August 30, 2017

Summer is winding down and anticipatory stress is building- for students and their families. Assignments for the summer- put off too long- and thoughts of early morning wake-ups may feel daunting. The onslaught of homework, tests, and scheduling overdrive can be overwhelming. The roads are more congested as people return to work and school.
First, enjoy the time you do have left. Think about what else you might want to accomplish before the summer ends and school resumes. Stay in the present while mapping out a plan for the transition.
Students: Start paying attention to the school work due; don't wait until the day before classes begin. Begin setting your alarm earlier to get used to the school year schedule. Review your school and after school activities calendar to ensure that in addition to the activities and study time, you have downtime.

Parents: Help your students begin to re-structure their time.
Not All Stress is Bad
Stress- an inherent part of our survival as a species- is defined as a physical, mental, or emotional factor- either external or internal-  that causes bodily or mental tension. It can be positive and motivating or negative and inhibiting, depending on how we choose to react . The stress levels reported by teens now exceeds that of adults; teens, whose impulse control is not fully developed, are ill-equipped to handle stress positively. Challenge your teens, and yourselves, on negative self-talk about stress; changing thoughts will change emotions, and help deal with stress more positively. 
Building Resilience 

Resilience helps us bounce back from the inevitable distress we feel in our lives. Building resiliency is possible and modeling it for others is positive.
  • Create positive peer groups and family relations. 
  • Exercise to counter stress reactions and improve sleep.
  • Have fun- it helps maintain a positive attitude.
  • Take control over your choices to feel more empowered and less a victim.
  • Accept that there will be some stress and know you will get through it.
  • Practice yoga or other forms of meditation to maintain perspective.
Social support is the most important factor for maintaining good physical and mental health. This can be especially challenging for adolescents who are naturally turning away from their parents and relying more on their peers. As a parent, help encourage your children through the sometimes chaotic ups and downs of friendship. Do not be afraid to tell them what you think; they do listen.

Think Positively and Take Actions to Achieve Your Goals
Think about one activity you did over the summer that you really liked. Can you find a way to continue it, or a scaled down version of it, during the school year? For instance, if it's outdoor time, incorporate an evening walk several times a week; if it's recreational reading, set a goal to read one book per month.

Take time for self-care with activities such as exercise, downtime, reading, writing, and meditating. Self-care will minimize the negative impact of stress and help to enjoy life more fully.

Remember that taking some "me-time" everyday will help you to be more productive and successful.
At Core Counseling, you can pursue Mind-Body Wellness through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness and other therapeutic techniques. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call me at Core Counseling, LLC: 201.875.5699. Experience a comfortable, private and confidential environment with an atmosphere of encouragement, optimism and compassion.
Together we can find solutions to your core issues. " You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."  Maya Angelou

In Health and Wellness,

Lisa Fedder, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
560 Sylvan Avenue                     108 Baker Street
Englewood Cliffs, NJ  07632       Maplewood, NJ  07040
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