Dare we say it? September is here again. Which means back to school for kids, back to work for teachers and staff, back to the office for many, new routines and new beginnings. We all experience this transition EVERY YEAR, so why does it always feel like we’re doing it for the first time? The nerves, the anxiety, the worry and overall stress from preparation just feels overbearing for a lot of people and kids. Not to mention this year there are still many variables and unknowns about how things will be and what’s to come.
Practice Positivity. Any change can be scary and that can easily bring in negative self-talk. It is common to have doubts and hesitation; however, you cannot let these thoughts win the battle and defeat you. Keep your focus on what is going right, as opposed to what may be wrong. You may want to think of a positive slogan to get you through the tough transition. For instance, “I’ve got this!”, “It’s all good” or “One day at a time” to provide you with an additional boost of confidence and encouragement. Modeling a positive outlook for your children will keep them at ease and more comfortable as well.
Plan ahead. We have all heard it, and it’s easier said than done. But waiting until the last minute to prepare for changes like back to school, back to work, commuting again, new routines, etc is only going to cause the crazy rushed feeling and leave zero room for error and mishaps. Planning ahead will ease some of the stress by helping you manage your time properly. Developing a new routine while having a plan will give you a better idea of what your days and expectations should look like. Feeling in control is important to a lot of people and planning ahead will help.
Be Flexible. Okay, so planning is great until things suddenly change at the drop of a hat. The biggest thing we may have all learned from the pandemic is that we have to be able to adjust and pivot. Be “okay” with the fact that things can change instantly and we will all be in the same position and you WILL figure it out. Having some idea of an altered plan might be beneficial during this time. The hard part about this task is that it takes a certain level of vulnerability. Accepting that we are vulnerable to change is a big step, never easy. But if you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open, you will learn more about yourself and grow in new ways that will strengthen your character.
Be Gentle with Yourself And Others. Everyone is doing the same thing around this time of year. Remembering that can help us be more patient and understanding with each other. Kids acting out? Maybe they are anxious or worried about the change. Partner acting overly controlling and micromanaging? Maybe they are overwhelmed and trying to keep everything going smooth because they have a lot on their plate. Practicing empathy at a time when everything around us is changing and we are all feeling similarly is important. We are all human. And we are all doing the best we can.
Seek support. Whether you just graduated from college, you are a new divorcee, or you made a career change, everyone needs support from loved ones when moving forward to a new chapter. Sometimes you may shy away from support because you feel like a failure; however, this is often the time you need support the most. I have found so much support from my family, friends and colleagues over the years and especially in times of change or challenge. These people are important in your life and want to help. Through talking to others you can gain companionship and “stay safe in your herd”. If you feel like you need additional support because your support system “just doesn’t understand” then seek out counseling as a resource to add to your support system.