How to Handle Transitions – Back to School Basics for Caregivers
It’s back to school time and with it comes a healthy dose of feelings. This can be a time of excitement and anticipation which might also lead to overwhelm. And regardless of the feelings you and/ or your children might be experiencing, it’s important to learn how to process them so they don’t become a problem for yourself or others.
From kindergarten to college, this time of year can be full of transitions. Change, while inevitable, can be hard to accept. The better we are at acceptance, the more capable we become as collaborative members in our families. First, we must manage our own feelings about change so that we can better help the rest of our family accept and manage their own feelings.
How is it that we can stop and care for ourselves when everything feels so busy and hectic for everyone else? You might be wondering if it’s ok to practice self-care when the focus “should be” on your family. The mental health providers at Wholeness Center are here to tell you anything you are feeling at this time is normal and you are not alone.
Stop and take a minute to identify what you are feeling. Especially when overwhelm creeps in, it’s important to notice what you are feeling and where. Do not bypass your emotions. Give yourself time to fully explore how you are feeling and what is at the root. Notice where in your body you have sensations related with that feeling. And then slowly let the feeling and sensations pass.
Be prepared to cycle through your feelings more than once. Grief, for instance, is not linear. Therefore, you might experience different aspects of grief at different times sometimes skipping ahead, sometimes repeating emotions. This is perfectly normal.
Recognize what is within your control and let go of things that are not. We remind our clients that you are in control of your words, your thoughts and your actions. That’s it. Any outside factors that might have you concerned or scrambling for resolution are just that: outside your control. Rather than focusing outside yourself, ground yourself and recenter. Many of our anxious emotions can be released when we let go of the need to control things outside ourselves.
Find healthy ways to release your emotions. If you notice you are holding onto your feelings find a way to release them so that they don’t harm others. Rather than snapping at your partner, take a deep breath and drink a glass of water. If you feel like you are being a bit clingy with your college age child, go for a run or walk. Make sure you are sleeping 7-9 hours each night to assist with your own stress management. Try to eat comfort foods that hold nutritional value rather than over or under eating to cope with your feelings.
Ask for help. Wholeness Center is an integrative mental health clinic that provides comprehensive, state of the art therapies, using a holistic full body approach. To recognize your unique individuality, we have a top-notch team trained to work together to meet your needs. Having a collaborative team means that we listen. Really listen. Effective communication and collaborative care are essential elements to a happier, healthier family.
In times of transition or change it is normal to feel overwhelmed with emotion. Using these simple strategies, you can acknowledge and become accountable for your feelings in order to be present as your children manage their own feelings.
Want to know more about integrative ways to find wholeness? We offer a variety of mental health tools to assist you – including nutritional suggestions. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs at Wholeness Center, please call 970-221-1106 or email email@example.com.
Just like the seasons change, we all make personal transitions.
Sometimes figuring out how to transition with grace and ease can be challenging.
Members of the Wholeness Team are offering their wisdom and advice related to patient questions about how to transition well during this season.
Please read on to learn transition strategies for going back to school, making friends, and working through difficult relationships.
Question: Recently we moved from one side of the state to the other. What are some ways we can handle the transition as a family?
Steve Forstner: Can you bring presence to the current moment? Take a deep, mindful breath and allow any underlying emotions to come forward in these moments. A life transition brings uncertainty and within this uncertainty we may be conditioned to more readily connect with fear or anxiety, but try not to lose sight of the countless positive outcomes on the other side as well. When we get outside of our comfort zone we grow our capacity for resilience and have the opportunity to grow and meet new people. This is where the magic happens.
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: Transitions can be hard and cause a lot of depression and anxiety, but there are ways to adjust successfully. Taking a tour of a new school or joining a new team and staying active can be great ways to put yourself into a situation where you can have instant friends.
Parents can help kids transition to a new school by keeping open communication with their children and by getting involved in the community. Being active outside the home is a great way to meet people and make friends you might not have otherwise met.
Liz Connor PNP: One morning when we were in the middle of our move to Northern Colorado, my 5 year- old grabbed a yoga mat first thing on a hectic morning and said “Hey mom, lets’ do some yoga!”
I was so impressed by the inner wisdom that she held to slow down in the chaos, take time to move her body and to call me to do the same. When we are in big transitions like heading back to school, going back to the office, or moving house, it may seem like the task list is never ending. However, if we take the time to slow down, reconnect to our center and breath, we are likely to be more productive, less reactive and much happier.
Remembering the routines that we have when life is less chaotic can help us with the transition. Don’t skip your regular morning yoga or walk, make sure you are eating healthy foods that energize you and provide fuel for the busy day! I thank my 5 year-old for reminding me of this!
Stephen Thomas MSW, ACC: Embracing change is a state of mind with opportunities for growth and learning. Change is the only constant. Focus on the positive aspects; what’s one thing I can appreciate about my new circumstances each day? Share about your challenges/struggles with peers — others are likely experiencing the same thing.
Question: Inevitably, when we move or start a new school, we have to think about how to cultivate new relationships. Do you have any tips for connecting with people that are new to us?
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: Making new friends at school can be challenging, especially since many kids already have groups of friends they are a part of.
As a new student at a new school, the best way to go is to just be your friendly self. By being a friendly person, you’re more likely to get approached by new potential friends.
Don’t be afraid to say hello to people and ask them to join you for lunch or to play a game.
Steve Forstner: Hobbies and creative outlets are a fantastic venue for starting new relationships. There’s no shame in using phone apps such as Meetup to find hiking groups, for instance, or maybe a book club. In fact, it very well may be one of the most authentic ways to find new friends you share similar interests with.
Question: Starting out in a new place can leave us feeling vulnerable and alone. What are some mental health strategies for dealing with bullies?
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: Bullies are in every school and in almost every working environment imaginable, so being able to deal with them effectively can be a challenging but useful skill. Typically, everyone gets some practice at it during their lifetime.
If a bully is causing your child problems in school, telling you or another safe adult the entire story can be helpful. As parents we are here to help and want what’s best for our kids. It can be useful for your child to keep a diary documenting the details.
Besides having them tell an adult, be sure to report the bullying and victimization to the school. Sometime bullies stop as soon as they feel like they may get in trouble.
Dr. Joe Martindale: With the transition from summer break to the new school year, bullying often becomes an issue. Statistically about 1 in 5 kids will experience some degree of bullying, with a higher incidence in middle school. Unfortunately, it can leave lasting scars.
Adults must be alert to signs of potential bullying. A noticeable change in a child’s mood or behavior is often a sign. Examples might be a child who had loved riding the bus suddenly refusing; efforts to avoid attending school; unexplained headaches or stomachaches; sleeping issues; etc. More severe anxiety and depression certainly could have a root in bullying.
Parents should be proactive with their child’s school in demanding that bullying be addressed. They should communicate with other parents and talk to teachers and administrators when they become aware of problems. Parents are well within their rights to demand that schools take reasonable measures to address bullying and provide a safe environment.
There are two simple things for kids to know:
One, they do have the choice of walking away from or avoiding a bullying situation, although it might not be possible to walk away or avoid cyberbullying.
Two, they need to tell an adult what is occurring. They should not be taught to fight back with aggression.
Whether you as an adult are making a big transition in life, or helping your children with a transition, it can be difficult to navigate change. If you are looking for ways to start over with ease, please contact the Wholeness Center.
We have a variety of mental health tools to assist you. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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