Anxiety over change can be triggered by anything. A new school routine, going on holiday, changing jobs, moving house. Any routine change can mess with your brain-space. Yep, back to school is torture for this anxious mum.
Basically, I just get my knicks in a knot about the unknown and I like to torture myself about for months leading up about all of the things that might possible wrong, but really very rarely ever do. So it will come as no surprise to learn that school going back is stressing me out more than the kids.
Let’s just say that years of experience in talking myself out of this stressed out, catastrophising, neurotic way of being has taught me a thing or two. Here’s how I’m coping with the new school routine…
Talk about the worries that are causing the anxiety
Admittedly, you open yourself up to someone screwing their face up and saying “Really?? You really worry about THAT???” But it’s also good just to get that shit out of your head, and off your chest.
You can work out which are real worries and which are probably unlikely scenarios that you don’t really need to waste precious worrying time on.
Take all of the worries and right them down
A worry in your head is like a merry-go-round horse with diarrhoea. It goes around, and around, playing a freaky song, leaving stinky mess everywhere and you can’t focus on it properly, or anything for that matter.
A problem written down is far more manageable. A list of problems or worries is actually less scary than the shit swimming in your head.
School business requires some serious organisation. School uniforms, before school care routines. Pick-ups and drop-offs organised around work. Homework, reading, after-school commitments.
Organising stuff and having an action plan means you can tick it off your list. This helps you to feel like you’re in control of the situation.
Being in control helps you to feel less like an anxious mum and more like a boss.
Lunches organised the day before, the next day’s outfits laid out.
I’m a dichotomy because I’m a control freak but I’m mega disorganised, but don’t tell anyone, ok? I think I have them all fooled.
Ask for help
I cannot impress upon you how important asking for help is in managing most anxiety.
Feeling like I’m paddling upstream on my own is the fastest way for me to feel my heart racing and my mouth clagging. And the merry-go-round of diarrhoea begins again.
Get kids to do their bit
Teaching kids to be independent will only help you in the long run, so making them responsible for dressing themselves, making breakfast (and cleaning up after themselves), or being responsible for their school bags will put you on the road to winning. Less for you to do, equals less stress.
This is a work in progress for me, I still yell about putting shoes on about 5 million times a morning.
Keep a wall calendar, and use it
Trying to remember all of the dates of school things, deadlines, social engagements… MESSES with my brain. The phone calendar doesn’t do it for me, and a day to day diary doesn’t either. I’m an old-fashioned wall calendar kind of girl.
If you don’t use a wall calendar, that’s fine. I’m not the Know All of Diarising Life, I’m merely suggesting you take the dates out of your head, and write them all down somewhere easily visible. Unless you’re Rainman and totes happy with the figures in your head.
This is my new strategy that has been in pace for one week.
So far, I suck at it, however, practice makes perfect with this stuff. If you have any tips to add to this, feel free to let me know so I can get a grip on life, and unknot my knickers.
Are you a fellow anxious mum? How do you cope with school?
Image by Eunice Lituañas from Unsplash