We might not be going back to school, but for many people September can bring the same sense of foreboding.
The school run slips back into your routine, the office gets busier, and everything suddenly seems a bit more serious. Not to mention, the weather worsens and the days get shorter.
It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that anxiety and depression can worsen come the start of the autumn season.
As BBC News reports, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is estimated to affect around one in 15 people in the UK, with symptoms lasting between the months of September and April.
And mental health charity Anxiety UK expects its helpline to see an increase in calls this month.
The charity’s chief executive, Nicky Lidbetter, told the BBC: “We see it every year; summer really does impact people’s moods. People feel more resilient and able to cope when the sun is shining.”
But autumn leaves many “pining that summer is gone”, and September “feels like a time to be more serious”, which can create a sense of anxiety.
So, how can you make sure your office beats the ‘September blues’?
A recent article by The Pool suggests a change in perspective could help, by adopting the French tradition of la rentrée and seeing September as a new beginning, not the end of summer.
Literally meaning “the return”, la rentrée might commonly refer to the start of the school year, but it also applies to the start of the political, professional and social calendar — mostly due to the majority of the country taking August off.
Author of The New Paris, Lindsey Tramuta, explains that la rentrée is a way of seeing everything beginning anew, but with more optimism than January 1st.
“It’s not about resolutions, it’s about starting a new season with a bit more bounce in your step,” Tramuta notes.
You can also use your office design as a way to beat the blues.
Counteract the dark and gloomy weather by filling the office with bright colours, be it through a lick of paint or through some ergonomic new furniture.
Let in the light
With shorter days, we need to make as much of the light as we can. Make sure your office is flooded with natural light wherever possible. Could any of your internal walls be replaced with glass bricks to maximise light through the space?
Being active every day releases endorphins which, in turn, helps to reduce stress. Could a quick office redesign encourage your team to move more? Not only will this help their health, it might also boost collaboration between team members.
Real plants can help brighten up your workspace and increase the quality of office air. Several plants of varying heights arranged together may also help to block out noise or create quiet areas for private meetings.