It’s safe to say that lately, we’re in uncharted territory, especially with it comes to the new school year! Some schools have resumed business as usual, where others are going entirely online or even delaying the school year. Parents who felt busy before are taking their game to a whole new level.
You know what, parents? We’ve got you!
Danu Apothecary has put together a guide to bringing down the stress levels a notch or two. Read on to learn how you can reduce stress with the new school year!
With your kids in school and your job having a set schedule, staying in a routine was pretty manageable before COVID. Knowing where you had to be and when wasn’t super hard to keep on top of. Now, if you’re like a lot of parents, you’re rocking Zoom meetings all day wearing a business shirt coordinated with comfy sweatpants, and...oh yeah, relearning math and science, so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of your kids. Are we having fun yet?
But let’s be real here. No matter what your planner says, staying on schedule is easier said than done. And we’re not going to sugarcoat the situation--you might be hiding in the bathroom watching videos for a crash course on middle school algebra while that webinar your boss made you go to is playing at your desk. Give yourself some grace. While there are some things that you absolutely must go to, you’re basically working two jobs at once right now. Do your best to keep up, but don’t be hard on yourself if you’re practicing the fine art of give-and-take.
Recognize the Signs of Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety might not have been in your vocabulary pre-2020, but we’re going to bet you a dollar they are now. We’re all dealing with a lot, including job changes, tighter finances, homeschooling while working, and even sick friends and family...among other world events. Where you might have been unflappable before, stress, anxiety, and depression might be creeping in. You are not alone.
Here’s the thing: stress can be healthy and motivating, but it can also cross a line where it becomes chronic anxiety and even depression. While outside stressors are probably out of your control, you can take charge of dealing with your stress. Be mindful of it and how it’s affecting your physical and mental health. For example, stress can physically manifest as headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, digestive issues, and pain. And mentally, you might find yourself getting sad, anxious, snappy, or even angry. When you recognize these signs, take a step back and reframe how you react to a situation. Then do what you can to change the outcome.
Practice Good Nutrition and Exercise
Look, we’re not suggesting you become the next Chris Hemsworth here, okay? But when things get a bit hairy in our lives, we’re more likely to start eating our feelings, skipping meals, or drinking more alcohol than usual. Again, this is completely normal. But did you know that what comes in must come out? This goes for food and drink, as well as the type of information you consume!
While eating cruciferous veggies might not give you the same sense of instant gratification that a pint of ice cream and a glass of wine does, in the long run, eating well does help you with chronic stress. The nutrients you eat help protect and rebuild your body, and when you’re running on empty, these nutrients are more critical than ever. Further, even if you take a 10-minute timeout to walk around the block, this activity will help you breathe better, reduce your blood pressure, and reduce anxiety by working it out rather than holding it in.
Talk it Out
Let’s be clear: venting is not complaining...unless you’re all talk and no action. Sometimes, when you feel down and out, one of the best ways to overcome that feeling is to connect with somebody. Whether you call up a friend (video calls are even more rewarding, and we promise you they’re not going to judge your blouse/dirty leggings ensemble!) or seek the help of a professional counselor, simply talking about how you feel can make you feel so much better. You might even find that talking about it can help you think out loud to come up with solutions to problems you’re experiencing.
Be mindful of your talk sessions. If you don’t feel as if you’re coming up with solutions to your stress, then it’s time to reframe. Be solution-oriented when there is an issue that needs to be remedied.
Keep a Stash of CBD
CBD can’t fix everything (don’t we wish!), but studies have tied it to reducing feelings of anxiety and interacting with your body’s reward system to make you feel temporarily happy. If pain and headaches are a side effect of your stress, it could potentially help to reduce those issues as well. Before you try any CBD products, speak with a medical professional and a pharmacist if you’re currently taking any medications.
CBD gummies are a great way to feed your sweet tooth without reaching for candy. Try a more concentrated CBD oil sublingually (let it sit under your tongue for a few minutes while you close your eyes and practice deep breathing). We love the aromas of CBD salves and lotionsbecause the aromatherapy effect can be instantly relaxing. Or if a softgel is more your thing, take one in the morning and then try a melatonin and CBD formula for nighttime.
Nothing feels like it did a year ago, and while we can’t change the world around us for the most part, we can change how we nurture our sense of well-being. Self-care is not an indulgence--it’s a necessity, especially if you’re taking care of kids while you and your partner are working. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, say no, and use that time to rest and unwind. Taking care of your mind and body will help you become more resilient and healthy for the long term.