How To Help Mitigate Back-To-School Blues
For a lot of young people, summertime is filled with extra fun and relaxation, as well as the extra warmth and sunlight that comes with the season. Though you may not know it, this warm weather is actually proven to boost our moods and happiness. Sure, in Southern California, we do not experience the heightened seasonal changes as some climates do, but the days do get shorter and a bit chillier. These changes in weather, as well as the fact that many younger people need to face the beginning of the school year, can get them feeling anxious, stressed, or down. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and I am here to help give you the tools you need to keep your child (and yourself! ) from falling into the “back-to-school rut”.
Ways To Combat Back-To-School Stress
Help your child (and yourself) keep a healthy mind when the summer comes to an end.
- Eat: Keep you or your child healthy and happy by making sure they eat full and healthy meals. Hunger is an unhappy feeling that breeds stress and is easily avoided with proper meal prep.
- Exercise: Exercise is important not only for the body but also for the mind! Exercise is a great way to help your child fall asleep and reduce anxiety levels.
- Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential to our well-being, and is particularly important for those experiencing anxiety. Create a new school year bedtime to help you or your child develop healthy sleep habits. Encourage naps during the afternoons if needed as well.
- Evening Baths: Baths before bed help promote relaxation and a better night’s sleep. The small drop in body temperature should help the body fall into a deeper sleep.
- Meditate: Meditation comes in various forms, and can be as simple as slow and deep breathing. If possible, try having you or your child meditate daily. Studies have shown clear anxiety-reducing benefits from mindfulness meditation, as it works to help detach yourself from worries or anxieties you may have.
- Focus On The Positive: Once you feel like you have an understanding of what is making your child anxious, make it a point to try to bring positivity to the table. Consider asking your child daily to give three examples of things they are most excited about or grateful for. If you are the one going back to school, think about writing down 5 things you are grateful for before you leave the house in the morning.
- Provide A Space To Talk About Your Concerns: If it is your child who is going back to school, provide a place and time to listen to their concerns. Letting them share their fears and talk about what is on their mind can work well to alleviate some of their worries completely. For some, this is most effective when done casually, such as in the bath or in the car. For others, a more formal sit-down with undivided attention is more beneficial. If you are the one going back to school, make it a point to bring up your concerns in conversation with those you feel the most comfortable talking to.
- Pay Attention To Your Behavior: For parents, it is extremely important to pay attention to the behavior you display in front of your child. Children of all ages take cues from their parents, and internalize the way their parents act and respond to situations. If many situations make you stressed and anxious, try to react around your children in ways you would want them to react and respond.
Contact Dr. Kelly Mothner, Your Manhattan and Hermosa Beach Therapist
I offer these tips as groundwork for you to try at home to combat back-to-school blues. Whether it is school that makes you or your child most anxious, or just the stresses of daily life, I am here to help. If you have any questions on the tips I have provided, or if you would like to set up a session with me, please give my office a call. I am happy to meet with you, and in our sessions we can figure out what it is that would be most helpful for the unique needs of you or your child. You can reach me by phone at (310) 892-2572, or through my contact page. I look forward to helping you or your child!