Autumn anxiety is a term I heard recently. It is the feeling of upheaval that comes when shifting from a relaxed, carefree summer mode to the many changes that come with fall, such as back-to-school, cooler weather, and a fuller and more hectic schedule of events and activities.
I’ve had a few friends and colleagues undergo significant shifts recently. Some are just cutting back on their schedules and some are making radical changes to their lives and careers. It is a good reminder of the saying, “The only constant in life is change.”
As physicians, we not only adapt to change, but we help our patients and families navigate adjustments as well. Sometimes they are undergoing a developmental shift in their child or teen; other times they may be coping with the news of a diagnosis that feels like it came out of nowhere.
I believe it is our reaction to change that makes it feel better or worse. In situations where we cannot alter our circumstances, we have power over our emotional response. That control can give us a sense of confidence or peace as we move through the change.
I hope as we head into the fall months, you don’t have a case of autumn anxiety, but if you do, know that you are not alone. If your feelings are more than a reaction to a change of pace or the new season, please seek support. We have a list of physician resources at www.mnaap.org/physician-burnout-recommended-reading-and-resource-list/ and you can also contact your employer to discuss how help is available to you.
Here’s to managing the ups and downs of this crazy roller coaster of life we’re all on.
Eileen Crespo, MD, FAAP