuits at thecolorduchess.com, where you’ll find inspiration to live fully and embrace your self-expression.

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