We all know what it means to “stop and smell the roses,” but this time of year we could just as easily say “stop and smell the falling leaves.” Attuning ourselves with the natural worlds helps us to be present in the moment, and enjoy each day to the fullest. Here are five ways to savor the autumn season and strengthen your mind/body/spirit connections.

  1. Shop at the farmers’ market. A visit to the local market is a feast for the eyes this time of year. Let the assortment of colorful apples, squashes and other cool-weather vegetables inspire a meatless dinner menu at least one night each week during fall. Preparing healthy meals from seasonal ingredients will help you connect with the changing season. And all those extra fruits and veggies will boost your immune system for the upcoming winter.

  2. Create an autumn altar. Collect beautiful leaves, acorns, gourds and other autumnal bounty to arrange on an entry table. Let it be a reminder to stop and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us this time of year.

  3. Honor your ancestors. Many cultures set aside a special holiday during autumn to remember and honor deceased family members. Watch for opportunities to participate in Obon, Dia de los Muertos, Samhain or All Soul’s Day celebrations. If none are available, visit the grave sites or display photos of your departed loved ones.

  4. Carve a Jack o’ Lantern. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you have children in the house. Carving a pumpkin is a timeless fall tradition that will automatically connect you to the season and fond childhood memories.

  5. Start a gratitude journal. It’s the time of year to count our blessings, why not count them in a journal? Shifting our focus to what we are grateful for tends to make us even more grateful.