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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ICU (Japan) chapter.

What is May disease?

In Japan, many students and employees start their new life on April as it is the beginning of a new year in Japan. “May Disease” or “May Sickness” is a common phenomenon to be seen among students and employees in May. Since there is a short break called ‘Golden Week’ (a holiday in Japan that typically occurs from late April to early May) at the beginning of May, many people feel fatigued when returning to their school or work environment. After taking the break, many people experience what is known as ‘May Sickness,’ which why it is associated with the month of May.

What are the signs of May Disease?

Common signs of may diseases are the feeling of fatigue, depression, stress coming from transitioning and adjusting to a new school or work environment after a long break called Golden Week. During Golden Week, many people often travel or relax with their families and friends which can make it tough return to normal life. This change in lifestyle may cause people to feel pressured and result in feelings of uneasiness or fatigue. Although this is not a medically recognised condition and is more of a cultural phenomenon resulting from adjusting to a new life after a period of fun or relaxation, it is important to cope with any symptoms resulting from stress or depression and seek for support if needed. 

Ways to cope with May Disease

1. Reach to your friends and family

One way to deal with the stress of adjusting to a new environment is to talk with your friends and family. This not only helps you organise your thoughts, stress or depression and possibly receive good advice or may find a solution to your stress, but it also allows you to feel more comfortable discussing your feelings with those close to you. 

2. Self-care

Taking good care of yourself may help deal with May Disease. Engaging in self-care activities such as eating healthy nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. These activities not only help to ease stress but also contribute to improving your mental and physical health. 

3. Set realistic goals and create a new routine

Setting realistic goals may help especially if the stress you are feeling is coming from new school assignments or work tasks. Breaking down tasks into smaller, achievable steps can prevent feelings of being overwhelmed and create a sense of accomplishment which would reduce stress. Additionally, creating a new routine can help reduce the stress arising from transitioning to a new environment by reducing uncertainty and promoting stability.

4. Seek out professional support if needed

If the feeling of stress, depression or anxiety becomes overwhelming, it is important to consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support. Sharing your feelings with your trusted loved ones or engaging in therapy or counselling sessions can help you deal with May Disease and improve overall health.

I hope these ideas help you deal with your stress and anxiety coming from adjesting to a new environment!

Nagomi Ino

ICU (Japan) '27

Hi! I'm Nagomi and I'm studying at ICU!