Long, warm summer days are behind us and the crisp scent of autumn is in the air. I love this time of year but, while a new season brings new beginnings, September can also spark high levels of anxiety for some.
According to Bupa, September can be an unsettling month and often bring new worries. Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, Medical Director at Bupa Health Clinics, says: “It’s not uncommon for us to suspend our usual routine and habits during the summer months, which can make it harder to adjust back to normality.”
“Much like how we used to feel as children when September saw us going back to school, this period brings a sense of trepidation and naturally we may feel a bit unsettled,” he adds.
“While September isn’t officially the start of Autumn, it does feel like a change of season, which can also play a part in our mood and mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.”
WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that comes and goes according to the weather. Often in autumn and winter, many people suffer from “winter depression” caused by a lack of light.
“The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but the main theory is that a lack of sunlight might affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the production of serotonin, the hormone that affects our mood, appetite and sleep. The lack of sunlight and lower serotonin levels can lead to feelings of depression,” Dr Arun says.
If you’re feeling on edge, Bupa has this advice…
5 WAYS TO MANAGE SEPTEMBER ANXIETY
1.Know what you’re dealing with
One of the most common causes of anxiety is feeling overwhelmed, often without a reason behind it. Talking to a medical professional, or even to a close friend, can help you to understand why you are feeling this way. Even just a 10-minute conversation can give you clarity and the tools you need to tackle your anxiety.
Staying busy is a great distraction and can help to keep your symptoms at bay. If you find yourself feeling down or anxious, why not arrange to meet up with a friend for coffee or head outside together for a refreshing walk? Fresh air and a chat are bound to lift your spirits.
3.Getting some vitamin D
It’s no surprise that soaking up some sunshine boosts your mood, so why not head outside on your lunch break or sit in the garden one afternoon? Spending time in the sun, preferably surrounded by nature, can help to relieve feelings of anxiety, as well as boosting your energy.
This can be an excellent tool to manage the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Carving some time out of your busy day to reflect, relax and meditate has been proven to have a positive impact on your mental health. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of apps like Calm or Headspace available to point you in the right direction. Or, even better, come to a yoga class to help you to calm the mind through breath work and slow, mindful movement!
5.Know when to get help
With many of us battling anxiety on a daily basis, it can be hard to know when to seek medical advice. If you notice your symptoms persisting and not getting any better, then ensure you head to your local GP. Your health and wellbeing is incredibly important, so it’s imperative to speak to someone who can help you further.