Autumn Anxiety? Here’s How to Navigate Seasonal Mood Shifts

As the days grow shorter and the bright summer sun slowly starts to fade away, some people feel autumn anxiety creep in this time of year. Just like the changing colours of nature, our inner world undergoes shifts as we say goodbye to the warm summer months and welcome a new season.

Whether it’s a drop in cortisol levels, the anxiety of going back to school, or mood changes because of the colder, darker months ahead, it’s essential to recognize these emotional shifts so you can work through them. With the right tools and mindset, you can navigate seasonal changes with grace and self-compassion.

Practice Mindfulness: Stay Present, Stay Grounded

Amidst the whirlwind of seasonal changes, grounding yourself in the present moment through mindfulness can be incredibly powerful. Take time each day to engage in mindfulness practices such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation. These techniques can help center your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to embrace the present with clarity and calmness.

By staying present, you become more attuned to your emotions as they arise. This heightened awareness allows you to respond to emotions in a healthier and more balanced manner rather than reacting impulsively. These calming techniques also help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the body’s stress response (fight-or-flight), leading to a calmer physiological state and reduced anxiety.

Stay Active: Move Your Body

Regular physical activity is a great way to boost your mood and reduce anxiety- a bonus if you get outside! Whether it’s a brisk walk, a mindful yoga class, or a quick gym session, moving your body releases endorphins, which are natural stress relievers.

Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins, also known as “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Endorphins act as mood lifters and natural painkillers, promoting a sense of euphoria and reducing anxiety and stress. Choose activities that boost your mood and make them a regular part of your routine.

woman stretching to working through autumn anxiety

Create Stability Through a Consistent Routine

Anxiety often thrives on uncertainty and unpredictability. Maintaining a consistent daily routine can provide stability and a sense of control as the seasons change around you.

Set aside time for self-care, work, leisure, and rest. Having a structured routine can help ease anxiety and provide a sense of predictability during the seasonal transition.

With a healthy routine in place, you’ll be better equipped to cope with anxiety triggers and stressful situations. The stability provides a buffer, allowing you to approach challenges with a more grounded and composed mindset.

Stay Connected: Reach Out and Get Support

Occasional shifts in mood are normal, especially as the seasons change. However, seasonal mood changes can be more intense for some people, leading to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This type of depression usually occurs at specific times of the year, typically during fall and winter. It can cause symptoms such as sadness, lethargy, changes in appetite, and difficulty sleeping.

If autumn anxiety or depression overwhelms you, don’t hesitate to seek support from a professional counsellor or therapist. Talking through your feelings and worries with a trained professional can provide valuable insights and coping strategies.

young woman speaking with therapist about autumn anxiety

Remember, autumn is a season of transformation and growth—a time to shed old habits and embrace new possibilities. By embracing the beauty of the changing seasons and practicing self-care, you can navigate autumn anxiety with resilience and find joy in the abundant gifts this season brings. So, welcome the crisp air and falling leaves with an open heart, knowing that within you lies the strength to navigate any seasonal shift with grace and ease.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and/or problematic substance use, contact us today. At Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, our team of professionals is ready to help.