This is the first week of school in many of the counties around us, and I know many schools have started back up in the last week. It is time to implement those coping skills and schedules. It is go time!
With the start of school this year, there is a lot of anxiety around the changes that have been implemented due to COVID, as well as the unknown as to what is going to happen the rest of the year. As either a student or parent, addressing these anxieties can help one cope and prepare for the rest of the year.
Identify what you can and cannot control:
- COVID- NO
- My children/spouse- NO
- My responses- Yes.
- What I agree too or do not agree too- Yes.
- The school system- NO.
- My expectations of my kids and their education for this year- Yes.
You get the point. There are many factors this year that are stressful and not ideal. Can you control or change those factors? No. Can you have control over how you respond to the situation- Absolutely. You have a choice here.
Be real with yourself- Don’t sugarcoat it
When you or your child is anxious, how easy is it to just placate it with its all going to be OK? How many of you at the beginning of COVID at first thought it would never come to the US, or it would never last more than a few weeks? Read above again and remind yourself, is this something that I can control? What about this situation can I have control over?
Some of the anxieties I have heard from students include:
- not being able to navigate the online schooling system
- forgetting assignments or deadlines,
- the internet not working, not being able to consistently access internet,
- not learning in the same ways or with the same ease they had previously had.
These are valid concerns and not ones that I or anyone else can control. Being real allows one to prepare for these scenarios.
Realistic ≠ Pessimistic
Being real does not mean that you are forever miserable. This is where personal growth comes in and when you can take control. Saying that everything is going to be Ok is on one extreme whereas saying that everything is doomed is the other extreme. Regaining control is the middle ground between these two extremes.
Regaining control can look like preparing yourself to address the unexpected realities of life. If we look at the examples of stress above, possible solutions would be to come up with contingency plans.
Know when to Seek out Help:
Increased irritability or changes in behavior patterns
Anxiety that is interfering with your ability to work, participate in school, or maintain daily activities.
If you are feeling hopeless in life or in your ability to handle stressful situations.
If your attempts to cope with the situation are not working, or you feel that feelings of anxiety and hopelessness are increasing.
When you feel like you want to seek out help- There does not necessarily need to be a high level of severity to require help. If you feel like having someone to talk through these stressors would be beneficial- do it.
September is National Suicidal Prevention month. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.