Thanks Covid, Back to School is Way More Stressful
It’s time to go back to school, but this year it looks and feels different. School districts, teachers, and parents have all been waiting to see what this new year will bring. But one thing everyone can agree on is how stressful it’s been. No matter what choice you make, it’s riddled with stress.
While it may be anxiety-inducing that so many school districts are going back-and-forth there are many factors going into the decision.
Should you send your kids back to school this fall?
Resuming in-person instruction remains a complicated decision that requires economists, public health officials, federal, state and local governments to work together to find a solution. It’s a heated debate throughout the nation and throughout the world. These are unprecedented times that no one really knows how to navigate.
It hasn’t been easy for states that have already started school:
- In Indiana, a school had to go back to remote learning after only two days.
- In Mississippi, students have tested positive for coronavirus in the first week of classes. Mississippi’s governor and governors across the U.S. are weighing pros and cons trying to know what to do. Especially since the right solution might not be the same for each of their school districts.
- Georgia started back to school in most locations but many teachers experienced outbreaks, pushing kids back to learning from home temporarily and many teachers quarantining.
Amidst all the uncertainty, President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from those that do not teach in person, putting a lot of pressure on schools to go back to in-person learning. The polarized opinions have put a lot of pressure on decision makers and many have put off deciding until the last-minute or are constantly re-evaluating even after making decisions.
Many parents have decided to homeschool their children instead of sending them back, mainly due to fear of what extended social isolation will do to their development but also fear of what kinds of germs they are subjecting their entire family to.
This isn’t an easy solution for working parents who still need to get their work done during the day. Childcare providers are expensive and some are still shut down. Many parents don't even feel they have these options... its a catch 22 no matter which way you spin it.
While children generally have less severe symptoms, when they’ve contracted COVID-19, they are able to pass it on to the adults in their homes who may be at higher risk.
Without a perfect solution many parents and teachers feel hopeless. We are all dealing with record-high levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and general imbalance.
So while we can’t change the circumstances, we’ve compiled some tips to help you cope with the stress and anxiety. Decreasing stress won’t just improve your emotional health, it improves immunity.
How to talk to your kids about coronavirus
It is important to help your kids put into words what they’re feeling. Make sure you have open dialogue where they can ask questions, even if you feel like you don’t have all the answers.
The CDC has tips on how to talk to your children about Coronavirus. The first suggestion is to remain calm. Your children will react not just to what you say, but how you say it. Remember they are also aware of conversations you are having with other people when you’re around them.
The Mayo Clinic made a video that talks to kids about COVID-19 including how to prepare them if they need to get a swab test taken.
The CDC also recommends reassuring your children that it is okay to feel upset. Share with them how you deal with stress so they know they’re not alone. You may think talking about the serious issues in the world will stress them out more, but they know that things have changed and keeping communication open will help them feel more at ease.
Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. And try doing some of these coping mechanisms together.
Tips for handling stress in kids (and yourself)
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “easier said than done.” Preventing stress just sounds like one more thing that adds stress. You have to balance your own schedule and your kids—all without the normal support or routines you’re used to.
Try some of these tips to manage stress:
- Take breaks—scheduled and impromptu. Especially with work and home being in the same space for many people. Remember to take a walk, switch rooms, or at the very least take a moment to look out the window and take a few deep breaths.
Focus on deep breaths. Teach your kids simple breathing exercises for when they get overwhelmed. Wearing masks and worrying about inhaling viruses can lead people to mentally psych themselves out. They may not breathe as deeply as they have before. Focus on deep breaths, shallow breathing can actually increase anxiety and tension. If it gets out of control, it can lead to hyperventilating. Tell your children to try expanding their stomach like it’s a balloon while they breathe or you could have them count as they breathe in.
- Practice mindfulness. Tell your kids that mindfulness is a superpower that can help them control their thoughts. Try a simple three-minute meditation that was made with kids in mind. Or, if they can handle something longer, try this meditation video for kids that focuses on mindfulness and also has breathing exercises.
- Do yoga—for movement & mental benefits. If your gym is still closed you just need a few feet of space to do yoga. Try restorative yoga or holding simple poses. It’s restful, rejuvenating, and improves mobility. Holding poses for long periods of time and notice where you hold tension from stress. Once you know you can make adjustments during the day. You can do some of the simple poses with your kids—seriously, it’s called child’s pose for a reason. If you want to try yoga that is specifically catered to kids, Cosmic Kids Yoga uses Disney characters to make yoga more engaging for kids.
Get enough sleep to decrease stress
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Many of us have had freeform schedules in quarantine. Sleeplessness has been on the rise since the pandemic started.
Lack of sleep can affect mood, impair your judgment, and lower your immunity. While it may seem like you have to burn the midnight oil to get everything you need done, now more than ever you need to prioritize your sleep.
Try swapping your coffee for tea. Tea is easier on your adrenals than coffee. And tea with L-theanine in it can naturally reduce anxiety. If you want a simple supplement option, melatonin gummies are easy to find and good for both kids and adults.
Try to end your day on a high note
If you’re struggling with your sleep, find a way to wind down at the end of the day. Daily rituals can help us manage stress in our life. Make sure to spend time with your kids helping them compress and process any feelings they might have had during the day.
If you want to have conversations over a treat, let us recommend our Back to School Bundle which gives you 20% off our sugar-free, gluten-free Brownie Mix, Cookie Mix, and Powdered Sweetener to top it off.
As for the adults, we have a recipe for a sugar-free Moscow Mule (or alcohol-free ginger ale) that can help you wind down at the end of the day—or at lunch (no judgement here).
Remember, that while there is so much uncertainty, there are still things you can control. So take a deep breath and know that you are doing the best you can. We're all in this together, so the more of us who can maintain balance, sanity, and healthy levels of stress, the better;)