Dealing with Stress & Anxiety at the Start of the School Year

The school season has started for many and the stress and anxiety about the school year starts early.  There are the pressures of school demands, expectations of the year to come, the demands of social connections, not to mention school sports, expenses, extracurricular activities, starting a new school, and the physical and emotional changes that are likely occurring for a student.

Some amount of stress is good, it can keep a person motivated, organized, and keep the brain functioning.  However too much stress can interfere with development because a person can become immobilized when they feel overwhelmed.

Tips on preventing stress include spending time with your school aged children, providing a stable home environment in terms of rules at home, eating habits, routines, avoid over scheduling, schedule family time, and trying to understand behavior communicating with your student.  Routines help alleviate stress as well as teach kids to learn to develop routines for themselves.  Family meetings can be helpful by providing a way to regroup and talk about what is going on, as well as what isn’t working too well and reviewing schedules and expectations together.

Signs of stress can include:

  • Fears and nightmares
  • Negativism and lying
  • Withdrawal, regressive behaviors, or excessive shyness

Quick tips on managing anxiety and stress

  • Take a time out; schedule quiet time
  • Eating well-balanced meals & decrease sugar
  • Avoid excessive caffeine intake, illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Get enough sleep
  • Accept you cannot control everything
  • Welcome humor
  • A positive attitude
  • Talk to your supports
  • Exercise
  • Respect personal space

I hope the school year has started smoothly for you, let me know if you would like me to meet with your student if they are struggling in school so we can get them back on track.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Sleep

Sleep is so important to “power up” for your day, to ground your emotions, for numerous health reasons, and when we are stressed sleep can become difficult. Then the difficulty can be sleeping too much, or sleeping too little.

Today’s post is going to address sleeping too little. Here are my top 10 tips for the day:

1. Set a regular bedtime: Everyone (if possible) in a household needs a regular bed time. Often times I have recommended people set an alarm clock to go to bed, as I think this is just as important as a regular time to wake up.

  • suggests keeping this routine on the weekends too

2. Turn off the TV, computers, laptops, and disengage from your cellphones.

  • reports a recent study that found people engaging in too much screen time report lower quality sleep.

3. Exercise!
4. Reduce caffeine intake.

  • recommends not drinking caffeine after 2pm.

5. Nap for 30 minutes or less.

  • Dr. Frank Lipman: he suggests not napping more than once a day and often right after lunch is a good time for a power nap.

6. Keep your bedroom dark: light interferes with the production of melatonin which is good for helping you reach a sleepy state.
7. Relax! This helps your body release tension and often stretching during this time helps too.

8. Stop eating 2 hours bedtime.

  • suggests eating before you sleep keeps you from sleeping as deep.

9. Yes, you can stress about sleep. Try not to stress out about falling asleep. Are you wearing your favorite sleepwear? Do you have your favorite blanket or pillow?

10. Record what works!  Keep a sleep journal and look and see what’s working the best.