5 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS & ANXIETY (as we head back to school!)

Whether you are back to normal, home schooling, or some combination, these tips will have you ready to handle it all!

Whether you are back to normal, home schooling, or some combination, these tips will have you ready to handle it all!

5 Ways to Handle Stress & Anxiety

This year, I spent extra time pondering my back-to-school tips to make sure they would help everyone feel calm & confident no matter your school situation. So, with that all in mind, here are my top five tips for you!

No. 1: Create Predictability

There is enough in the world right now that is uncertain. Creating structure, routine, and predictability are great ways to help calm any anxiety and overwhelm we feel.

We know kids thrive on consistency and knowing what to expect. But adults do too! Do yourself a favor and create some predictability for your family.

Your family may benefit from a detailed schedule. Or you may do better with a general routine or block schedule, something that gives you basic guidelines of when different activities are happening but allows for more flexibility.

No. 2: Get Dressed

The clothes we wear can signal to our brain what “mode” we are in. PJ’s signal it is time to rest and relax. Day clothes signal it is time to do things.

If you are going back to school, decide with your kids the day or week before what they are going to wear. This helps cut back on fights and the early morning rush, while making sure things are clean and ready to go.

If you are home schooling, I still encourage you to have your kids get dressed for school. This simple act can help your kids focus better.

Getting dressed every day is also a great part of providing that predictability for you and your kids, and even a sense of accomplishment. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes simply getting dressed is the win of the day!

No. 3: Create a Dedicated Work Space

Did you know, we condition our brains by the activities we repeatedly do in specific locations. (Ever felt hungry just because you walked into the kitchen? That’s what I’m talking about.)

Make things easier on yourself and your kids. Create a dedicated study space to train their brain that this is the place we study. Doing this will set them up to be more productive!

BONUS Tip: If you have multiple kids, headphones and tri-fold cardboard presentation folders can be even more helpful to create individual study spaces.

(The tri-fold cardboard boards can be found at many dollar stores or office supply stores for $1-$5. Think of the boards used for science fair projects, that’s what we’re talking about. You can even have you kids decorate their board the same way an employee may decorate their cubicle!)

No. 4: Build in Breaks

By saying “build in breaks” I mean more than just time to go to the bathroom, get a snack, or chill for a minute. I mean times of intentional connection and emotional check ins.

Spend time playing and talking together. These are great opportunities to ask how they are feeling to keep tabs on how everyone is handling the new adjustments. Be open and honest yourself and share some of your emotions too.

(No, I’m not suggesting you scare you children or release all your stress on them. Rather, you want to model that even adults are worried, anxious, scared, or overwhelmed at times and that’s okay. If you would like extra support or ideas on how to do this, feel free to schedule a free no obligation, no pressure, no sale, call to chat - mom to mom - by visiting the link in my IG bio @making.homes.a.haven)

Recognize it’s okay to give yourself and your kids mental/emotional health days the same way you would physical sick days. In fact, these are great days to spend building connections!

No. 5: Know Your Child

I HIGHLY recommend the book and podcast The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. It is my go-to resource for understanding my family and how to best support them.

Some kids will deal with the changes by seeming to not taking things very seriously, looking to lighten the mood and have fun. Let them. This is okay. Some kids may be more emotional and need more physical touch and reassurance, that’s okay, let them.

Some kids will need more physical outlets to relieve their stress. That’s okay, let them. Help them find healthy ways to get active like going on walks, climbing on a playground,etc. This will help cut back on aggressive outburst of anger or hitting.

Some kids will need information and find comfort in understanding what’s going on and being able to make some of their own decisions in what they want to do. That’s okay, let them. Don’t feel the need to hide or protect them from everything, and seek their input when making decisions that affect them.

* BONUS TIP: Trust Yourself & Give Yourself Grace *

Most importantly, know you are an AMAZING mom. You are doing a wonderful job. Give yourself and your family grace as you navigate these new changes and most importantly, trust yourself.

You know what is right for you and your family. And what is correct for you is not correct for everyone else. That’s okay. You were given charge of your children, trust that you will be able to seek the guidance you need to best care for them.

You’ve got this!

What are your favorite tips for managing stress and anxiety as we head back to school? Share in the comments below.

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