Month: September 2019

September surrender.

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.”


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…


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.

2.Keeping busy
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.



Not too hot, not too cold…autumn is just right!

September is a time of transition in nature when we transition into autumn. The warm and humid conditions of summer give way to cooler, more changeable autumn winds. The once lush green of leaves hint at yellow hues and there’s a distinct change in the energy around us. A slower pace awaits us in the coming months. This is when the plants pause their growth, animals retreat into hibernation, and it once again becomes acceptable to add cinnamon to practically everything! Before autumn arrives however, there’s a period of stillness and a sense of nature preparing itself for what’s to come.

A Moment To Pause

The fraction of time between late summer and early autumn may not be recognised in modern western seasonal perspective. However, ancient wellbeing schools of thought like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tibb or Sufi Medicine understand that this time of transition into autumn is a special season all of its own. This time is known by the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners as ‘Dojo and as ‘Ritu Sandhi’ (the ‘junction’ of two ‘seasons’) by Ayurvedic practitioners. During these times, the world around us is neither too yin or too yang. As we move out of the fiery pitta energy of Summer towards the colder, drier air energy of vata in Autumn, nature is poised for change.

Preparing For Change

Within this roughly two week period of pausing, the advice is to release any excess Summer energy. It’s time to clear metaphorical and physical space for the season ahead. Summer’s Ayurvedic quality is pitta, made up of fire and water, creating acidity and irritability. If you’re currently experiencing inflammation, skin issues, digestive problems or emotional instability, this is the time to focus on self care and protocols to address these aspects. Observe your current diet; have you picked up unhealthy eating habits from summer holidays? Are you consuming a lot of hot, acidic or sugary foods? Are you pushing yourself too hard physically or mentally, or is there a relationship issue you haven’t dealt with yet?

Yin Season

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, we’re moving out of the ‘yang’ phase of Summer and towards a more ‘yin’ time of year. The element at play here is earth. Earth is linked to the stomach and spleen meridian lines, which need nourishing at this time and can be focused on with yoga postures that open the inner thighs, hips, stomach, throat and sides of the body.

The most important practice at this time is a connection to nature and a commitment to being present in everyday life. Notice what your body is naturally drawn to eating and doing. Opt for seasonal foods and time spent outside in the morning light. Spend time with those who balance and comfort you, consume meals in a mindful and quiet manner, and observe how the changes in nature are mirrored by the natural changes within ourselves on every level.

Good bye January resolutions, hello September solutions!

In her book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin writes: “Any beginning is a time of special power for habit creation, and at certain times we experience a clean slate, in which circumstances change in a way that makes a fresh start possible…” For me, September has this special power.

According to the calendar, September is just another month in the year. But according to our emotions, this time of year often feels particularly weighty.

With summer at an end, many people experience a pang of nostalgia for the good weather and days off (and sometimes regret that they didn’t make the most of them!) For parents and students, the back to school period is often a potent cocktail of relief, excitement, and anxiety.

But even if your summer was uneventful and you’re long past your student days, September often still feels important. After at least 13 years of experiencing the ninth month of the year as a new beginning, most of us have a hard time shaking the sensation that September offers a sort of reset button on life.

The scientific case for starting afresh in September.

‘Science of Us’ blogger Melissa Dahl has written an interesting post on the odd power of September, and there’s a good scientific reason why this should be so. Thanks to the academic calendar, she writes, September is what’s known as a “temporal marker,” a life transition when one era feels like it ends and another begins.

Even if a temporal marker is based on something flimsy like your recollection of your time as a student, it’s still a potentially powerful springboard for change, Dahl explains. Research shows that we tend to view these life shifts as a fresh start, a time when we have the freedom to become a new, better version of ourselves.

“People don’t just use these landmarks to organise the memories of their lives; we use them to organize memories of ourselves, too,” she says. “It’s a way of distancing your current, much more on-top-of-things self from past versions of you, who were maybe not so on-top-of-things.” In short, temporal landmarks, including the ghost of the beginning of school years past, are a perfect time to unveil a whole new you (even if just to yourself).

So if you’re thinking of starting a new routine, beginning a big project, or committing to learning something fresh and September feels like a natural time to get cracking, don’t think you’d do better if you waited until January. This month really does have its own weird power to help people begin afresh.

A word of caution.

One final word of caution, however: While the “fresh start effect” of temporal landmarks is scientifically validated and potentially useful, like that summer suntan, it does fade fast.

So while you can rely on that new-school-year feeling to get you started on your new project, don’t expect it to have enough force to push you through to its conclusion. Hopefully by then, you’ll be feeling the effects of your fresh start and that will be enough to keep you motivated!