What is Autumn Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Dr. Vidhi Modi

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vidhi Modi


7 min read


Autumn is one of the best seasons of the year. The fall season is filled with joy, changing colours, shorter days, cool breezes, trendy fashion, and a season of comfort and cosiness. Yet some people find it hard to welcome this change. People might experience changes in their behaviour, stress level and increased anxiety, commonly referred to as autumn anxiety. 

Key Takeaways

  • Most of the time, people experiencing anxiety in autumn may not be aware of why they feel this way
  • In some cases, it lasts only a few weeks and disappears as Halloween rolls around
  • Understanding the causes of autumn anxiety may help to cope with it

Experts suggest various reasons may trigger autumn anxiety; sometimes, it may occur due to the beginning of a new academic year, work stress after having a carefree summer time, or the absence of sunlight. If this happens every year, it is important to analyze the symptoms and seek a professional's advice. Below you may refer to the symptoms one experiences because of autumn anxiety.

Symptoms of Autumn Anxiety

According to the psychiatrist, here are a few symptoms you may encounter that could be due to autumn anxiety; it differs from person to person:

  • Fear, Anxiety & over worrying 
  • Decreased mood 
  • Depression 
  • Less interest in daily activities 
  • Sleepiness, low energy 
  • Fatigue 
  • Irritability
Autumn AnxietyAdditional reads: How Summer Heat Affects Our Mental Health

Causes to Feel Anxiety in Autumn

Starting Off The New Academic Year

Returning to school is exciting and sometimes frightening due to new responsibilities and family expectations. Parents may feel worried about new school year expenses and the balance between work and family time. Students and parents may go through social stress and other anxiety problems.


As per a study by the Journal of Affective Disorders, people suffering from allergies may likely have depression and sadness. Allergies attack bodies which also influence the brain resulting in mild depressive symptoms. Chances of having depression in allergic patients are likely twice compared to others, which could be the case in autumn anxiety. [1]

Less Exposure To Sunlight

This is the most common reason for autumn anxiety. Due to shorter days and lower temperatures, one may fail to receive the required amount of sunlight for the body, resulting in autumn anxiety. Sunlight is essential for vitamin D; its deficiency may cause anxiety, depression, and sadness. Decreased sunlight exposure may also result in a falling level of serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleeping patterns. [2]


It is a season where you may have targeted high goals, and for specific reasons, it may not have happened. If you are going through this guilt or regret, often, it may lead to anxiety and depression. This also creates a situation where you get stuck or hold on to a particular incident, limiting you from moving forward. This is one of the factors contributing to autumn anxiety.

Holiday Memories 

Summer is a season when you create a lot of good memories with your loved ones. Sticking to those days and scrolling through happy photos may create loneliness and lethargy. Researches also suggest that being too active on social media and peeping at others' luxurious happy lives may raise anxiety. [3] You can avoid using mobiles for at least a few hours if that helps. Additionally, déjà vu, the feeling of experiencing something before, has also been known to induce anxiety.

Lack Of Physical Activity

Longer nights and a cool climate enhance mood swings and make one lazy. In addition to it, the climate may not support outdoor gyms. This reason boosts laziness levels. However, following a healthy, active lifestyle is important to balance physical and mental health. Healthy practices should not dwell on climate change. You can fight autumn anxiety by being active.

Additional reads: Seasonal DepressionAutumn Anxiety symptoms

How To Prevent Autumn Anxiety?

After identifying the cause of anxiety in autumn, next, we can try different ways to prevent it from happening occasionally.

More Exposure To Sunlight

Morning sunlight is considered a natural vitamin supplement for our body. To get enough exposure to sunlight, try to get up earlier and have a short outdoor walk. Morning fresh air and sunshine will help to calm your mind and body from external stress. Experts suggest you go to bed earlier to eliminate or combat fatigue and daytime sleepiness.

Due to lengthening darkness, one may find it hard to receive enough sunshine. In those situations, light therapy boxes can work. It is a therapy that suggests sitting in front of a bright lamp called a light box for 30 minutes to expose the eyes to extra light.


Regular exercise, irrespective of the season, will help deal with autumn anxiety. If you are a gym person, you may find it challenging in autumn because this season is best suited for short outdoor walks and cycle rides. But you don't have to overexert yourself to feel better; psychologists suggest a ten-minute walk is as beneficial as 45 minutes workout. [4].

Say No To New Responsibilities

It is also a season where we have a huge checklist to achieve. Juggling between classes, work, clubs, and volunteering won't be easy. If anxiety in autumn is real for you, this additional activity will not serve you any better. Instead, saying no to extra responsibilities and finding some relaxing time is good for dealing with autumn anxiety.

Knowing You Better

Sometimes we do things only to make our loved ones happy or for society. As a result, we stress about things that no longer make us happy. Remember being honest with yourself is important and will help you get rid of unnecessary stress and anxiety. If your loved ones truly care for you, they will understand and stand by you. Acknowledging your limitations will open a new door to being your better version, and autumn is the perfect season to start something fresh.

Healthy Diet 

Every season brings new cuisines to try, and changing your diet is also a good option. You can enjoy flavourful soups, warm meals other healthy diets and restore essential nutrients needed in the autumn season.

Additional reads: Nutritional Deficiency

Party Time 

Suppose you are an indoor person who likes to spend more time with yourself. Upcoming thanksgiving parties and social gatherings may be a nightmare for you. Turning down the invitation and celebrating the way you love it is okay.

Relax and Go with The Flow 

No matter how old you are, there will be a challenge or problem waiting for you. It becomes more complicated by anticipating the problem. The best way is to focus on the present and stop worrying about the future. It doesn't matter how harder you push to have a perfect thanksgiving speech. Sometimes things are not in our control, so relax, enjoy the autumn and make some good memories to share at Thanksgiving.

You can also try meditation; at the beginning, it may feel like it isn't working, but with expert guidance and consistency, you may see changes.

Check Out The Doctor's Advice

Psychologists say that changes in season may affect one's mood and anxiety level. [5] People talk about SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and autumn anxiety is similar to seasonal affective disorder. However, it is not a recognized condition. The term was first discovered by a therapist named Ginny Scully when a patient with anxiety visited her chamber in September. The sudden transition in lifestyle may raise anxiety in autumn, like going back to school or work after having an incredible vacation which usually gets normal after adapting to new circumstances.

In some scenarios, autumn anxiety is real and treatable via professional help and medication. According to research, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) effectively treats autumn sadness and seasonal affective disorder. [6] Antidepressants are also prescribed to treat SAD.

If you feel overwhelmed by the situation, don't wait; seek a doctor's consultation to avoid future complications. Sussan David, a psychologist in Massachusetts and the author of the book Emotional Agility says bottling up emotions encourages depression and lowers well-being. Thus, it is always beneficial to seek help rather than struggle alone.

Visiting a psychiatrist directly for the first time may not be comfortable. Thus, to simplify the process, Bajaj Finserv Health has initiated an online consultation facility where you can seek a professional's advice in the comfort of your home.

To get a doctor consultation, you have to download the Bajaj Finserv Health application from the play store or app store and register your details like name and contact number. You can fix an online appointment with the doctor with a single click. Take the step today to replace the autumn of anxiety with the autumn of joy.

Published on 6 Sep 2022Last updated on 18 Jan 2023
  1. https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/10/06/allergies-mental-health-risk-study/3541633526032/#:~:text=Those%20with%20allergic%20diseases%20were%2045%25%20more%20likely,by%20periods%20of%20depression%20and%20abnormally%20elevated%20mood.
  2. https://www.pbsnc.org/blogs/science/sunlight-happiness-link/#:~:text=During%20the%20winter%20months%2C%20days%20are%20shorter%20and,hormone%20serotonin%20your%20body%20produces.%20What%20is%20serotonin%3F
  3. https://wrightfoundation.org/too-much-social-media-killing-your-social-life/
  4. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
  5. https://www.mentalhealthcenter.org/why-is-cbt-effective-for-mental-health-treatment/

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Vidhi Modi

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vidhi Modi

, MBBS 1 , MD - Psychiatry 3

Ms.Vidhi Modi Is A Psychiatrist, Adolescent, And Child Psychiatrist In Gota, Ahmedabad, And Has 4 Years Of Experience In This Field.Dr.Vidhi Modi Practices At Vidvish Neuropsychiatry Clinic, New S.G.Road, Gota, Ahmedabad As Well As Hetasvi Hospital, Shahibaug, Ahmedabad.She Completed Mbbs From Nhl Medical College, Ahmedabad In 2014 And M.D.Psychiatry) From B.J.Medical College, Ahmedabad In 2018.She Is A Member Of The Indian Psychiatry Society As Well As The Gujarat Psychiatry Society.Services Provided By The Doctor Are: Consultation, Psychotherapy, Child Counseling, Counseling Regarding The Sexual Problems In Females, Anger Management, Career Counseling, Marital Counseling, Behavior Therapy.

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