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返校焦虑? 这里有一些建议.

八月的最后几天——它的炎热, 褐色的草, and long days–can mean only one thing: School is just around the corner! The st艺术 of the academic year can bring a mix of emotions–excitement, 悲伤, happiness; it’s an anticipatory time–what will the year bring? 和去年有什么不同? 对我们所有人来说,无论我们是父母, 教育工作者, or students–this time of year can bring feelings of Anxiety. It’s important that we pause and consider how to constructively process that Anxiety so that all of us can greet the year feeling emotionally strong.

有一件事是肯定的:焦虑正在上升. 根据 全国精神疾病联盟在美国,有超过4000万的成年人.S. (19.1%) have an Anxiety disorder and 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with Anxiety each year.  虽然这些数字令人生畏, we can use them as data points showing that no one is alone when feeling anxious. While Anxiety is an unfortunate shared experience, it can show up differently for different people. 在儿童, 我们可能会看到更多的生理症状(腹痛), for example) or behavioral signs (emotional outbursts). Older kids or adults may show similar symptoms and be able to 艺术iculate their feelings of Anxiety by describing racing thoughts, 坚持一个话题, 或者无法展示认知灵活性. 不管焦虑如何出现, the rates of Anxiety indicate that our community response is integral to our collective strength and working with our Anxiety, 无论是成人还是儿童, 是最重要的. 

The first step to working together is showing up together. When it comes to school, this has been a massive challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance has dropped precipitously and we see less of our students than ever before. 作为一名家长和学校心理学家, I know this is p艺术ly due to increased Anxiety around school. 下面是一些在新年来临之际可以借鉴的工具:

  • 和你的焦虑做朋友. 好吧,我知道这听起来很奇怪. But reframing Anxiety as feedback is a way to make it less of an overwhelming feeling in your body and more of a thing to get curious about: Write or journal around what is making you feel anxious. Talk to a trusted friend about what is coming up for you when you consider your Anxiety. 然后,问问你自己:什么是我能控制的? How can I take some kind of action to regain a sense of agency?

    • Work with your student to talk through what is making them feel anxious about the st艺术 of the year: Friends? 学者? Use compassionate and active listening (“What I am hearing you say is…”) and affirm their feelings while moving the conversation towards problem solving (“What is one thing we can do today to help you feel better about this?”). You may need to offer some potential solutions but try to make the conversation collaborative.

  • 进入你的身体. You may be thinking that not all sources of Anxiety can be problem solved. 所以真正的. Identify strategies that support you in turning your unproductive and ruminating thoughts off (or at least down) and turn your cortisol levels down in your body. 这可能是锻炼, 艺术, or a cold shower; anything that engages your five senses will do the trick.

    • Work with your student to identify where in their day they take time to “get in their body.“如果你的学生还年轻, this may be making sure they have plenty of play time in the sprinkler or finger painting. If your student is older, this may mean sports activities or working with clay. Call out the importance in regularly doing these activities and make a list of the strategies your student can employ when Anxiety overwhelm takes hold.

  • Put boundaries around technology, social media use, and exposure to the news. We all reach for a phone as a convenient way to break an Anxiety thought cycle. 不幸的是, we know that being constantly bombarded by the world’s news is counterproductive to getting Anxiety in check. And social media only enhances feelings of inadequacy and lack of agency.

    • 了解你的学生在科技方面做了什么. 和你的孩子谈论社交媒体的使用, have posted expectations for the entire family around technology, and build compassionate awareness around how technology is impacting your student. 

  • 你并不孤单. Modeling healthy management of Anxiety is key for your child. This may mean putting the above tips into action and/or seeking mental health support. Most importantly, turning to your community is crucial to the health of all of us as the year st艺术s.

    • Reach out to your school now if you are anticipating that your student may struggle with Anxiety. Reviewing a schedule with your student will help them picture their day, a meet and tour with staff before school st艺术s can be helpful, and problem solving with school staff will help you and your student feel better. School offers routine and predictability; two mitigating factors in long-term management of Anxiety. 

Most importantly, do not punish yourself or your student for feelings of Anxiety. 保持响应而不是被动是关键. And making your school team p艺术 of the solution is also important.  还记得, 你的学生每天都在学校, 他们获得支持性的关系, 他们成功的关键资源, and skill building opportunities—school is a critical p艺术 of their emotional health!

If you or someone you know is experiencing Anxiety or other behavioral health challenges  in a way that feels unmanageable and/or urgent, please call 911 or reach out to Clackamas County Urgent Mental Health Center at 503-655-8585.