All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey

16 October 2014

How are you settling in? And what's it got to do with Chris Martin from Coldplay?

Well, Chris' great-great-grandfather was William Willet, the first person in the UK to campaign for British Summer Time (when the clocks are set forward during the summer months to increase the amount of sunlight in the evenings). And now that autumn is here, we've officially reached the end of British Summer Time, the clocks go back an hour and the country returns to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This year, this is happening on Sunday 26th October at 02.00 (so, an hour after's 02.00).

With the clocks going back, the days get shorter and the nights start drawing in. In other words, it gets dark in the afternoon. And the cold, dark and often wet climate in the UK at this time of year is one of the main reasons you may be experiencing culture shock - the unsettling feelings associated with moving from a familiar environment to an unfamiliar one.

Obviously, the UK climate will feel especially unusual to people from hotter, sunnier parts of the world but culture shock is a common experience for anyone away from home, adjusting to a new country and a different way of life. There are lots of things that can make your new world seem strange and overwhelming - unfamiliar food, language difficulties, unusual clothing, and differences in the way people behave. Read more about culture shock

Lots of people find that their culture shock experience isn't a one-off reaction.  In fact, people often experience different feelings at different times. Read more about the different stages of culture shock

So, what can you do if you're experiencing culture shock? First things first, it's often helpful simply to acknowledge that you're going through a very common experience and that the whole thing is quite normal. After that, we've got lots of advice on ways to help yourself

And remember, it's really not all bad - when the clocks go back, we all get an extra hour in bed. Or an extra hour to embrace the season, wrap up warm in hats, scarves and gloves, and go for a walk to enjoy the beautiful autumn colours on show. Why not head in the direction of a warm, cosy pub with a fire? If there's a quiz, you now know the answer to that tricky Chris Martin from Coldplay question...