5 Wellness Tips for Anxious Parents this Back-to-School Season
Nervous about sending your kids back to school during the pandemic? You’re not the only one. Anxiety management is crucial for both yourself and your children.
A new Canadian survey shows that 63% of parents are planning on sending their kids back to school but 66% admit being nervous about it. Whether they’ve made that choice because of busy work schedules, or a desire to reintegrate their children into a more normal social routine, one thing is for sure: an anxious parent makes for an anxious child.
Here are 5 wellness and lifestyle tips to ensure your anxiety is managed so that both you and your little ones are prepared to ease back into the classroom.
1. Get the Routine Ready
The lack of structure over the past six months has made it feel like days have blended together, weekends don’t feel too different to weekdays, and time has flown by. In the weeks before school, try getting yourself and your kids back into schedule by initiating a bedtime and wake-up routine. Set out school clothes the night before, start prepping lunches in the morning and try a test run of a school drop-off. This is as much for the kids as it is for you, and having a little rehearsal might ease the anxious feelings for everyone.
2. Exercise for Endorphins
When your body feels better, so does your mind. When we exercise, we reduce our body’s stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Simultaneously, we produce more endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller and stress reliever. Incorporating a little mild exercise into your day (even a 30 minute walk or an online yoga tutorial) can work wonders for your anxiety during these times.
3. Self Care
As a parent, it’s important to take the time to take care of yourself during this hectic time. While the kids might have a lot of demands and worries during this time, don’t forget to carve out a little time for yourself. Everyone has a different way of de-stressing but some great options are taking a relaxing bath with lavender and tea tree essential oil, candles and music. You could also try meditation, either self-guided or with an app or online tutorial. Everyone has their own way of taking care of themselves: whether it’s a dance class, a movie night, a walk in the park, or an afternoon spent painting—find yours and make sure you squeeze it in throughout the week.
4. Support Yourself with Herbs
Give yourself a boost from nature’s medicine cabinet. Herbs have been used for centuries for anything from sleep support to cold remedies, and energy boosters to laxatives. One family of herbs called “adaptogens” are especially useful for easing anxiety. Adaptogenic herbs support the body’s ability to adapt to fluctuating physical and emotional stressors, easing anxiety and providing the energy to tackle the stressful tasks at hand. Some common herbs for reducing stress-related anxiety are Licorice Root, Holy Basil and a personal favourite, Organic India’s Ashwaghanda. Always follow dosing recommendations carefully, and if unsure consult with a nutritionist or naturopath.
5. Eat Right.
As the saying goes, “we are what we eat”. If we eat sugary, highly processed foods, we’re going to feel jittery and ungrounded. For kids, it’s important they consume a breakfast involving protein, carbs and fat (banana and peanut butter oatmeal is a winner). Fill the majority of their lunchbox with satisfying, nutritious foods (don’t forget to keep it colourful and tasty as there’ll be no more trading of snacks at lunchtime!). And for a kid-friendly low-sugar surprise, you can include treats like Smart Sweets Sour Blast Buddies that are free of artificial sugars and colours, GMO and gluten free! And parents: try to limit caffeine and alcohol as they will only make anxiety worse. Eat the rainbow and keep the foods as close to nature as possible.
Hopefully these quick tips can make the first day of school a little smoother. And don’t forget, navigating this pandemic has been a first for everyone so anxiety is absolutely expected. We are re all in this together and parents, you have made it this far—you are rockstars!
Written by Niki Zarikos, CNP
Niki is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner from Toronto, Ontario. Currently working as a Clinical Research Nutrition Associate at dicentra, Niki is motivated by her interests in the nutrition of mental health, body image, addictions and holistic healing.
Find the best supplements for stress and so much more at Vitarock. Shop with confidence, knowing all our wellness products have been pre-screened to be PURE, GREEN, SAFE, and FAIR. Founded by a fellow mom, Alicja is one of Canada’s most respected experts in natural product quality and safety.