This week marked the official start to autumn and for many of us, the change in season brings lots of new changes and challenges. The days get shorter, which means less sunlight and vitamin D, and the weather gets colder and wetter.
You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where you feel low and more susceptible to illness during Winter months, but autumn anxiety is also very much a real thing and it can affect you more than you think.
For parents, the start of autumn brings with it lots of commitments, such as Halloween, Christmas and so on. This can put extra pressure on you, especially if you work throughout the day and feel stressed or guilty trying to organise extracurricular activities and social gatherings with other parents.
If you’re at school or college, you will be beginning a new term and starting to work towards exams and new coursework deadlines. Do you experience social anxiety? Starting a new class with people you may have not spoken to before can also be very daunting, not to mention meeting new teachers and tutors and adapting to their teaching style.
The start of the fourth quarter can also bring added pressure for businesses and you as an employee or business owner.
All of these things can quickly add up and get on top of us and cause you to suffer from burn out.
So how do you overcome autumn anxiety?
Here are a few ways you can start to embrace the weather and feel less anxious during autumn.
1 Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is one of the biggest health areas that many of you ask for support with, and with good reason. Sleep is so important but with our busy days and hectic schedules, but for some reason, we don’t seem to prioritise a good night’s sleep or we don’t even know how to relax anymore, our bodies are in constant stress mode.
To get a better-quality night’s sleep, try the following:
- Switching off any devices and stop watching tv an hour before bed
- Starting a small bedtime routine like getting into bed and reading for 30 minutes
- Tidying your bedroom (picking up clothes off the floor, making your bed etc.) and lighting some candles to make the environment more inviting and relaxing – just make sure these are safely put out before bed or choose scented oils
- Writing a gratitude journal including three things you’re grateful for that day
Finally, writing a to-do list before bed can be relaxing to clear your mind and seeing the number of tasks on paper can feel less daunting. However, this can also stress you out further so only do this if you think it will help.
Sign up now to our free mysleep support programme to get helpful guidance on sleep, which is launching this October 2019.
2 Try a digital detox
In addition to turning off your devices an hour before bed, a digital detox can really help you overcome anxiety. You can start small by doing things like deleting social media apps and emails from your phone or having set times such as family mealtimes where no one uses their device.
3 Get more light
Spending as much time outdoors while it is still light can work wonders for your mental health. Although it’s darker in the morning, try and expose yourself to light as soon as you wake up, whether it’s natural or a bright lamp in your home. At lunch, try and leave the office to soak up as much light during the day.
4 Look at your diet
Eating processed and artificial food can really upset our body and food that’s full of sugar and salt can give us extremes of highs and lows. So, while grabbing a can of coke or a chocolate bar can offer a quick buzz, eating well throughout the day, e.g. adding protein and vegetables to each meal will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and will make you feel fuller and more energised for longer. It can also drastically improve your mood and mindset.
5 Drop one thing from your list
Do you keep adding all these little tasks to do your to-do list when you already have a million and one things to do? It can be really overwhelming when you take on too much and can trigger all sorts of mental and physical stress. Write a list of everything that you consider absolutely essential and commit to dropping one thing. It’s surprising how relieved you will feel!
6 Do something for yourself
Once you’ve dropped things from your list, you will hopefully have some free time to fill with things you enjoy. Try joining an exercise class or going for a jog to improve your mood or even just taking the time to have a relaxing bath or going for a coffee and reading a magazine.
7 Wrap up warm & cosy
There is no better feeling than coming home from a busy day and putting on something comfortable, is there? Especially when it’s really cold or raining outside. Treating yourself to a big blanket and simply relax in the warmth will help your mind and body feel so much better.
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