End of Summer Anxiety
With fall just around the corner, many people are getting excited for pumpkin spice lattes and big blankets. On the other hand, some people are facing anxiety about summer coming to an end. Many people start to feel down as the Labour Day long weekend approaches. They may feel anxious that the summer is passing by too quickly or anticipating the chaos of return to school/kids going to school. Others may feel sad about changing responsibilities and demands. Regardless of the reason, the end of summer can be a challenging time for some, increasing feelings of anxiety and low mood as chillier weather and shorter days approach.
The term ‘autumn anxiety’ has been used in reference to individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety following the summer season. Although autumn anxiety is not a clinical diagnosis, it describes a series of seasonal changes in mood. This may include feelings of stress and nervousness or even panic during the transition from summer to fall. Some people have difficulty sleeping, decreased energy and activity levels, and/or less motivation to engage in social activities with friends or family. If you or someone you know experience autumn anxiety or low mood, here are some helpful suggestions that may make the transition a little easier.
- Get regular exposure to daylight
Daylight can enhance positive moods. Exposing yourself to sunlight has been found to enhance mood and plays a role in regulating appetite, learning, and sleep patterns. Human circadian rhythms, which is the internal clock responsible for alertness and sleepiness, are set by regular wake times and regular exposure to sunlight. To help you feel energized and content, plan to wake at your usual time and spend some time outdoors in the sunshine each day.
- Make time for exercise
Have a lunch break? Try and use this time to take a walk while it is still daylight. Or if you are someone who enjoys it, make time each week to go to the gym. Physical activity has been shown in numerous clinical trials to improve mental health and has even been recommended as a standalone treatment for individuals with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
- Preplan activities
Some people find it difficult when their summer vacations and activity is over, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Plan ahead for fall activities and mini vacations that will give you something to look forward to. For example, apple picking, farmer’s markets, and fall hikes to see the changing colours are time-limited and a pleasant change of pace. Alternatively, plan to start a new hobby or sport that you can do during the fall and winter seasons, such as skating, snowshoeing, or baking. Try and enjoy what the changing seasons have to offer.
- Enjoy fall foods
A great way to enjoy the start of fall is to enjoy all the foods that only come around during this time of the year. Whether it’s pumpkin flavoured everything or adding a hint of cinnamon to your tea.
Although the changing seasons can mean increased responsibilities and stresses, try to maintain the healthy behaviours that are often easier during the summer, such as spending time outdoors, being active, and socializing. In addition, pay attention to your thoughts and encourage yourself to also be mindful of the positives of the changing seasons.
Guelph CBT is a collaborative team of mental health professionals working together to help you make meaningful and lasting changes in your life. They offer evidence-based assessments and therapies that have been shown by research to effectively assess, diagnose, and treat psychological difficulties. If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, insomnia, or other emotional problems, or if you are looking to make changes in your life, please call 519-265-9596 or visit www.guelphcbt.com