A new school year can feel like an immediate switch in state of mind. It’s going from flip flops, swimming and staying up late watching movies to homework, an early rise and a constant state of rush. Every kid will respond differently to the beginning of a new school year. Some are eager for it’s start while others may dread it. What’s important is to remind them you are in their corner as well as providing opportunities to identify how they’re feeling. Knowing how to identify red flags for back to school stress and anxiety is key. It can make the transition and the next ten months healthier and more enjoyable.
When I was a kid…
Ok, so this is where our kids will meet us with the roll of eye or a very heavy sigh. Obviously, we were all kids at one point and feel as though we can identify with our kids stress and angst. It’s ok to share your own stress and angst of the past, but realize growing up in today’s world vs. your experience is totally different. The world is a different place and when we can digest that it can validate their feelings and allow us to empathize with where their at.
How to identify red flags for back to school stress and anxiety…
When stress and anxiety go unchecked and are allow to fester and simmer, it doesn’t lead to good things. Every kid is different, but their are a few red flags to look out for.
- Withdrawn from friends and / or more time secluded from others than normal
- Change in eating habits – increase or decrease in eating habits
- Habits that are triggered by stress/ anxiety: tapping, biting fingernails, twitching, etc.
- Make excuses to avoid trying out for a sports team or school activity
- Seem to get lost in gaming, social media, etc. more than normal
- More prone to exhibit lashing out at those around them for no apparent reason
Red flags for back to school stress and anxiety will fluctuate with every kid. The truth is every child handles stress/ anxiety differently. For them to know how to handle it in a healthy manner is important. Here are a few ideas to encourage them to decompress without feeling like they’re being interrogated.
Six ways to decompress….
- Join a gym and go alone, with friends or join classes. It’s whatever they’re most comfortable with.
- Get a punching bag – seriously, I encourage every teen to have one. It’s a great way to blow off steam and it does wonder for stress and anxiety.
- Before going to bed and when waking up get in a routine of 20 push ups and 20 jumping jacks. Increase with stamina. It’s a quick way to take the edge off.
- Listen to music that is relaxing for them rather than scrolling through social media before going to bed.
- Get a diffuser and set it up in their bedroom before they go to bed. Diffuse essential oils such as lavender or lemon grass. (I LOVE Rocky Mountain Oils. Feel free to hop on GC’s website and check out my storefront with all their products).
- Keep a balance and avoid having them over committed and over stretched. A balance is important for all of us.
Back to school…
Stress and anxiety are almost an inevitable part of a new school year. But we have young people who may internalize their emotions leading to headaches, increased anxiety and potenti
ally poor decision making. We can circumvent much of the negative when we lay the groundwork for positive ways to cope and address their challenges. If they feel like they need more than these strategies it’s ok and encouraged for them to consider chatting with an outside counselor. To have someone objective and qualified to share their concerns with can do wonders. I always encourage people to network with their friends for counselor suggestions or even reach out to your school’s counseling department.
When we work together good things can happen.
I wish you and your child a healthy and productive school year. Peace, love and goodness!