Here we are, in back to school season! Backpacks are packed full of new pencils and folders and everyone is feeling summer slip through their fingers. Stress is in the air!
Every year, we try to focus many of our blogs on topics that are relevant for the time of year, in particular times that are challenging and full of change, like transitioning seasons or changes in school schedules. We do this because we know how change can make us feel - like whatever semblance of control we had is falling away! How can we nurture ourselves and our kids through transitions?
Transitional periods are a great time to learn/teach lessons in coping and to make an extra effort to highlight strengths in ourselves and our loved ones.
Something many people don’t realize when they’re going through a change is how capable they are of handling it. They often miss the fact that they’re already handling the change and have already begun to move toward it!
Here are some things to think on for yourself or to ask someone who is going through a transition, and is useful right now for kids (and teachers) going back to school:
- Look back at the last change you handled. What worked? What didn’t? Did you get through it? For example, how did things go last September? How did the school year go?
- What are your strengths and which ones can help with this particular transition? What have you done well in the past, and how can it be of use now? For example, are you good at art or meditation, and could you use those things now to cope and process through the change?
- What values drive your behavior and how will it help motivate you through this change? For example, will this change bring you learning opportunities, social opportunities, reward of some kind? Identify what has kept you moving forward thus far.
- Is this change going to completely change everything, or is it just another obstacle or step, that’s actually more manageable and less frightening than it seems? We tend to build things up in our head and let the fear-driven idea of this things replace the reality of the situation.
- What’s the worst possible outcome of the change? The best outcome? The most realistic outcome? Use the past to help determine the most realistic and likely outcome.
Try asking the above questions and see if it helps process and reframe the change. Answering questions activates the logic parts of our brain and helps cool down the upset, anxious, or angry feelings part of the brain that resists and negatively reacts to change our of habit. Also know that it is okay to be a little nervous during times of change.
We hope some of these tips can be helpful to you if you’re currently going through or helping someone through a change, like going back to school!