Summer Scaries

Sarah Donnini Philbeck's picture

Whether your summer has flown by or has felt like the longest two months of your life, the upcoming school year is upon us. For many families, the excitement of the new school year brings the return of chaotic mornings, late nights, and the ever-evolving challenge of balancing work, school, play, and extracurriculars. As we anticipate the adventure that is returning to school after summer break, here are some ideas for reducing vulnerability to emotion mind and easing yourself back to wise mind in the process:

  • Does the lack of structure over the summer have your sleep schedule, lets say, a little off? Two weeks before returning to school, create a schedule to help you ease back in to waking up before the sun comes up. I suggest doing this in 15 to 30 minute increments until you reach your ideal bedtime and wake time. For example, if you’ve gotten into the habit of going to bed at 1am and waking up at 10am, start with a 12:30am bedtime and a wakeup time of 9:30am, and work your way towards your goal.
  • If you can anticipate a stressful situation that may arise during the transition back to school, create a coping ahead plan to keep you out of emotion mind and help you feel more confident about your ability to manage it effectively.
  • Create a PRO/CON quadrant on changing an old ineffective behavior (ahem…procrastination…) to help you stay motivated during the school year. Remember, complete this PRO/CON while you are in wise mind to be used when you are feeling distressed and are tempted to act on an ineffective urge.
  • Throw together a portable self soothe kit that can fit in your backpack or purse to bring to school for on demand stress relief.
  • Find space in the week for an activity that you do just because you enjoy it! This canbe something as small as carving out 5 – 10 minutes to mindfully sip a cup of coffee, or something a little more time consuming like making a plan to watch a weekly TV show with friends. You can even create a list of different ideas, put them in a jar, and pull out an activity to engage in when you need a little break from the hustle and bustle of the week.
  • Make a family plan for limiting screen time that everyone can get on board with.
  • This might involve phone-free dinners, screens off by a certain time each night, or a few hours on the weekends where everyone engages in a screen-free activity with one another such as playing a board game or going for a walk around the neighborhood together.