Autumn Anxiety: Why You May Feel More Stressed Than Usual
Autumn anxiety is a common experience for many people during the autumn season. It is characterized by symptoms, i.e., low mood, depression, anxiety, sleepiness, irritability, boredom, and loss of interest in daily activities. Experts suggest that the reasons for autumn anxiety may include:
- The beginning of a new school year
- The stress of the upcoming holiday season
- Possible regret from not achieving summer goals
One of the significant causes of autumn anxiety is the reduction in sunlight, which leads to falling serotonin levels. This hormone affects an individual's mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. There is also an increase in the hormone melatonin, which makes one sleepy and depressed.
However, the good news is that there are multiple ways to reduce the effects of autumn anxiety. A change in diet, daily exercise, and increased exposure to daylight are all helpful strategies. As the weather worsens, it's essential to make an effort to spend time outdoors and stay active.
If you experience autumn anxiety every year, all you need to do is recognize the pattern and take action to prevent it. Don't hesitate to seek help professional help if required.
Is it Autumn Anxiety or Something Else?
Autumn anxiety is a topic that many people experience during the autumn months, and it can be challenging to understand what exactly is causing these feelings. Let's explore the different factors that could potentially be causing autumn anxiety.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is often discussed with mood changes during autumn. Factors such as shorter days, longer nights, and colder weather can impact our well-being.
Returning to school can be a significant cause of anxiety. The pressure to excel academically and socially can add to the stress.
Adjusting to New Routines
Adjusting to new routines and getting less sleep can contribute to anxiety. However, people with OCD and anxiety disorders may find comfort in structured activities such as school or work.
Another reason for negative feelings during autumn could be the "anniversary reaction." As the cooler months reach and sunlight decreases, it may trigger memories of past tough times.
Feelings of regret for not accomplishing everything planned during the summer or the end of a great summer can also contribute to these emotions.
What Can You Do?
If you're experiencing anxious feelings during the autumn season, there are several things you can try to help find relief.
Get More Light
Spending time outdoors and soaking in natural sunlight can be helpful. Consider getting up earlier to see the morning sunshine and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. In cases where early mornings are dark, using a light box can provide extra light exposure.
Engaging in daily exercise for at least 30 minutes can positively impact your mental well-being. Autumn offers an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities like long walks or cycling. Start a new sport or join a gym.
Try Something New
Autumn is a time of fresh starts, whether it's a new school term or a new season. Take advantage of this energy by decluttering your space, cleaning your house, or reorganizing your belongings. Consider pursuing a new hobby, taking an evening class, or trying out a different image or style you've been curious about.
Change Your Diet
Autumn is an ideal time to reassess your eating habits. Consider incorporating seasonal foods into your meals. Paying attention to your diet can positively impact your overall well-being.
Reframe Your Outlook
Consider changing how you view autumn instead of linking it with unpleasant memories. Focus on the positives of being indoors, such as creating a cozy environment with warm blankets and autumn-themed accent pillows. Shifting your mindset can transform what feels like a loss into a more positive and enjoyable experience.
Get Professional Help
If your anxiety becomes overwhelming or affects your daily life, seeking professional help is essential. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven effective in treating anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you need support.