How to Deal With School Anxiety: A Guide for Parents in the Kansas City Area
20 April 2020 — Lifestyle
For many kids, going back to school can be an exciting time, but for others, the idea is riddled with anxiety. According to the Child Mind Institute:
“Kids who normally have a little trouble separating from mom and dad will see their anxiety peak during times of stress or transition, notes Rachel Busman, clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. The start of school may be especially challenging for kids who are entering a transition year, she adds — going into kindergarten, into middle school, to a new school. It can also be stressful if there’s a change in your child’s social support system — maybe a good friend has moved, or has a different teacher this year.”
F.I.T. Joint & Muscle Clinic pushes all our clients toward a healthier lifestyle, whether that be physical or mental. Anxiety may lead to stress that could affect the body in a negative way. However, we’ve found a few key tips that could help kids learn how to deal with school anxiety.
Read on for our favorite pieces of advice on how you can help your child maneuver through the emotions that come with starting school.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that exercise is key when it comes to reducing anxiety. Something as simple as walking around the block with your child each day could make a world of difference.
“Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Even a five-minute aerobic exercise can have great anti-anxiety benefits. To help reduce anxiety, we recommend doing 30 minutes of exercise (or more if you can) three to five times a week. You can always start off doing 10 to 15 minutes at a time and build your way up. Either way, movement can make a huge difference.
Many people neglect how food can affect anxiety levels. It’s important that you consider what goes into your child’s body throughout the day to help manage anxiety. Mayo Clinic puts it this way:
“Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety. Try to eat healthy, balanced meals. Healthy eating is important for overall physical and mental health. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and don't overeat. It may also help to eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, on a regular basis.
Changes to your diet may make some differences to your general mood or sense of well-being, but they're not a substitute for treatment. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, increasing social support, using stress-reduction techniques and getting regular exercise, also may help. Be patient, as it may take some time before these changes have an effect on your anxiety.”
You might think about breathing, especially since our body does it naturally. In fact, each day we take between 17,000 to 30,000 breaths. But proper breathing techniques can help the body relax, making it crucial for learning how to deal with school anxiety. Here is a great take on the importance of breathing:
“When we experience emotions, pain, fear, and stress, our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems respond by adjusting blood pressure and heart rate (among other variables). Generally speaking, parasympathetic activity is associated with a relaxation response and sympathetic activity is associated with a heightened response.
A slow diaphragmatic breath with prolonged exhalation will increase parasympathetic activity and result in relaxation. On the other hand, rapid chest breathing with prolonged inhalation will increase sympathetic activity and result in a stress response.”
Learn more on how to deal with school anxiety at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic
At F.I.T. Muscle and Joint Clinic, our providers specialize in optimizing human function and decreasing physical and emotional stressors. If you or your child are dealing with anxiety and stress leading up to the school year, please reach out to F.I.T. Muscle and Joint clinic for questions about improving routine and a healthy lifestyle.
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