As students get older and have more classes, homework, and activities, stress can become a large part of their day. With several children with differing schedules, the combined commitments can increase that stress for the whole family. While we are certainly not psychologists or stress experts, here are some tips from us based on how we deal with the stress of hectic schedules.
Keep the Hectic Schedules, Lose the Stress
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, especially aerobic exercise. Running, walking, swimming, or yoga – they all count, so pick one that suits your physical and mental needs. For example, if boredom sets in from continually doing a particular activity, alternate your choices or try something mentally stimulating like dance.
Regular exercise helps to reduce daily stress and encourage your children to do the same. You can even choose an exercise to do as a family or go somewhere where each of you can do your chosen activity in the same period of time.
Follow a Routine
Following a routine has been proven to reduce tension not only for children but also for adults. When daily routines are followed, utilizing the day can be better managed, even when a few hiccups happen. With less time spent figuring out what to do, you may find enough time to indulge in other activities.
Make a List
Some people find that making a to-do list of tasks to accomplish each day allows them to stay focused on daily goals. And checking off items from the list not only offers a sense of accomplishments but can also help to reduce the stress of having so much to do.
If this method appeals to you and your children, consider including it in your routine. Like taking time each morning or when getting home from school to make all of your lists.
Meditation is a great way to remove stress from the mind, and studies show that meditation is helpful for kids as well as adults. When you meditate, it may help clear the mind of the everyday build up of information, and helps the person relax.
Of course, not all kids have the attention span or interest to take up meditation. Just like not all kids will use lists. If your family is interested, however, this could be a resource to look into.
Get Plenty of Rest
As the Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” Taking time to relax your mind and your body is proven stress relief. So when you or your children are feeling pressured, think about recent sleeping habits. If you or they have been losing sleep, that’s certainly not helping.
Sleep loss can add tension to an already hectic schedule, and if it is controllable (such as staying up to complete a task), then, there are sleep tips that could help. One of them is having a structured time for going to bed and getting up. And when time allows, giving yourself permission to take a nap, remove yourself from distractions, and breathe.
Focus on Important Aspects
No matter what we have done to prepare for the day, there will be days that do not go as planned. Understanding this and allowing for compromise leads to better outcomes and less stress. Although this does not come naturally to many people, sometimes, relegating specific aspects of the situation as important or unimportant can help. Changes to unimportant aspects can be easier to accept without being upset.
Remove as many electronic devices when doing other activities to help avoid distraction. Although we, as a community, depend on our electronic devices, using only what we need will help us focus on a particular task, which can be a big time saver.
In fact, combining this with a list of goals can be very handy – no electronics until specific goals from the list are done. Without those distractions, necessary tasks can be finished faster, leaving more time to relax and relieve stress. And if adults follow the same rules, the kids have less room to complain.
The stress of a hectic schedule can have negative effects. Finding ways to alleviate and better manage the stress can help to decrease stressful conditions, giving you a better perspective of the tasks ahead. And encouraging your children to find methods now helps them prepare for their future.
Do you have any tips on how to relieve stress? What do you and your children do?
Author: Pam Crum, Lead Teacher at A Grade Ahead.