So, that was the summer and now it’s the back-to-the-grindstone blues. If returning to work or school in September and shorter, colder days seem like a gloomy prospect, you’re not alone as experts say autumn can worsen anxiety and depression.
Part of this is down to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a condition that can bring on low moods and even depression during autumn and winter.
SAD affects about one in 15 people in the UK between the months of September and April, according to the NHS, and the lack of light is thought to affect the part of the brain that rules sleep and energy levels.
It can prevent more serious sufferers from functioning normally during the autumn and winter months.
SAD is thought to be caused by lack of light, as well as other factors such as colder temperatures and the return to normal routines. Anxiety UK, a mental health charity, also says it expects to receive more calls to its helpline in September. It told the BBC that far fewer people contact the charity about anxiety and depression when the sun is shining.
With SAD, the lack of light is thought to affect the part of the brain that rules sleep and energy levels, says Anxiety UK, and even for people without the disorder, September can be a difficult time as school starts and workplaces get busier coupled with worsening weather, shorter days and the long wait until the next holiday over Christmas and the new year.
“We see it every year; summer really does impact people’s moods,” Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, told the BBC. “People feel more resilient and able to cope when the sun is shining. Summer is a time when it’s a more relaxed atmosphere in general, there is less traffic on the roads, it’s not as structured.”
While going back to work offers some structure and order to life, it can lead to stress and anxiety which, says the National Council for Hypnotherapy, can see about one in seven people in the UK suffering from this at any one time.
“We live in a society where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us,” adds the NCH. “And while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.”
But people wanting to overcome their stress and anxiety can be effectively treated by clinical hypnotherapy and the NCH has more than 1,800 therapists across the UK who are trained and registered with the national body.
A therapist, says the NCH, will assess the anxiety, find its root cause and then work with the client to achieve a goal of being free of that problem.
“After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you,” adds the NCH. “Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily. People who have experienced side effects of anxiety such as insomnia, find that they are sleeping much better and as a result are able to work more effectively.”
If you are feeling the autumn blues, contact an NCH-registered hypnotherapist near you by clicking here to access the directory of members to arrange a session. It will be worth it…