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Three Tips for a Healthy Return to School

Back to school can be a stressful time. Parents want to make sure everything is in order and ready to go for their children, ranging from immunization records and physicals, to school supplies, backpacks and new shoes. For students, the stress and anxiety can come from making new friends, meeting new teachers, resuming a homework schedule and the everyday social pressures. There’s a lot of readjusting to do!

Ongoing stress, when left unaddressed, can contribute to depression and anxiety. The good news is, there are ways you and your family can counteract stress and start improving your mental health. Here are a few tips:

Create a healthy sleep routine that makes it easier to get solid blocks of better sleep. Sleep schedules can wind up all over the place in the summer months, so it’s important to get back into a healthy sleep routine. High-quality sleep has been shown to improve resilience to depression and anxiety and can be the key to keeping things in perspective. Ideas include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends; making sure bedrooms are quiet, dark and comfortable; and keeping electronics, like TVs, phones and tablets, out of the bedroom. Try doing this for a few weeks so it becomes routine.

Engage in a reasonable amount of physical activity every day. New research from the University of Limerick (Ireland) shows that even a moderate amount activity can reduce the risk of depression. Just 20 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week can have a positive impact. And it doesn’t have to be high intensity, a bike ride or brisk walk will do the trick.

Talk about ways to redirect negative thoughts if/when they occur. Holding negative thoughts inside only makes it worse. Get those thoughts out in the open. Talk about school with your student and, if they are anxious or negative, share some ways to overcome those thoughts. Ideas include reciting a song or rhyme from memory, doing something that makes them happy, going outdoors for sunshine and exercise or even just talking about one of their favorite memories can help.

If you find that you – or your child – need more ideas to help manage stress and find balance, reaching out to staff at Oneida Behavioral Health can provide an extra level of support to restore harmony more quickly and address any unresolved emotions. You can reach us at (920) 490-3790.

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