These are the signs you’re experiencing ‘September anxiety’

Your brain may still associate this period with going back to school

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Have you noticed a massive shift in your mood lately? Does everything seem way more serious than it did a few weeks ago? Are you feeling oddly overwhelmed by everything you do? Are you feeling uneasy and can’t pinpoint why? Congratulations, you may be experiencing a new phenomenon called September anxiety! It’s basically normal anxiety but you may be feeling it more intensely after having a relaxed, stress-free summer.

What is September anxiety? And what causes it?

September anxiety is just anxiety, but it’s triggered by the feeling that the summer holidays are now over and life needs to get back to being serious. You may be coming back to uni or going back to work after relaxing holidays. But you’re feeling easily exhausted and overwhelmed by long to-do lists or having to make any decisions.

Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, Medical Director at Bupa Health Clinics told Cosmopolitan: “It’s not uncommon for us to suspend our usual routine and habits during the summer months, which can make it harder to adjust back to normality. Because of this, September can be unsettling for some.”

You may also still be associating September with going back to school. Or your brain might be reacting to the change in weather. Seasonal affective disorder also comes and goes in a seasonal pattern and can massively affect your mental health, making you feel more depressed.

Dr Arun Thiyagarajan said: “Much like how we used to feel as children when September saw us going back to school, this period brings a sense of trepidation and naturally we may feel a bit unsettled.

“The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but the main theory is that a lack of sunlight might affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the production of serotonin, the hormone that affects our mood, appetite and sleep. The lack of sunlight and lower serotonin levels can lead to feelings of depression.”

These are the symptoms you may be experiencing September anxiety

– Feeling overwhelmed by everything

– Thinking that everything has to get serious now and freaking out about not having any more fun

– General unease, anxiety and excessive worry

– Feeling very tired with no real reason

– Feeling agitated by everything and everyone

– Struggling to sleep properly

– Struggling to concentrate

– Increased panic attacks

– Increased social anxiety

How to deal with September anxiety

Dealing with September anxiety is the same as addressing anxiety in general:

1. First make sure you talk to someone about how you’re feeling, having a clear understanding of what you’re going through may help you tackle your feelings a lot better.

2. Obviously if you’re feeling overwhelmed don’t over exert yourself, but also don’t lock yourself up at home. Keep connected to those around you and have good experiences to keep your spirits high.

3. Make sure you’re getting that vitamin D now that the sun isn’t around so much. Vitamin D is vital for melatonin and serotonin production which improves your mood and energy.

4. Do mindfulness exercises such as meditation, breathing and journalling. Make sure you’re keeping up your physical exercise too.

5. If you’re struggling with your anxiety and feel like you don’t have the tools to cope with it. Seek help and speak to a doctor. Book a GP appointment because you may be experiencing a health issue that needs further looking at.

If you feel like you need to reach out for help about any mental health issues mentioned in this article please book an appointment with your local GP or call 116 123 to speak to someone from Samaritans. 

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