It’s that time of year again – time to start shopping for school supplies, planning lunches, organizing after-school activities, and managing homework time. Back-to-School time is stressful for parents and kids alike but there are ways to make this time of year a little easier to manage.
Before getting caught up in the back-to-school rush, take some time to focus on and plan for a better, more stress-free school year with these tips.
You’ve heard it a million times – getting a good night’s sleep is important for managing your health, and stress is no different. Getting good quality sleep can help lower stress levels, but as we all know, when we’re stressed that’s easier said than done.
That’s why it’s important to work on our sleep hygiene as we approach back-to-school time. Creating better habits around sleep ahead of time can help mitigate some of the impacts this stressful time may have on you and your body.
Proper sleep hygiene includes:
- Having a set sleep/wake time that allows for an adequate amount of sleep.
- Sticking to your sleep schedule – not always prioritizing work, homework or other activities oversleep.
- Giving yourself time to wind down before bed (at least 30 minutes).
- Limiting screen time 30-60 minutes before bed.
- Using relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to help calm your nervous systems down.
- Getting regular exercise.
- Limiting caffeine.
- Creating the right sleep environment – temperature, lighting, bedding, etc.
Recognize Signs of Stress and Anxiety
Many of us go through life experiencing the impacts that stress and anxiety have on our bodies but not connecting them. Have a headache most days of the week? Experience tension in your shoulders at work or school? Find yourself clenching your jaw during a certain class? While we may notice the pain and symptoms, few of us take the time to recognize that these may be the result of stress.
In recognizing these signs of stress we are better able to manage them. Whether that’s through therapy, using relaxation techniques or being more mindful of the areas we are tensing or holding stress. Doing so can help you identify not only the cause of tension and pain you may be experiencing but also the situations that are causing you the most stress so that you can work on better managing it.
Routines help take the guesswork out of the busy back-to-school season. Knowing when, where and how much time is dedicated to activities, events, homework, etc can even help free up more time for fun activities and self-care!
If you’re a parent, working with your family to create a routine can help you and your kids reduce the stress of a busy school season and ensure everyone gets to all their after-school activities, finishes their homework or projects on time, and has enough time to hang out with friends or enjoy their hobbies. As a student, a routine can help keep you focused and reduce the time spent worrying about balancing coursework, social life and your part-time job.
For those that struggle with creating a routine, it’s important to note that a routine can be flexible – it’s not set in stone. Just creating the habits of planning to avoid last-minute stress can be a huge help.
Back-to-school is busy not just because it means the return of classes, but it also means all the responsibilities that come along with it – after school-activities, clubs, homework, exams. It’s a never-ending list of due dates and appointments, and it’s easy to put off our mental and physical needs to tend to those responsibilities. However, ignoring your needs only leads to more stress, burnout and physical complaints over time.
We all know that carrying stress and tension can cause all kinds of pain and symptoms that just end up exacerbating our feelings of stress and anxiety. Something as simple as visiting your local registered massage therapist in Mississauga for a tension-relieving massage, getting regular exercise, and eating healthy can all help you reduce your stress. While it’s important to maintain these little acts of self-care all year – planning to focus on your health and schedule your massage appointments ahead of highly stressful exams, projects or competitions can be a great way to boost your confidence and feel more prepared.
Back-to-school time can be stressful for both parents and students alike. There’s a lot of time that goes into juggling commitments, school work, friend and family time and the constant feeling of always being on the go or having something important to do can be overwhelming. Ensuring that you’re prioritizing sleep and your health and creating helpful habits can create a stress-free school year.
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