I can’t help myself, but I always laugh out loud when I come across a back-to-school post from a mom who shows herself jumping enthusiastically in the air after dropping her kids off for the first day of school. We can all agree the high-fives, the fist pumps, and the exuberant dance moves are funny, right? Yet there are many of us who struggle as the school year approaches. In fact, often, it’s no laughing matter.
A 2019 survey reported in the New York Post found that 60% of parents were so stressed about back-to-school, they actually lost sleep over it. Of the 2,000 parents of children ages 5-18 surveyed, 57% of them also considered it to be the most stressful time of the year.*
*Note—that was pre-pandemic. Since April, 2020 (oh joy of joys), we have even more on our laundry list of concerns, from masking and health concerns, to learning pods and contingency plans.
Before you succumb to all that added stress, consider the following quick coping mechanisms that can take your back-to-school season from Oh, boy… to Jumpin’ for Joy!According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, here are Healthy & Practical Ways to Manage Stress Triggers:
- Take a time-out. Pray, listen to music, meditate, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
- Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
- Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.
- Get outside even just for a moment to help shift your perspective.
- Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary. Take slow intentional breaths.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
- Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Tap into the character strength of gratitude often!
- Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern so you can steer clear of upsetting scenarios.
- Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
- Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
And since the ADAA specifically recommends humor, feast your eyes on these ridiculous back-to-school memes from actual moms who just get it.
Wishing you an AMAZING (scratch that—tolerable), Back-to-School season. Hang in there! It’s a pleasure enjoying this wild adventure of parenting and family life with you.
Speaking of adventure, want to give yourself and your kids something to look forward to during the dreaded Back-To-School season??? We’ve got your back!
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Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.