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5 Ways to Manage Autumn Anxiety

 

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, right? Well, not necessarily.

If thinking about summer coming to an end makes you feel anxious, you are not alone. It seems that a large number of young adults find the thought of starting the fall semester or the upcoming return of chillier weather to be a cause for higher anxiety levels.

Therapists are calling this end-of-summer anxiety, “autumn anxiety”,  after seeing so many clients with feelings of anticipation and nervousness during the last week of August through the first weeks of September.

Some people hate the heat and the laziness of summer and can’t wait until the fall season starts. But there are other people who LOVE the summertime and experience deep and intense feelings of sadness and panic at the thought of the summer season coming to an end. There are often feelings of guilt about not having done all that they wanted to do during the summer, especially as the summer months seem to come with a great deal of pressure for everyone to “make the most of every summer moment.”

Some of the anxiety regarding fall is that, even for adults, there are feelings of new things happening, new schedules, new assignments, and new jobs. It makes sense that people feel anxious!

If these autumn anxiety symptoms sound familiar, here are a few tips for taking back the enjoyment of August:

  1. Go outside: Spending time outdoors and in nature can restore positive mood and energy levels.
  2. Get sleep: Long sunlit days can mean you get up earlier and stay up later — a recipe for sleep deprivation. Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re sleep-deprived, which can contribute to emotional sensitivity.
  3. Take it easy: Give yourself a bit of a break. August doesn’t need to be all about preparation. This is the time to rest up while you still can. Stay organized, but know that this is a transitional month, and that means taking it slow.
  4. Seek help: The August blues are something to monitor and take care of. When an inability to focus on a task affects your ability to function at work, at home, or in your relationships, it is time to seek help. Even if seasonal anxiety is something you’ve always had, it is something that is treatable. Talk to a therapist, Life Skills Coach or trusted friend about how you are feeling. Learning strategies for dealing with autumn anxiety can be really helpful.

Summer often feels like a time of optimism — months on end where the sun is shining, and there’s always ample amounts of ice cream — but it’s important to remember that it’s OK to feel the autumn anxiety.

Treating yourself kindly during this end-of-summer time period will likely go a long way towards helping you feel a bit better.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.