The fall blues you didn’t know about
Autumn brings cozy sweaters, the crisp scent of fallen leaves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. But for some, this change of season ushers in a lesser-known phenomenon: autumn anxiety. While many eagerly anticipate the fall months, others experience increased anxiety levels. Why does this happen, and what can you do to manage it?
What exactly is autumn anxiety?
Autumn anxiety, as the name suggests, is an anxious feeling or increased tension that coincides with the arrival of fall. It’s distinct from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is more about depression that typically comes with the colder, darker days of winter. While SAD is well understood, autumn anxiety is a more recent observation and is still under investigation.
Why do some people experience it?
The exact cause of autumn anxiety has yet to be pinpointed, but several factors might contribute:
- Shift in Routine: Summer, with its vacations and more relaxed schedules, contrasts sharply with the structured routines of autumn. This sudden shift can be jarring, leading to stress and tension.
- Shorter Days: The reduction in daylight can affect our circadian rhythm, our internal body clock that dictates sleep patterns. This disruption can lead to feelings of restlessness and unease.
- Anticipation of Winter: For some, autumn is a looming reminder that winter is approaching. The anticipation of cold weather, potential isolation, and the holiday stresses can evoke anxiety.
Is it autumn anxiety or something else?
While autumn anxiety might be a new term for many, it’s crucial to distinguish it from other mental health conditions. If you’ve been feeling down for extended periods or your anxious feelings interfere with daily tasks, it could be a sign of a more severe condition. Always consult with a mental health professional if you’re concerned about persistent or intense feelings of anxiety.
Navigating through autumn anxiety
Recognizing and acknowledging autumn anxiety is the first step. If you think you might be affected, here are some strategies to help you cope:
- Maintain a Routine: While the transition from summer to fall can feel abrupt, establishing a routine can provide stability. Regular sleep, exercise, and meal times can anchor your day.
- Embrace the Season: Sometimes, acceptance can be therapeutic. Engage in fall activities, enjoy the beauty of the season, and create positive associations with autumn.
- Stay Connected: With the approach of cooler months, ensure you maintain social connections. Regular interactions with loved ones can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to manage anxiety, consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor. They can provide coping strategies tailored to your needs.
Embrace autumn with confidence
Just as the leaves change, so do our emotions and feelings. It’s natural. By understanding autumn anxiety and equipping yourself with tools to manage it, you can navigate the season with grace and confidence.