Autumn anxiety – How to cope up with fall depression
Autumn is around the corner and I cannot be more excited. Fall is my favorite season and I just love those golden leaves falling from the oak trees. Autumn can be super magical for everyone who loves mild wintery effect, cozy weather, candle-lit nights, and pumpkin-flavored cakes and pies.
This season of fall can be really exciting for some of us but at the same time, it can also be depressing. I haven’t actually considered autumn anxiety as something real because I personally love this season so much. However, autumn anxiety does exist and it’s totally different from Seasonal Anxiety Disorder (SAD).
I have many friends who experience some kind of discomfort during the fall season. the months of August and September are typically so stressful for them. Hence I thought to research more on fall depression and autumn anxiety.
Autumn anxiety is the tendency for people to suffer from anxiety and low mood during the autumn months,” said Dr. Clare Morrison, medical advisor at MedExpress.
“Unlike other anxiety, there often isn’t an obvious external trigger, and it tends to recur annually,” she said.
She says many people don’t realize how common anxiety in autumn is, and may not recognize it.
Many of us are undergoing many changes due to the change of weather and season, this triggers our anxiety and we feel super stressed during the fall season.
There can be multiple reasons for autumn anxiety but the good news is, we can totally cope with it.
What causes autumn anxiety?
Autumn anxiety can be due to different factors affecting our personal life. However, here are some major reasons that answer the question, why do we feel depressed during fall:
- Autumn anxiety can be anticipatory anxiety due to change in season. We know that things are going to change and we are yet again going to face triggers, this thought alone itself arises the anxiety.
- Many experts have claimed that autumn anxiety is due to all the changes like the new school year, stress due to holidays or not quite achieving the goals of summer.
- As the days get shorter, many people find it difficult to be in nature. Nature has always been a stress buster and finding less time in nature could be triggering for nature lovers. This is especially due to the lack of Vitamin- D.
We, humans, are so scared of change and autumn is the phenomenal example of embracing change in life. This is the reason why I love the fall season so much.
However, change may not be easily acceptable for many of us. We love life as it’s always going, safe in our comfort zone. With this sudden change and pressure to get equipped with this change causes this autumn anxiety.
With all the changes comes new commitments, new jobs, new school year, holiday preparation so getting depressed during fall is now commonly visible.
Fortunately, though, managing this seasonal health phenomenon gets a lot easier if you know what causes autumn anxiety in the first place.
Triggers for causing anxiety in autumn:
We broadly got an idea of the reasons behind autumn anxiety, now let’s quickly get into the deeper roots of what makes people sad during the fall season.
1. Shorter days
As we discussed, nature and mental health are closely interlinked. If you’re someone who loves spending time in nature, you surely will feel it difficult to stay indoors most of your time. While the days being shorter, we get to spend less time outside which can be really intimidating.
Moreover, due to the lack of sunlight, people do experience the kind of uneasiness which is referred to as autumn anxiety. Due to Vitamin- D deficiency, many of us do feel depressed and anxious. It’s shown in the studies that lack of Vitamin-D can cause anxiety and depression.
2. New school year and new commitments
If you’re an introvert and super anxious being around people, you probably wouldn’t feel like going back to school. With the new school year comes new responsibilities and many of us are so scared of approaching something new.
I clearly remembered when our new school year started and my friends were in different sections, I felt so stressed and nervous. Change may not be pleasant always but in the end, it might be something we all need.
Autumn anxiety is different from SAD because it’s not only because of some seasonal changes, it’s for the personal shift in life that the fall brings.
Whether you’re a student or a mom, this phase of hustle for new school work, new courses and syllabus, it could be really triggering. People also normally refer to it as autumn sadness as they mostly feel low during these times.
3. Not Exercising regularly
If you’re like me who needs to make serious commitments and extra efforts to do create a daily routine for exercise, autumn can really be challenging. Due to the change in weather, we may not find time to look after our bodies and exercise regularly. Because of this, we normally feel anxious as our feel-good hormone doesn’t really feel good.
I can totally feel you when you feel depressed during autumn due to seasonal changes. Our whole routine is disturbed and this can be triggering for most of us. Establishing a new routine indeed takes some time and serious mind-shift practice.
Even if you’re more of a gym-rat than the outdoorsy type, though, exercising in the fall can still be super challenging, depending on your schedule. It is always advisable to have a workout routine especially when you’re suffering from autumn anxiety. The depression during fall is real and let’s not take this lightly.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout.”
4. Holiday stress
Let’s be real here. Though holidays are the source of new happenings and happiness. it can bring in lot of stress. Whether it’s a reunion of family or meeting your extended family, holidays can be triggering especially with the seasonal change.
The preparations for holidays could be hectic especially when you’re judged for everything you do. This may also bring back some past experiences and trauma that may have occurred during that span. All these factors affect our mental health causing autumn anxiety. It’s normally felt as something dull and gloomy during the fall season.
5. Overwhelmed with too much of everything
Autumn is the time when everyone gets themselves enrolled in new classes like cooking, baking, or learning any other skills. Sometimes, we may not always be ready to take the pressure of being productive and learning new things all the time. But due to peer pressure or seeing others getting ahead of us, we feel being left out.
This is why most of us love summers, all we do is enjoy outdoors, meet friends and live our life at our own pace. Most people feel depressed during autumn because they know they’re going to miss the summer fun and the stress of embracing change isn’t always tolerable.
Autumn anxiety is real and it can be really difficult to cope but it isn’t impossible to deal with. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use to calm my autumn anxiety:
How to calm Autumn anxiety?
These tips may be simple and easy to follow but they’re so very effective in reducing the fall depression. I have been using them to help myself during seasonal anxiety. I hope it helps you too:
1. Plan fall self-care routine
The best way to reduce autumn anxiety is to have a plan to defeat it. During autumn, as we undergo changes, we may not always get time to look after ourselves or have a self-care schedule. Our summer self-care routine will totally be different than the autumn one.
So it’s super essential to craft your own fall self-care routine. I use my free daily self-care planner to plan my self-care routine.
Moreover, I have this long list of 51 self-care ideas that you can use in your fall self-care routine. I precisely make it clear that my routine consists of nourishing the mind, body, and soul.
2. Take supplements
Due to a shorter day, it gets difficult to grab extra sunlight which may lead to a deficiency in Vitamin- D. The best way to beat this is to take Vitamin- D supplements. I’m currently taking multivitamins to reduce my hair fall and increase my immunity, it has helped me a lot.
Also, grab the fruits that contain more Vitamin -D and magnesium, make sure that you take a balanced diet. When you pay attention to your diet and learn the importance of mindful eating, you surely will be able to crush this autumn anxiety. Autumn is the exact time when you need to think about what to eat.
3. Practice Journaling
I have been stressing a lot on journaling in my every other post. This is because I believe in the power of this art and I’m so sure that it will help you in relieving stress and anxiety. Plan out a routine where you set aside some time for journaling.
Whether it’s five or fifteen minutes, it doesn’t really matter. What’s necessary is to have space where you can unload your thoughts that are eating up your mental peace. Here’s how journaling helped me heal myself and the best thing is, anyone can learn this art. Read more about my morning routine here.
4. Get some extra light
Try staying outdoors during daylight if you’re fond of natural light. However, as it’s still dark during early mornings in autumn, try using this lightbox instead.
“This is a bright lamp which can be used for 30 minutes a day or more, to expose the eyes to extra light,” said Morrison, the health expert.
This lightbox therapy has proved to be very helpful for the people who crave light during autumn and get anxious in dark. It will make you feel like brightness all around even if it’s dark outside.
5. Ask for professional help
Some times, things get out of control and we may not be able to handle our autumn anxiety even after following various tips. During such times, it’s all okay to seek professional help. It won’t make you less of yourself, you’re just trying to help yourself out by getting some help.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown in research to effectively treat anxiety and seasonal affective disorder. It’s always good to see a doctor before things get super messy. Do not wait for things to get bad or worse, when you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, help yourself out and consult an expert.
Here are the online professional mental health therapists you may like to know. Autumn indeed is such a beautiful season but my heart goes with everyone out there who struggles during this period due to numerous reasons. Trust me, you’re not alone.
We all have bad mental health days and we’re all trying to stay sane. I really hope that this piece would have helped you in understanding the reasons and causes behind the depression during autumn. It may always seem impossible until it’s done.
I would love to stay connected to you and send you a weekly dose of some mental health tips and inspiring pieces.