How to Combat the Back to School Blues
Ways to Combat Back to School Blues
by Dr. Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder
While for most folks, the summer symbolizes rest and relaxation, back to school time can serve as a jolt back the reality of routine life. As the first school weeks pass, it is not uncommon to feel as if the outside world is gaining momentum, spinning fast and with more force. School season represents commitment and activity, often-increased stress because there never seems to be enough time.
How can you tell if you and/or your kids are experiencing the blues? Here is a list of some common signs:
- Feeling irritable or annoyed
- Feeling sad and/or sensitive
- Feeling tired
- Eating more or less than usual
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Disinterested in activities that you typically enjoy
- Isolating from others
If you and your kids can relate to at least a few of these symptoms, you may have a bout of the blues. It is important to note that the back-to-school blues are directly associated with the start of school and usually resolve a week or two after the start of school. (If you or your child has been experiencing these symptoms for a while or you fear it may be depression, it is recommended that you talk to a professional counselor.)
So, how can you beat the back to school blues?
- Acknowledge your feelings. Check in with your child. Encourage her to talk about how she is feeling.
- Highlight upcoming events. If, for example fall means a family apple picking outing, pick the date. Discuss all the exciting upcoming events and holidays.
- Create a calendar. When in doubt, plan it out. If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do, it is helpful to keep track of everything on a family calendar. Be sure to post it in a common place, such as the kitchen. This way, each family member is aware of what they need to do each day.
- Schedule down time. Even the busiest person needs some time to destress. Encourage activities that promote relaxation.
- Discourage isolation. Family dinners are a great way to get the whole family together. Take the time to talk about the upcoming school year. Validate your child’s feelings and encourage discussion about the things to which he has to look forward this school year.
Dr. Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder is an adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in New York. She is co-author of the book “Teenage As a Second Language: A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual.” She is a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit in a private psychiatric hospital, and maintains a private outpatient practice. Professor Powell-Lunder is a published researcher, accomplished speaker who has presented both nationally and internationally, and consultant on teen issues for national and international media outlets. You can visit her websites: www.talkingteenage.com and www.itsatweenslife.com .