By: Alyssa Miele

If we’re being honest, life is not always sunshine and rainbows. Especially in the late months of the year when the sun sleeps earlier and longer; the leaves find their new home on dewy forest floors and charcoal asphalt; and the last remnants of summer temperatures wisp away replaced by frigid, winter air.

In these conditions, it’s easy to fall into a less-than-satisfactory mood. That is why it is so important to remember all the things that you are grateful for. Although we should always be thankful for the super-important, big things like friends, family, and the roof over our heads, it’s also beneficial to appreciate the little things. I’m talking about the small, seemingly insignificant things that make every day just a little bit brighter– even amid all this gloomy, chilly weather.

Here are a few of my favorite “little things” I’m appreciating this fall season.

String Lights

Though they may traditionally be used as holiday decor, I, along with many other 20-somethings, keep a pair or two of string lights lining the walls of my bedroom up all year long. In the fall especially, I find myself plugging them in more often. They provide my bedroom with a warm, soft light– perfect for snuggling up with a good book.

Photo by Dallas Reedy on Unsplash

Heated Blankets

My nightly routine includes turning down the comforter, throwing on some PJs, and climbing into a warm bed. This is even easier with my heating blanket. Just plug into an outlet, switch on, and get cozy! And don’t worry– the blanket probably has an auto-turn-off setting, so it does not cook you all through the night! I’m grateful for the warmth the blanket provides me on cold nights.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Autumn Leaves

A fall classic, these colorful beauties make my heart so happy. I appreciate nature’s ability to turn the beautiful, green leaves into a gorgeous, falling sea of red, orange, and gold; seeing this always leaves me in a state of awe.

Photo by Toni Miller on our Pumpkin Decorating Walk

Good ‘ol Cup of Joe 

I’m usually an iced coffee kind of gal, but there’s something about waking up and brewing a large, hot cup of coffee that is so satisfying. In my Italian home, we often enjoy a cup of decaf after dinner as well. It’s a great chance to catch up on our days and cultivate warmth from the inside out.

Photo by Julian Bialowas on Unsplash

Sunny Fall Days

Although it seldomly happens in the fall, while walking into work or from class to class, one of my favorite little things are the moments where the sun peeks through the clouds to offer just a few extra degrees of warmth. In these moments, I love turning my head toward the sky, eyes closed, and appreciating how the gentle rays feel on my skin.

Photo by Grace Eggleston on an Urban Hike.

Of course, we are all thankful for the big stuff, but it’s the little things that fill our day with unmatched joy. Happiness researcher Gretchen Rubin always says, “The little things make up the big things,” and I agree. Whether you’re walking to work with soft sun rays on your cheeks, or sipping a warm cup of coffee, these little things, these small moments, make life in the fall time so wonderful.

What are some little things that brighten your autumn?