Stress Management Routines for Back-to-School
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
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This school year has been quite stressful for kids and teens in South Florida.
We are about 4-5 weeks into the school year and it’s looking way different than ever before. Some kids are in class (if they are in private school), but can’t play with their friends like usual, while other kids are home all day, learning a completely new way to “go to school.”
This change can bring stress into a child’s or teen’s life.
“Stress” is a word that is thrown around quite freely now-a-days. But it is actually an amazing response of our body to cope with change. It happens in response to both positive and negative life events!
Cleveland Clinic offers a great definition of stress: “the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.”
Like most things, a little bit of stress can be a good thing. It keeps us adapting, changing and growing. The issue is when there is too much stress that we cannot handle! For example, you might notice that when you have 1 or 2 things on your to-do list, you are focused and organized. But when it gets to 11-12 items, you might feel overwhelmed and shut-down. When you have 0 items, you might be home all day on the couch and not moving. It’s the same for your children. They need just the right amount to keep them productive and moving forward!
As your child navigates both to new teachers, a new grade, and this new environment we are facing, it is important to incorporate stress management routines in order to help their bodies adapt and manage the amount of stress they have.
When we don’t appropriately manage their stress it can lead to anxiety, meltdowns, and disordered eating/physical activity routines.
So what are some ways to help with stress management?
1. Help your child connect to their body and learn what stress feels like for them: By connecting with our body and learning what our triggers are, we can learn when the best time is for us to use stress management strategies. For example, when I get stressed, my brow creases, my heart beats faster, and I stop talking. This is my cue that I need to take a break.
2. Find their triggers: There are certain things that stress us out more than others. By finding these triggers we can either offload some, or problem solve how to navigate them successfully. For example, if you know your child gets very stressed about big presentations, you can help them utilize a stress management routine as the event gets closer.
3. Try different stress management strategies: What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. When I was growing up, my mom would take me to Target and we would window shop and look at all the cute items when I was sad. It’s something I still do to this day. However, not everyone may love Target as much as I do! It’s important to help your child discover what stress management techniques work for them. Here’s a couple ideas to get you started:
a. Deep breathing techniques
b. Visual Imagery
f. Playing with pets
4. Create a routine: By scheduling stress management into your child’s or teen’s day, you can create a habit, try new techniques, and really figure out what works. It also gives you a chance to manage the stress before it gets too high. Find a time that works best for them to do this. For me, I like to do it first thing in the morning otherwise the day gets away from me!
Stress management is important at every age. I hope that these tips help your kids and teens feel their best for back-to-school.
If your child is struggling with the amount of stress they are encountering with back-to-school, or is using unhealthy coping methods (like overexercising or food) please reach out to me at Samantha@theot4me.com. I offer free Lifestyle Consults, and would be more than happy to discuss your person concerns!
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