On the outside I may look very calm and controlled, but on the inside I am overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Recently, my son was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency: “…a disorder that impairs the immune system.” (Source)
The very idea of sending our son back into a classroom next month is daunting. Although I do not know what is in store, here are four steps I’m taking to prepare myself and my kids for the unknowns of starting school this fall:
Making decisions about the future often puts me into a spiral of stress and anxiety. If you ever start to feel this way, try this strategy.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself these three questions:
- What is one thing you hear? (Pick just one sound)
- What is one thing you see? (Pick one thing in the room)
- What is one thing feel? (Pick one thing within your reach)
This is a sure-fire way to recenter my thoughts and feel calm so I can think clearly about important decisions.
Remember: you don’t control what happens, you control how you respond.
Try this: trace your hand on a piece of paper. Write down all of the things happening in your life. Write only the things you control inside the hand, and put the rest on the outside. When you’re done, take scissors and cut out the hand. Discard the rest of the paper to clear your mind of the things you cannot control. Now, you can focus on the things you can control.
Practice gratitude with Rose, Thorn, and Bud.
Ask your children what their rose, thorn, and bud were for the day.
Rose = something that made them happy.
Thorn = something they didn’t like or made them sad.
Bud = something they’re looking forward to tomorrow.
This strategy is a great way to reflect at the end of the day. Celebrate the rose and the bud, and work with your child to see if they can learn or grow from the thorn. These discussions are sweet reminders of the many positive things to be grateful for. For more info on this reflection, check out Mindful Schools.
Keep in mind: the only constant is change.
For many people, change can be scary because it carries risk. In this case, the risk of not returning to “normal”. In reality, we’re probably not going back to the way things were before the pandemic. Embracing this change and reality provides the opportunity to learn and grow in new ways. It also puts life into a new perspective and encourages us to look at things in a positive light.
Whether it’s face-to-face, blended learning, or remote learning, parents are faced with very difficult decisions about this fall. While these decisions are overwhelming, remember you are not alone. Parents everywhere are wondering what will happen next. I hope these tips help center your thoughts, but know that it’s okay not to feel okay. Look to your support system during these difficult times, and do the best you can.
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