The Effects of Back to School Stress in Our Everyday Lives
Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response, the Pace that our society is evolving at is such that at times it can seem difficult to keep up, technological advancements; extended work hours & increases to the cost of living have us essentially under a constant state of flux. The days of 9-5 work schedules in many respects has become a thing of the past, email and cell phones often have us connected almost on call 24 hours a day like doctors or some members of law enforcement. The effects of stress have gone grossly understated in popular culture; the perpetual state of activity has on our bodies especially at this time of the year. Back to school can be stressful for parents and children, clothing, supplies, registration, lodging & travel costs all pose significant challenges to many of us. The stress and anxiety many feel have real tangible effects on our physical health, it is estimated that up to 75% of all doctor’s visits in Canada are stress related. It has long been touted that the destruction of the body’s immune systems as well as some of the most debilitating diseases known to man are caused in part by prolonged exposure to stress including Cancer, Diabetes, as well as a list of mental ailments. Extended exposure to stress has also been linked to the shrinking & destruction of the hippocampus the loss of gray brain matter, post-traumatic stress disorder, heart disease and more. I often wonder to myself what sitting in Toronto traffic day after day does to our health, vehicles that drive recklessly, endless lane closures for construction that takes 5X the forecasted time to complete not to mention cyclists that seem to know how to best impede traffic . This combined with all the other factors helps make this time of the year one of the most stressful for both parents and kids alike, here are some tips to consider in dealing with some of the stresses related to back to school
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- Re-establish Routines, both parents and kids alike require stability and consistency, by setting standardized expectations wake up times breakfast, dinner & bedtimes a sense of normality will come along with it. Leaving ample time to complete daily tasks cleaning, cooking, homework will help create a more relaxed atmosphere not to mention which is one of the most vital components of maintaining a healthy living.
- Don’t Over Spend; Todays news is now strewn with all sorts of useless statistics i.e. at this time of the year inevitably we will hear what the average Canadian family will spend on back to school shopping. This is designed make us feel guilty or obliged to spend over our limits, regardless of social pressures or the grumblings of the children set a budget and stick to it.
- Talk to Your Kids; there are thousands of educators all of whom who have varying levels of interest, desire, & ability in their duties, I hear all too often stories of children with a wealth of potential who lack the level of support they require. Today’s student has to combat various Issues depression, bullying & workload can all be overwhelming and contribute to stress, involving yourself in order to understand what is expected of your child will aid you in efforts to support them is key. Look for the signs of stress in your household disturbed sleep patterns, stomach pains, lack of appetite or accelerated appetite, headaches to name a few.
- Be Patient; Kids require time to adjust to new schedules, expectations, & duties it is important to be supportive and patient during their time of transition.
- Over Activity; with the fall comes the excitement of the fall activities dance, football, soccer, basketball, hockey, swimming, music, ballet, dance lessons and more all come back online in September, the onslaught of activities can be a lot for a child to manage after a summer of travelling & inactivity. If you are like me then you love sports and would have your children enrolled in everything seven days a week, unfortunately it is vitally important that you give both yourself and your children time to rest, think, and relax.
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