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Autumn anxiety is a type of mood disorder that many people experience. It typically occurs during the autumn months, but it can happen during other seasons as well. The symptoms are similar to those of seasonal depression and they include lack of energy, sadness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleeping problems.

There are several ways to prevent autumn anxiety including staying active throughout the day and eating healthy so you get the nutrients your body needs to stay energized. If autumn anxiety becomes too severe or lasts for more than two weeks then talk with your doctor about treatment options like therapy or medication.

What is Autumn Anxiety? Symptoms and Prevention

What is autumn anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental health disorder that affects many people. Generalized anxiety, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress are all types of anxiety. These people often experience physical symptoms like nausea or chest pain and psychological effects like extreme worry.

The changing colors on the leaves are a sign that winter is coming. This can be very stressful for some people during these days of autumn when everything starts to die off. People who suffer from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have problems like heart rates or sleep difficulties because your body changes with seasons-and not just in the mood!

This time of year is hard for some people. They may be sad all day because they spend too much time in the house without getting outside. Other symptoms like appetite change might happen if someone has SAD and has other things that are making it harder for them to feel good.

Ginny Scully, who is a therapist in Wales, has seen many patients that get more anxious in the fall. She calls it Autumn Anxiety. It is closely related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but it is about anxiety instead of depression.

Person on bridge in Fall

What is the difference between Autumn Anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Some people get sad and other people get anxious. Both are treatable but they can be different. The main symptom of depression is sadness, while the main symptom of anxiety is panic or an attack. But there are some things that both have in common like if it changes from warm to cold, it might be hard to adjust.

Here are ways that Autumn Anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder differ:

The time of year your symptoms appear.

In Autumn it is important to take care of yourself. You need to do this because it can be hard with Autumn Anxiety. It's not just about taking care of your health; you also need a way to keep your mind occupied because there is no sun and it's cold.

man holding autumn leaves in the forest

What your symptoms are?

During the fall, many people start to feel sad or anxious without even realizing it. You might not know why you are feeling this way either. The change in nature can affect your mood and make you feel different than other times of the year. If you notice any changes, talk about them with someone who is close to you right away!

We will go into the symptoms of Autumn Anxiety later in this post.

The ways it affects your life.

When the seasons change, it can be hard for people who get sad. The summer is over and you don't want to see friends or do outdoor activities. You stay inside without sunlight all day, so it's even harder when you go back to regular life after spending time in the summer because there was a lot of suns outside.

This is a big change so it's important to not get left behind. There are many ways to help you manage this transition better if you take it seriously and seek professional help as soon as possible.

Sad young woman sitting outdoors in autumn on a rainy day.

If you have Autumn Anxiety, it can be a symptom of being an HSP. 

HSP stands for Highly Sensitive People. I fall into this group. I have always been very sensitive about all things emotional. It is something that I work on daily.

Autumn anxiety is more than just the leaves changing. Some people feel like they do not want to change their routine because of how it makes them feel. Autumn anxiety is when you are feeling anxious all of the time about what will happen next.

We can be stressed out because of our symptoms and how hard it is to deal with them. But we can get help from a therapist who might make things easier for us.

There are many benefits of journaling. Journaling, in general, can help your mental health and stress. I have some great themed journals you can purchase and download immediately.

What are the common symptoms of Autumn Anxiety?

It is hard to see the signs of seasonal anxiety. People usually have these symptoms:

There are physical signs:

It is hard to know why people are anxious. Most people feel anxious but that does not mean they have a disease. If you notice physical signs before emotional or behavioral signs, then it is possible your body might be telling you something about how much stress your mind has been under for a while now.

woman in a yellow dress

You may experience Restlessness

Have you ever had a really bad feeling that just won't go away? Like it's constantly there, following next to your ear and whispering in the back of your mind. If so, this could be one way an anxiety attack can manifest itself right before they happen or when someone is having them.

You can feel fatigued

If you have anxiety fatigue, it can feel like you are going nowhere. You always need a boost of energy. I find myself napping during the day when my anxiety is at its worst.

Dizziness can be a symptom

Dizziness can have a lot of causes. You might feel dizzy if you are anxious, so if you also have other symptoms then that is probably the cause of your dizziness.

Have you experienced panic attacks?

When someone has a panic attack, it may be hard for them to breathe or think. This can happen without warning. They might feel like they are dying. People might have panic attacks when they are stressed or scared in certain situations.

There are also emotional and behavioral signs

When a person gets anxious they may feel some different things. They may feel emotional, they might have mental problems, and/or their behavior might change. It is possible for people to only have one of these or all three of them.

man in red flannel shirt and black pants

Have trouble focusing.

You might have trouble concentrating on anything because you are anxious. You can't focus for more than a few minutes or your mind wanders to other things.

Do you worry excessively?

People with anxiety tend to worry about things a lot. They think that one small thing means something very big is going to happen.

Experience Agitation and Mood Swings 

You might feel more irritable or easily agitated without any other reason. You know it's not PMS, stress, or another cause – but rather your anxiety telling you that something is wrong in the world and turning up its volume so loudly on purpose to get a response from anyone who can hear it!

Sudden nervousness is widespread 

This is often when people are in a specific situation and they feel good. But then when something bad happens, their brain waves change and they feel like they are panicking.

woman wearing grey jacket

What you can do if you experience Autumn Anxiety?

Due to the cold weather and shorter days, many people are feeling more anxious. This is a natural symptom of seasonal depression. You can use light therapy as well as vitamin D supplements to help your body produce serotonin in the fall season when it would typically decline due to less sun exposure during this time.

The beginning of fall brings with it a plethora of new feelings, some we welcome and others that are unwelcome. For those who experience autumn anxiety, this time is heavy with dread as their thoughts turn to the end of summer and all they have lost (friends moving away, vacations coming to an end). When you feel like your mood has turned from happy anticipation for pumpkin spice lattes into disappointment about back-to-school clothes shopping, remember these signs and symptoms of autumn anxiety below so you can work through them in healthy ways. Doing so will help ensure that you’re able to enjoy the season without feeling overwhelmed by its many changes. 

If you have tried all these methods and your anxiety still does not go away, or if it gets worse, talk to a professional.

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