Friday Feeling: Falling Back into the Routine
Almost all students have gone back to school except for a few. This weekend is Labor Day which means that we are back to the unofficial ending of summer and the start of fall. The beginning of the school year is always stressful for families of school-age children. Schedule changes and mood changes can affect us in ways that we may not be completely aware of. Continue reading to learn more about how the school year and beginning of fall can affect our bodies.
Being Prepared For Long Days
Our bodies naturally like to wake up when the sun rises, and to go to sleep when the sun sets. This makes it very hard to transition back into helpful sleeping patterns for when the days get shorter. When the sun sets around 7:30, it makes our bodies feel as though it is about 9 or 10 at night. Our bodies feel sleepier the earlier it is, and this can mess up a sleep schedule and make you feel tired or groggy for the next day and make work or school feel very long. Try to make sure that you are going to bed at the same time every night and getting a proper night’s sleep of between 7 and 9 hours. Young children need about 11-12 hours of sleep a night, and teens and young adults need between 9 and 10.
While it is important that you get a full nights sleep, it is also important that you can factor in schedule changes. When kids go back to school they have all of their activities that start back up as well. These activities can include sports, faith lessons, volunteering, student government positions, and maybe even a new job. You can invest in a calendar or a planner to help better plan your family’s activities and schedule changes. It may be helpful to make a shared Google calendar between all of the members of your family to facilitate communication about each of the different activities.
Seasonal affective disorder is when people feel depressed from the lack of Vitamin D for the shorter hours of sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression and should be taken very seriously and under the guidance of a physician or psychologist. Symptoms of SAD include feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, despair, anxiety, irritability and many more. Sometimes people will go on medications to treat their seasonal affective disorder. There are a number of techniques that have proven to work in clinical psychology. The first piece is to invest in a happy light, which is a light that mimics the sun’s UV rays and tricks the brain into thinking that the sun is out even when it is dark outside. Therapy can be especially beneficial in combination with practicing mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises. If you think that any of the symptoms may be something that you or someone you know have, please seek immediate medical attention.
The Importance of Nutrition
All of our nutrients come from what we eat and drink. Make sure that you are eating healthy food so that your body can work at its optimal. Try to avoid eating foods high in fat and sugar. The body is a good representation of the foods you’re eating, so if you feel sluggish you may try to change your diet! Good nutrition also helps to promote a good environment, so make sure to feed your children brain foods for lunch and to promote their academic achievements this school year!
It is very important to keep yourself from feeling burn out. Burn out is feelings of being stressed all the time, and feeling that you are being overworked and are completely drained. Feelings can be described as running on an empty tank of gas, or being tired all of the time. The best advice to dealing with burn out is to take it slow. Try to slow down your thinking, and all of your actions. Burnout can affect your physical health, and cause severe exhaustion. Take some time to realize why you are feeling stressed out, and ways in which you can help to combat those feelings. If you think that you are too overwhelmed, you can always try to look for a trained psychologist to help you manage your life, or maybe even try speaking to a life coach.
Tips to Avoid Burnout
Below is a compilation of tips to avoid burnout and ones that can help you to reduce your stress levels.
- Eat well – avoid foods that will make you feel bad such as those high in sugar
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Practice meditation
- Listen to soothing music
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Exercise about 30 minutes each day
- See a therapist or counselor if you feel overwhelmed
- Make time for family and friends
- Potentially think about getting a therapy animal
- Invest time in any previous hobbies
- Take time to spend by yourself doing things that make you feel happy
September is the unofficial start of flu season. Make certain that you and the people you know take the time to get their flu shots. Flu shots can be administered at your physician’s office, general large pharmacy, clinic, and even in the hospital. Make your appointment before these places run out of the flu shot. Sometimes people say that they are not likely to get the flu and go without receiving the vaccine. This is a bit risky and can lead to the flu and potentially have other complications as a result. No one wants to be sick, and no one wants to be sick especially when it is cold outside. Most of the time, students who play sports are required to get a physical before they play. This could be a good time to ask any questions to your doctor about your child’s health, and to also get the flu shot!
Does your family usually have a hard time transitioning when the school year starts? Do you find yourself becoming stressed out? Do you have a game plan for how to deal with all of the stress? Do you have any tips to add to our section about avoiding burnout? Comment below!