Autumn Anxiety: Why You May Feel More Stressed This Season

  • Autumn anxiety is an annual increase in anxiety some people begin to feel during the autumn months.
  • Experts say some causes of this anxiety may be due to beginning a new school year, the looming stress of the holiday season, or possible regret from not having achieved desired goals over the summer.
  • Changes in diet, daily exercise, and increased exposure to daylight are all ways people can minimize the effects of autumn anxiety.

As pool time, sunshine, and longer days are on the way out, and autumn makes its way in, some people find themselves feeling anxious.

“Autumn anxiety is the tendency for people to suffer from anxiety and low mood during the autumn months,” Dr. Clare Morrison, medical advisor at MedExpress, told Healthline.

“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.

“However, if it occurs every year, the pattern will become obvious, and one can take steps to prevent it,” she said.

Morrison points to the following as symptoms of autumn anxiety:

  • low mood and depression
  • anxiety and excessive worry
  • irritability
  • lethargy, sleepiness, and fatigue
  • loss of interest in everyday activities

“One of the causes is the reduction in sunlight, leading to falling levels of serotonin. This important hormone affects mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. There is also an increase in the hormone melatonin, which tends to make one feel sleepy and depressed,” Morrison explained.

Less vitamin D is another effect of being exposed to less sunlight.

“Lack of this has also been linked with depression,” said Morrison. “Other factors include behavioral changes, because as the weather deteriorates, we spend less time outdoors and do less exercise.”

Is it autumn anxiety or something else?

Patricia Thornton, PhD, licensed psychologist in New York City, agreed that changes in the season can bring about mood changes and anxiety, however, she said autumn anxiety isn’t a recognized condition.

“We usually talk about SAD — seasonal affective disorder. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, the weather is getting colder. There can be anxiety of going back to school and pressure to be academically successful and socially successful,” Thornton told Healthline. “Autumn anxiety could be the anticipatory anxiety about getting SAD.”

She says transitions can also cause anxiety. Read full article HERE including what you can do to feel better.

Article written by: Cathy Cassata – freelance writer

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