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Beating ‘Back to School’ Blues
Life coach Wendy Colgrove
offers advice on coping
calmly with all those ‘back
to school’ stresses.
eeling stressed as the end of the
holidays is looming?
February means back to school.
If you are a parent or caregiver that
could translate into stressf ul times.
It is often a time where families are
under financial pressure, having to find extra
funds for school uniforms, stationery, books
a nd school fees, not to mention having to
orga nise those school lunches a nd make sure
the kids make it to school on time.
If your child is a little older and ca n
find their own way to school that certainly
reduces the load, and some pa rents a re
reaching out in their community and taking
turns carpooling children to school. In both
cases, this can be a sa nity saver, especially
when you have work commitments.
In short, going back to school is the end
of enjoying a lovely long stretch of little or no
structure and getting back to a set routine.
It is a time of adjustment, not only for the
child but also for the parent.
On top of this, a ll sorts of uncertainties
a re about to present themselves – will your
child adjust well to their new cla ss and
classmates, teachers a nd, in some cases,
an entirely new school? Again, it can be a
challenge not only for the child but also for
the pa rent.
Studies have confirmed that parents feel
a variety of pressures from va rious directions
at this transitional time of the yea r. One such
study done by Gala xy Research in Australia
in 2008, using a relatively small sa mple of
510 mothers, resulted in three out of four
mothers admitting that they felt scrutinised
by other parents about the quality of lunches
they were providing for their child.
Another study performed by Zulily on a
6000 parent sa mple surveyed parents about
perceived ”back to school stresses” a nd ca me
up with the following data:
• 34% said they were a lways shopping for
the next school year
• 24% said they started shopping for the
following year’s school supplies in July
• 26% started shopping for the same in
• 52% admitted feeling stressed by the cost
of “back to school” shopping
• 51% felt stressed about getting their
children ready to go back to school
• 43% were anxious about getting a good
• 30% were
• 26% were anxious about making school
• 25% worried about tra nsporting their
child to school on time and
• 25% of parents worried about getting
their child’s clothes ready for school.
It goes to reason that stress levels could
potentially rise if there were severa l children
in the family.
We all know that there are the traditional
ways in which parents and people in general
are encouraged to deal with stress, such
a s exercising regula rly, getting plenty of
sleep, ma intaining a healthy diet, time
management, avoiding alcohol, nicotine and
ca ffeine, managing your day and reaching
out for support a s well as communicating
how you feel.
I’d also like to suggest that a person’s
spiritual inclination can also greatly reduce
Following some form of spiritual path
can be a nything from believing in a higher
power, appreciating nature, music or a rt
to being a devout follower of a particular
religion or philosophy.
Spirituality seems to be linked to better
relationships, a sense of life purpose, a sense
of being part of something greater, and a
feeling of connection to others, the planet or
even the universe, hence not feeling isolated.
Spirituality can also help us take
responsibility for our actions and to be a little
more philosophical about what lessons might
be learnt from any challenges we are facing.
We may also reflect on the fact that
nothing or no one can make us feel
stressed – it is our choice how we react to
any given situation.
We also need to ask ourselves whether
the stressor really has the ability to impact
our lives in a substa ntial way. If it does not,
then should we rea lly worr y that much about
This saying from the Serenity Prayer is
good advice, so act accordingly: “God grant
me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change; courage to change the things I can;
a nd wisdom to know the difference.”
Our attitude has a massive impact on our
stress levels so when stressed we should try to
reflect on things we can be grateful for, such as
family, friends, nature or recent achievements.
Esther, Jerry and Abraham Hicks, have the
following advice in their bestselling book Ask
and it is Given (Page 114).
“Our thoughts control our life
“We control our thoughts with our emotions
“Our emotions tell us how well we are
controlling our thoughts.
“ This is how we create the life we have right now.”
According to Abraham-Hicks, there
‘Three out of four mothers
felt scrutinised by other
parents about the quality of
lunches they were providing
for their child.’
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