What is "autumn anxiety"?
Have you been feeling more anxious these last few weeks? It can seem that with the sunny weather gone, the mood and energy levels have shifted dramatically. Based on Mindletic's emotional reflections' data, the shift can be observed already. While in August we've seen an increase in more pleasant emotional states and lower energy levels, September has introduced increased energy levels that when experienced together with unpleasant emotional states (such as irritation, worry, anxiety, tension, etc.) can lead to destructive responses.
The term “autumn anxiety” refers to the increased levels of worry and tension some people tend to feel in autumn. For some, feelings of anxiety during this period could be linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), while for others, it might be their body’s response to a specific stressor, or there might not be a specific trigger that makes one experience such states.
What can autumn anxiety look like?
Increase in unpleasant emotions (such as sadness, worrying, fatigue, despair, etc.)
Lack of energy
Troubles trying to concentrate
Lack of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable
Getting irritated more easily
The explanations for this vary. Some claim that this could be influenced by the stress of projects coming up at work or school, or the possible regret of not achieving the set goals during the summer. Others note finding links with the reduced number of daylight hours which can decrease our serotonin and increase melatonin levels, which make us experience lower mood, feel more sleepy, and experience more depressive emotions.
If you catch yourself drifting into this state, try out these steps:
Go outside. 🌳 While the days are getting shorter, there is still daylight to make use of. Go outside for a short walk in the morning or during the day and enjoy the sunlight.
Exercise your body. 🕺 Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to some active body movement. Be it yoga, jogging, stretching, or dancing it out.
Exercise your mind. 🧘 To improve your self-awareness and ability to respond to feelings of anxiety constructively, don’t forget to train your mind too - reflect on your emotions, practice breathing exercises or try out meditations.
Try a new activity. 🎨 Approaching autumn as a time for a fresh start can be a way to reframe your mind. Trying out a new exciting activity or setting goals for the autumn period can help shift focus to the opportunities that the time offers.
Talk about it. 🗣 Be it with a friend, relative, mental health professional, or yourself. As Mindletic professional Katerina notes, sharing our worries and aiming to understand what is bothering us is the way to look after our mental health. If you don’t feel up to sharing with others, writing those experiences down is also a great way to release them.
Make use of the tools you have available at Mindletic to strengthen your emotional muscles and respond to feelings of anxiety constructively. 🌱