Coping With Back-to-School Stress

Coping With Back-to-School Stress

- in Education, Parenting

What is stress?  It’s actually your body’s reaction to a challenge. Nothing can be stressful to you unless you first perceive a situation as stressful. Something perceived as stressful is something you initially judge as bad for you. However, change in current routine, newness to routine or difference in routine is merely that: a detour from your current “normal.” Change CAN be good in some respects. When you see that good, you can get a better grip on handling stress.

See School Stress as a Character Growth Opportunity
The right kind of stress/change can sharpen/excite your mind and help you develop effective conflict management skills. When you change things up, you may also improve your quality of life. This was something important I learned while living through my son Jason’s many health challenges. Being mentally challenged can help you develop inner confidence that propels you to further success. When you feel successful, you feel happier in life.

Stress Management Skills Development
During times of perceived or real stress/change, you experience a physiological body and brain chemistry fluctuation. For males, your brain burns up the hormone testosterone. For females, your brain uses up the hormone oxytocin. When males have sufficient testosterone and when the female brain has sufficient oxytocin, each sex can efficiently and effectively manage stress. When each gender has enough of these two hormones, they also can increase sufficient amounts of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

Dopamine excites the mind and brain while serotonin gives us a feeling that everything is all right. There are several natural things we can do to create balanced brain chemistry. It begins by consuming natural foods that are real and leaving out junk food depleted of anything nutritional.

Drinking water instead of any processed drinks with chemicals also helps you maintain better brain chemical balance. Getting regular exercise, sufficient sleep and staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking enough clean, pure water also helps maintain a healthy brain chemistry level. Also, as this blog post reveals, effectively and regularly managing your stress helps you be a stress management expert.

Have you heard of the world-renowned Dr. John Gray? He wrote a series for better relationships between the sexes called “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” In this series, he explains the need for living a lifestyle that results in balanced brain chemistry. To give you a sample of his work, check out this Youtube video from his early days. You’ll get a glimpse of how to improve your relationship with the opposite sex and some internal brain chemistry reasons why males and females think and act the way they do.

Student Stress and Anxiety
Don’t know if you and your children are stressed about getting back to school?  If you want more clarity, check out this article. Take the quiz and find out if you are stressed. See what stress can secretly be doing to you.

Think about subconscious “separation anxiety” for going back to school. If this is the first time you will be separated from your child due to his/her entering school, taking the quiz can reveal what it’s doing to you. You may be consciously unaware that you are stressed!

The first step to improving your life quality is becoming aware that change needs to be adopted. So, by taking the quiz, much can be revealed to you about how to be genuinely happier.

Reduce Your Stress Naturally
Once you realize you are stressed, try to do something natural about it. This can mean doing relaxing breathing exercises, just taking time to get away from the stressor and think about something uplifting, listening to an uplifting song, reciting positive thoughts about being capable to handle stress or using complimentary medicine/alternative health techniques for reducing stress.

Reduce Financial Stress Tied to School Restarting
Here in Lorain County, school restarts on August 22. You may need to take your children school clothes shopping — or, if you’re a teacher, perhaps you need new clothes for the school year.

If this causes financial stress, you can reduce that stress and ease your budget woes just a bit by shopping during Ohio’s sales tax holiday.

This year’s tax holiday takes place Friday, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 5. During this school help event, clothes under $75, school supplies priced at $20 or less or teachers’ “instructional material” costing no more than $20 are tax-free.

Some other helpful ideas include planning ahead of time. “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is an old adage that can be true. Don’t make it true for you. Make a plan to succeed at aligning with the upcoming change in routine. It will help reduce stress in the family that can happen at this time of year.

Other Ways to Reduce School Stress?
Here are some final thoughts and tips to help you get ready and embrace a new Monday through Friday schedule:

  • Accept that the change is coming. Make a gradual transition from summer vacation to the more rigid school schedule of activities.
  • Mentally prepare yourself and your children by dropping positive attitude “seed” ideas that constructive change is coming in conversations with your kids. You could say things like:

“Pretty soon, school will restart. What’s one exciting thing that might happen?”

“I remember when I was young. I felt excited to get back to school because for me it meant meeting new people, rejoining with last year’s school friends, going on field trips (or whatever.) What exciting things can be awaiting you on your new adventurous school year ahead? Let’s make believe!” (Then, rehearse how the new school year can mean something happy and positive for your child or you if you’re a teacher.

“I remember then when I turned (new birth year age); I (did something really memorable or positively inspiring and motivating.) It’s one of my happiest childhood memories ever!”

“Let’s make up a song about what happy things are about to happen in school. It will be fun and, it’s free!” Then, chuckle about saying such a silly thing.

  • Be genuinely happy and talk in a happy way for your child about how he/she will be embarking upon on the event of his/her grade level for the new school year. Say things as if he/she is already the luckiest and most successful child in the world to be getting back to school. When you speak positively about the unknown future, you’ll actually model a habit to your child of looking to the future with a positive attitude. This can help your child later in life to expect success, good things, fun and excitement.

In my own life, when it came to teaching Keenan (our second born) from the time before he could even understand how to read, I would say things to him like, “Reading is easy for you. Say that!” Then, I would have him repeat the phrase. He would repeat back to me a positive remark in simple terms such as, “Reading easy me, Mommy.”

With excitement and a smile on my face, I would say this type of phraseology for every school subject. “Math is easy for you, Keenan. Say that!”

“Math easy me, Mommy!” he might say.  Then, we would laugh and celebrate with excitement that he already found math to be easy. Some other phrases I used were:

“School is easy for you, Keenan. Say that!”

“Learning is easy for you, Keenan. Say that!”

“You LOVE to learn, Keenan. Say that!”

“Science is easy for you, Keenan. Say that!”

You get the idea.  By saying these types of phrases to Keenan every day when he was only months old, and working with him on reading, he was already reading by the time he was 16 months old. 

I’ve shared a picture of one aid I created and used to teach him how to read when he was just a toddler. In fact, when I was still pregnant, I said positive things and recorded them. I played that recording to my belly where Keenan lay inside me so he could hear it. He has always been a very happy child. Now, he’s a happy man of almost 27!

Knowing all the time I spent with him teaching him that his life was already a constructive and successful one helps him even today. His compassionate, caring, loving demeanor shows this very attitude. He’s everybody’s great big brother. He used this skill well when he was a summer camp counselor. I’m sure it also helped him while he was in college as he successfully graduated with a philosophy degree.

Minimize Stress Before Each School Day
Intentionally be calm and plan your day around helping your child by having a positive attitude. If things get a little crazy, go ahead and blow off steam about the disorganization that can sometimes happen.  Never hold a grudge against your child for any reason. Even your child that may have serious issues. Focus on loving your child through the challenges. This can be the greatest gift ever for his/her successful future.

About the author

Susan Fox is an award-winning, internationally known, accomplished and highly respected brain dialog researcher, hypnotic consultant, public speaker, trainer, freelance writer and mom. She received a hypnotherapy certification at the Hypnotism Training Institute of Los Angeles, Calif., in 1988 and an AA degree from St. John’s University in 2004 and has been practicing nationwide ever since. Using humor and educational material, she coaches other moms about how to naturally reduce stress and achieve goals in a simplified way. A very practical person, she uses common sense problem solving approaches to help others feel happy with who they are. She gives credit to the Girl Scouts for teaching her dependable life skills. Contact Susan, who lives in Avon, at [email protected] Visit her website at

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