Wellness Wednesday: Back-to-School Anxiety During the Pandemic
Just a few months ago, many parents felt like things were going back to normal. However, with the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Arkansas and the added threat to children, back-to-school anxiety related to the pandemic is rising in lockstep with the daily cases.
Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital, offers some advice for finding peace in these trying times.
English highlights that while it seems like there are a lot of things out of our control right now, there are some things that we can control. Sometimes, it helps to write these things down. English suggests making lists of the things that you can and can’t control. Additionally, talk to medical professionals about your fears and seek insight instead of hoping to get answers from social media.
Be as Safe as Possible
English advises that safety and caution can be different for each household. Whatever this looks like for your family — whether that’s masks or social distancing — don’t be ashamed of doing what you need to do to protect your loved ones.
Instead of second-guessing decisions, monitor your self-compassion and ability to decide what you need. English advises paying close attention to how you talk to yourself and treat yourself during difficult times. Identifying and improving this pattern can help build confidence in decision-making and minimize a cycle of negative talk.
Practice Flexible Thinking
English describes the importance of flexible thinking, not only in times of a pandemic but in general. Psychological flexibility means responding to demand in real time. It’s especially great to have now, when things seem to change every day. Some of this may include what school is going to look like this fall and what precautions are going to be taken. English suggests thinking about other times that you’ve had to be flexible. What helped you get by, and can you repeat some of those steps again?
Things may be difficult right now, but these situations present us with an opportunity to become more in tune with our mental health through the decisions that we make to protect and help our families, especially during this back-to-school season.