FIGHTING AUTUMN ANXIETY
Fighting Autumn Anxiety
Who here has heard of seasonal anxiety disorder (SAD)? Even if you are saying ‘no’ chances are that you have and maybe it’s even something that affects you. SAD is exactly how it sounds. It’s a depression that occurs the same time every year for a person and it’s very common. According to a survey done by Mayo Clinic, over 3 million people in this country battle this yearly, I am one of them.
There are different reasons that cause SAD more than others, as you guess Autumn and Winter are our winners. With this shift, we can find ourselves quickly treading the water of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. Hope is not lost though, there are many strategies and routines we can do to combat this anxiety. Although this anxiety is likely something that visits you yearly it is not something that you can’t overcome. Use the list of tips below and take a proactive mind and remember you can do this!
- Know your triggers With the shifting of the winds to fall also comes lots of change. The weather is getting colder, school is starting back up, pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere you look, and we’re all gearing up for the end of year and holidays. This is a lot of shifting and change which is something anxiety feeds off of. Set time aside to identify what the things are in your life that is anxiety-inducing. They are slightly different for each person so knowing what affects you is critical. Is it the influx of opportunities to get involved in new things, is it the cold breeze reminding you winter is coming, maybe it’s the upcoming time with family. Whatever it is, when you know your triggers you can ensure you have the tools to protect yourself when you encounter triggering moments that might cause increased anxiety.
- Come on’ get happy We need some extra help to pick us up from time to times and that’s ok. Identify five things that you can do for yourself when you feel anxiety begins to set in. This could be simply taking a minute to focus on breathing, setting a small reward for yourself at the end of a hectic and stressful day, or starting your day with some time under a happy light
- Set yourself up for success with routine Anxiety thrives on inconsistency and not knowing what comes next. Begin to combat this by setting yourself up for success by incorporating small routines in your day. Start by making your bed each morning and creating a night time routine. Start and close your days out with intent.
- Mindful of what you put in your mouth: Foods and supplements matter. When you are feeling down make sure that you are eating lots of clean fresh fruits and veggies. Processed foods are not your friend! I know that doughnut or those fries seem like they will make you feel better in the moment but they actually make you feel more sluggish and are hard for your body to process which contributes to the overall ‘blah’ feeling.
- Give yourself grace: This is something I have to remind myself of a lot. Anxiety feeds off of us feeling like we have too much on our plates and are unsuccessful (enter imposter syndrome). When we start to feel this overwhelming sensation we can simply stop and bring ourselves back into reality. Take a few breaths, notice where you are, and say the things you have done, without the negative mindset. (For example, I have written one email, as opposed to I have three more emails to write!)
As we continue to settle into Fall and inevitably the cold of winter keep these fast five ideas in mind when you start to feel anxiety come. While we might not be able to make our feelings completely leave we can begin to use our strategies to armor ourselves and make our seasons a bit brighter, allowing us to be able to be in the present moment more, which has no space for anxiety to throw us off our game.