How to Avoid Back to School Anxiety as a Parent Post-Covid

mom putting mask on her kid

If you feel stressed about coronavirus, you're not alone. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had ripple effects into almost every aspect of our lives, and it's affected the way we live every day. So much has changed in such a short time.

It's natural to feel covid anxiety when we face a crisis, the unknown, or sudden change. It's a normal reaction to feel the need for safety, certainty, predictability, and control, and this is especially true as our children go back to school.

Anxiety as a parent is a normal emotion and serves as a signal to pay attention so we can protect ourselves and our families. Anxiety alerts us. It prompts us to adapt. But when we're overwhelmed by stress, it sometimes can do more harm than good. When fear becomes overwhelming, we're less able to rise to a challenge, and sometimes we get stuck.

Here are some tips that can help you cope with and how to calm anxiety and give you a sense of control as your children go back to school.

How to Calm Anxiety as A Parent

Follow the Advice of Experts

First, know what to do to avoid the spread of germs. This not only helps keep you safer, but it also gives you and your kids a sense of control! Follow the expert guidelines for health and safety. Wash your hands well and often. Keep surfaces clean. When you do these things, you protect yourself, your family, children and your community. 

Accept Anxiety as One of your Many Emotions

Don't ignore it, fight it, reject it, or be afraid of it. Don't judge yourself for feeling it. Be kind. Give yourself permission to be human.

Keep It in Perspective and Notice the Good

Don't let anxiety run the show. It's one part of your emotional life, but it's not the whole thing. Leave room to challenge yourself: Is there anything going well? What positive things have happened that make me think this anxious thought might not be accurate?

Practice Mindfulness

When you notice anxious thoughts when your kids go back to school, know that you don't have to dwell on them. Direct your attention to things that help you feel calm. You can use techniques such as guided imagery (easily found on YouTube or Google Video) or mindfulness practices that help you focus on being in the moment. 

Try a sleep-well candle before bed to relax your mind and body, ready for a restful night’s sleep. The powerful lavender and chamomile scent will set your mind at ease. Enjoy as part of an aromatherapy ritual, while reading a book or drinking a herbal tea. 

Reach out to others.

Speak about your worries to your loved ones; chances are that you'll have many parents around you who feel the same way. Staying in touch with friends and family is right for you and them. Feeling close to others reduces anxiety, and has been known to boost the immune system. Even though we're staying home more, we can reach out by phone, video chat, or social media. We can feel close, even while we're apart. Practice physical distancing, but social togetherness.

Most importantly, remember that this is all new, so there are no rights or wrongs. Anxiety is really treatable, and many people experience high levels of anxiety as a parent. However, if your anxiety seems overwhelming — if you're having trouble sleeping, eating, or interacting in the ways you normally would — get help. Most health providers are still offering appointments during, so don't be afraid to reach out for help during this stressful time.