Today's Self-Care Sunday feature is brought to you by Stephanie. Stephanie is a Behavior Analyst in southern Maine, providing support to treatment teams in homes and schools for children and adults with developmental disabilities. She enjoys running, advice columns, and making lists.
We all know that the beginning of the school year is fraught with a roller coaster of emotions — excitement, nervousness, anticipation, fear of the unknown. With all of the newness and unpredictability, this time of year can be a challenge for those who suffer from anxiety.
Recently, I have been using a new coping skill with a few of the consumers (teens/adults/ children) I work with that suffer from anxiety. I also use it myself, and have had my mom and sister try it when they tell me that they’re feeling overwhelmed/angry/stressed. I believe that anyone can benefit from this simple strategy by taking a few moments to focus and center.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Strategy
To use this strategy, I find a quiet(er) place, turn off my music, and shut my eyes. I lead myself through the following thought exercises:
By engaging my senses and focusing only on things that are bringing or have brought me joy, I sometimes can put the anger or stress I feel into perspective. I can sometimes move on more quickly than if I focus on the thing that is causing me any kind of negative emotion.
If I am not able to move on, I write it down on a piece of paper and put it down. I set a timer on my phone, and give myself 5 minutes to think of what (if anything) I can or should do to fix the problem. After 5 minutes, I write down my proposed solution and then I throw the note away. It usually helps me feel more in control and in touch with my surroundings.
When I feel anxious or sad, I tend to turn inward, but this exercise helps me focus outward. I hope that it will help you, too.
Readers, what strategies do you use for dealing with stress and anxiety at the beginning of the school year (or any time, for that matter)? Let us know in the comments below. We'd also love to have you contribute to an upcoming Self-Care Sunday post! If you have a topic or strategy, let us know about it here.
The Snarky Schoolteacher is an education and lifestyle blog run by dedicated educational professionals. Our goal is to bring you relevant and fun educational content with a side of sass. Read more about our team here. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you will find these ideas and resources helpful in your classrooms and in your lives.