It’s that time of year. School is starting. Parents, students, and teachers alike are feeling the pressure. This time of year, we forget about ourselves. But self care is especially important during this time of transition. There are simple things everyone can do to make for a more mindful transition back to school.
As a former high school special education teacher, I know how it can be. And as a yoga and mindfulness professional, I know how we can make it easier. I’ve gathered three easy ways for us all to reduce our stress and have a more mindful transition into the school year.
Intentionally assigning relaxing properties to a scent can be a game changer. Choose a scent that is pleasing to you. It can be an essential oil, or even a perfume or body spray. Wear this scent when you are in a happy relaxed environment. Perhaps wear it while meditating, or doing something that you associate with being relaxed. Assign a de-stressing property to the scent in your mind, so that you can carry it with you and utilize it during a stressful moment, and be reminded to relax. For example, keep it in your desk or in your locker. Parents, keep it in your car to calm you down if there is a stressful morning commute to school. Smelling the relaxing scent during an anxious moment will remind you of a less stressful time.
During the school year, students are often pushed into a sedentary lifestyle after months of an active, energetic summer. This can be shocking. The same goes for teachers and parents, and it can be stressful to come back to reality after summer vacation. Being seated all day, especially when feeling a lot of pressure or anxiety about the transition, makes it important to take short breaks. For students, take advantage of transition times between classes to avoid feeling trapped in your desk, or work with your teacher to agree on structured breaks to allow you to move around. A structured break during the day is also a great time for teachers and parents to get a stretch. There are easy yoga poses you can do, even at your desk, that are really helpful with relieving tension and anxiety. If you’re not able to get up and move around, I recommend doing an easy seated twist in your chair to relieve tension in your middle back and shoulders.
Try an easy mindfulness meditation
Chances are, during your transition back into the school year, you’ll be doing a lot of sitting quietly. Make this a productive time, and learn to control that inner monologue that may be pushing more stressful thoughts in the way of your peace of mind. Just be aware of yourself thinking thoughts. Let the thoughts pass through your mind like a river, but don’t jump into the river: Don’t let your thoughts carry you off. Instead, be aware of the thoughts you are thinking, and move onto the next one. Going back to school can really bring on some anxiety that can be difficult to overcome. Use this meditation practice to get past those blocks so you can be your most effective self during the school year.
Yoga teaches us that moments are temporary, whether they are happy or stressful. The key is to be fully aware in every moment, so that you can take control of your thoughts. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or student, these simple yogic habits can help you push through negative thoughts and feelings, and bring your mind to a better place as you transition into the school year.
Adapted from Top 3 Ways to Bust Test Stress with Yoga
Lauren Coles is the founder of Daisy Yoga, a corporate wellness company, and Yoga Yacht, both based in New York City. With a Master’s Degree in Education, she works with specialized populations, including office workers, urban adolescents, and people with disabilities. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, Complex, and Entrepreneur. Lauren can be reached at [email protected] or @msyogaceo on Instagram.