Back-to-School Blues 3: How to Stay Balanced (When Your Head Is Spinning)

written by Liza Bennigson, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

Theme three in our Back-to-School Blues series, how to stay balanced (when your head is spinning), is a lot harder than it sounds, and requires compassion and grace that may be in short-supply these days. Fortunately, our CHC experts are here to help!

The goal of the “Back-to-School Blues” series is to help ease this bizarre transition for the whole family, with actionable tips from CHC clinicians that you can implement today to bring a little calm to the daily chaos. Previously, we’ve covered how to set up your “homeschool” (for success) and how to empower your kids (to control their own distance learning destiny).

Today’s tips come from Karen Moos, LCSW, Clinical Program Manager; Chelsea Anne Young, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow; Lori McGilpin, Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager; Mar Isaacson, MS, CHC’s Finance Director; and Lifon Huynh-Leresche, MEd, Teacher.

Tips to stay balanced

  • Remember that you are human. It is perfectly okay to feel frustrated and annoyed and absolutely worn out. Allowing yourself to feel that way will also make it easier to enjoy the successes and fun times that are happening. Talk to your support network, reach out for help from teachers or call a friend. It can do wonders to realize you’re not alone.
  • Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses.  Maybe you can help your friend’s child with their math homework while your friend helps your child create a poem over Zoom. Think creatively about your friends and family and see who might be able to help out in areas where your family could use some extra support.
  • Give yourself permission to cut corners, whether it’s breakfast for dinner, In n’ Out for lunch, or paper plates once in awhile. You and your family are working hard every day. You deserve a break!
  • Don’t worry about the fact that your child(ren) may not be progressing as much academically as they would be in the classroom. The levels of stress and anxiety in the world are high enough, and children are feeling it too. (We all are). As always, kids will have strong skills in some areas and will need reminders and extra help in others. It will all balance out in time.
  • Be flexible. For most families, today’s daily routine looks nothing like it did a year ago. If you’re struggling with the “new normal,” take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and this is hard. Get creative about prioritizing tasks and deadlines, share responsibilities with your spouse/partner and consider a staggered workday. “Working 9-5” is no longer a reality, but with some careful planning and self-compassion, you can create more realistic expectations of what you can accomplish each day.
  • Take time, whether it’s 5 minutes or an entire evening, just to be with your children and not think about tech or school but focusing on a fun aspect of being TOGETHER.
  • A positive mindset can go a long way. Always remind yourself (and your family) that “this too shall pass.”
  • True, there are many things we cannot do right now. We know, however, it’s all temporary and just a matter of time until we can.
  • There are only 940 weekends between a child’s birth and leaving for college. That means each moment with a child is precious and fleeting, even if it seems mundane. While the pandemic has put families under unimaginable stress, particularly mothers, it also provides a unique opportunity to spend more quality time with our children, free from the Silicon Valley rat race of extracurriculars and college-induced stress, in a way that could ultimately strengthen relationships. I love the idea of doing a parenting meditation where you try to stay in the moment, focused on the miracle that is your child. The way you used to when he/she was a newborn. Find ideas at:
  • When tensions feel high, go outside!

Also, this is hard. It’s OK to have good days and bad days. But be alert to signs of depression or anxiety in yourself or your child and seek help as needed. You are not alone! (Literally. Ever.)

If you would like to schedule an evaluation or get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Care Manager at 650.688.3625 or CHC teletherapy services are available now.

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