You’ve gotten through the last semester and I am so proud of you. You took the summer to chill, have fun and reconnect. That is brilliant. But as you walk through the local stores you notice that everyone is singing the same song and presenting the same theme. “Back To School”. Everyone is celebrating, yet you are in a mixed place. You are happy to see friends again, and go back to a more organized schedule, but the pressure to succeed, be present and show up, makes you feel a little overwhelmed or scared.
As a mom, educator and teen photographer, I see this a lot. I also feel a little “scared” before the beginning of the year. It’s not really fear, but just a “slight fear” of the unknown about the up and coming year. So you are not alone.
There are a number of things you can do to help with the transition back to school and I wanted to share 4 of the ways I manage stress and anxiety before and during the school semester. I hope it can be of help to you. If so please share with others you feel could benefit from it.
I am not a doctor, but I will suggest a few things that can help you get through it.However, remember if you feel really bad, please go and see a licensed professional.
1: Acknowledge how you feel. Remember it’s okay to not be okay. You probably feel as though your world will come crashing if you admit that you’re not 100%. But I promise, it will come crashing on you if you do not. Admitting you may need a little help, doesn’t mean you are weak, it just means you are human. (hugs)
2: Stop what you’re doing and breathe. Some people call it centering yourself, but it looks different to everyone. I take deep breaths through my nose, hold it for 10 seconds, and then exhale slowly through my mouth. Doing this slows your heart rate and pumps a bit more oxygen around your body. It’s a good thing. Another thing I do is pray. Knowing that there is a God bigger than my situation reminds me that He knows “wassup” and I am not alone. He has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeramiah 29:11).
3: Be mindful of what you consume. What are you drinking and eating? What are you giving your mind to? Consuming a lot of processed sugar items and/or caffeine can take you on a rollercoaster ride and trigger stress and anxiety behaviors. This is different from person to person. Drinking plenty of water, caffeine-free beverages and healthier snacks helped me sis. Look into it.
4: Be mindful of what you expose yourself to. At the same time, Social Media, T.V and other influences can act as a distraction, but can also lead your mind down a never ending tunnel. You know how that can be? I found that this could trigger some anxiety behaviors, consciously or subconsciously. So think about setting a timer on your phone to monitor your use.
5: Connect, hug, converse and laugh. Sometimes knowing that you are not alone in whatever you’re going through, really helps. I find that connecting with friends or family, on the phone, or asking my husband or daughters for a hug, makes me feel better. By doing so, Dopamine is released, the “feel-good” hormone.
6: Last one, I promise. Sometimes taking supplements may help. I found that taking Magnesium and Ashwagandha helps me a lot. I take these daily. Magnesium plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress-response (cortisol levels) system. A deficiency in this mineral can be linked with increased stress and anxiety levels. Magnesium also has other benefits. Check them out in your free time.
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub. It grows in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. (WebMd.com, n.d) Studies have proven that the extract from this shrub is able to lower levels of cortisol (your fight-or-flight hormone). The herb has been reported to help self-reported anxiety and depression too. It is available from your local grocery store.
There are other vitamins that could help, but visit your local natural health store or health practitioner and ask them for direction or advice. They are usually open to help. If you are under 18 reading this, make sure to speak to your parent or guardian first
Well Friend, I do not want to bore nor overwhelm you. I just wanted to share what works for me. Remember, I am not a doctor, just a good friend who cares. If you have any tips that you want to share for me, please comment below. I am always open.
Take care of yourself. You are enough and you are loved!