“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” — Emily Bronte
Autumn is transform summer to winter: when nighttime arrives earlier, days become shorter, and temperatures become cooler. “Autumn,” a Latin word, first appeared in English in the late 14th century, and over took “harvest.” In the 17th century, “fall” came into use, almost certainly as a poetic complement to “spring,” according to “Folk Taxonomies in Early English” (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003) by Earl R. Anderson.
Animals prepare themselves for the upcoming cold weather, storing food or traveling to warmer regions. We should also prepare ourselves for autumn. As I was raking my leaves the other day, I was thinking about how Fall is my favorite season. Thou it is not everyone’s favorite and a hard season. Autumn begins with a lot of new things: school, clothes, TV shows and ends with holidays. It can trigger “Autumn Anxiety”. The scheduling and newness of the season can bring on anxiety and depression. Some signs of Autumn Anxiety are: you can’t stop worrying or concentrate, avoid your usual activities, you can’t get out of bed, feel hopeless, and gaining or losing weight without trying
Here are some ways to manage your anxiety:
- Pick a sound or object for your mantra. When I feel the stomach pains or shortness of breathe, I look out the window at the trees whether in my car or at home. The changing colors and even the falling leaves bring me comfort. For you, it could be a sound, song or picture that calms.
- Be in the now. Don’t worry about the 3:00 pm meeting or the school function on Friday or the project due next week. Just worry about this minute.
- Allergies. Controlling our seasonal allergies will help our anxiety and depression. My allergies are always worse in the fall. To prepare, I schedule a doctor’s appointment. Also I make sure to do a fall cleaning so when I begin to spend more time inside, it will be a clean and dust-free space.
- Breathe. When our anxiety begins to increase, our breathing begins to decrease. Start with a slow inhale and slow exhale. When you exhale, let go of the anxiety.
- Stop. As Fall progresses, we tend to take on more responsibilities. Sometimes your anxiety is telling you that you are doing too much and need to stop.
- Vitamin D and Magnesium. The shorter days and decreased daylight can have a seasonal effect on people. Adding some Vitamin D may relieve anxiety symptoms. Magnesium is a natural relaxer. It soothes our muscles and calms our minds.
- Embrace Autumn. Instead of seeing all the bad things of autumn. Try planning a few activities, adding autumnal foods to recipes, and plan some indoor activities. Learning to embrace fall instead of dreading it will help associate the good things of fall and enjoy it. Some of fall’s harvest helps combat anxiety: pumpkin seeds, squash, cinnamon, and apples.
I love going to the cider mill and enjoying warm donuts and apple cider. It is something that I do every year and look forward too.
What do you do to cope with Autumn Anxiety?