Heading Back to School

(especially while experiencing uncertainty)

The school year for 2021-2021 is just around the corner. For me, school meant all my senses were going to be engaged! Seeing my friends and teachers after a long summer break. The smells of the classroom, crayons, pencils, and books. Hearing my teachers and my peers doing things inside and outside the classroom. The taste of my favorite school lunch item, Mrs. G’s chocolate sheet cake (made with beet juice). And the feeling of my favorite t-shirt (that if I could, I would have worn every day). But even with all the good that left me feeling happy, there were days when I didn’t want to go.

Some families returning to school may be experiencing “BIG FEELINGS” like anxiety, sadness, fear, and anger. Many may have experienced sudden and inconsistent changes through these last 18 months, leaving them feeling uncertain about what may happen when they return to school, which may be unpredictable. Know that there is some uncertainty out there right now and we all are experiencing it. And those “BIG FEELINGS”, there are ways to help you manage them and feel better.

When I work with families who have “BIG FEELINGS” that get in the way of their happiness, I ask them to remember the “BIG FIVE”:

1) Remember that it is not ok to disrupt yourself or others

2) Take deep breaths and count to ten

3) Use your words to express what you want to happen

4) Ask for help to solve the problem

5) Take a moment to take a step back and observe what’s going on around you and move forward with a positive solution

“BIG FEELINGS” can get in the way, they can be messy, and they can make feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and sadness feel too big to handle. When families use the “BIG FIVE” their “BIG FEELINGS” get smaller and easier to manage. They often share with me they feel happier and more comfortable with their interactions and decisions.

So, take a deep breath, drop your shoulders away from your ears, and pretend to be cooked spaghetti (all loose and wiggly). Remind yourself to practice your “BIG FIVE” when experiencing “BIG FEELINGS” and know that you have support out there. Talk to someone you trust, reach out to a friend, and ask for a hug, and enjoy some sunshine when you’re not at school!