rigorous academic year or dealing with difficult social situations.
“The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for parents and children,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “While trying to manage work and the household, parents can sometimes overlook their children’s feelings of nervousness or anxiety as school begins. Working with your children to build resilience and manage their emotions can be beneficial for the psychological health of the whole family.”
After nearly two years of unemployment, JohnPaul Smith finally got a job offer. It was with a mixture of joy, relief, sadness and fear that he accepted it. And on one recent Sunday night he went to Facebook and updated his status. He wanted to inform friends and family, who had followed his two years of unemployment, that his ordeal was ending. He also shared some raw emotions. "Anxious and excited about returning to a full-time job tomorrow for the first time in 23 months … YIKES!!!"
Excitement, joy and relief will be understandable to most of us. But anxiety, sadness and fear ...
Surprising as it sounds, Smith's combination of feelings is not uncommon, say career experts and mental health professionals. After a long period of involuntary unemployment, a person may be fearful that his skills have deteriorated to the point that he will not be able to function in a new position. He may worry so much about losing another job that he self-sabotages. Or he may grieve for a lifestyle he had developed while staying at home with family.
"From an emotional standpoint, your pace has been in the slow lane for a very long time," said Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist Debra Brown. "If you're in a job where you're suddenly put back in the fast lane, you are now challenged to get up to that pace as quickly as you can."
While there are many things people (students and employees) can do to ease more gracefully back into a "9-to-5" existence, nothing can take away the pain that goes along with the punch in the stomach of unexpected unemployment or returning back to school from summer holidays. There is often that fear that "it" might happen again.
In fact, people who return to the workforce or school after a long stretch of not doing anything also often feel what Brown called "anticipatory anxiety." Once you've had [an involuntary loss] happen to you, you have this anticipatory anxiety that it might happen again, and that might take some time to shake." If left unchecked, this anxiety could lead to self-sabotage, she said.
Awareness can go a long way toward avoiding anxious behavior, as will acknowledgement of the difficulty that goes along with such a drastic change — no matter how welcome. "When you've been out of work or school of an amount of time it's going to be hard to get back in the grove."
So, in order to avoid some back to school or back to work stress and to prepare to return to work or school after a long break here are a few things you should consider :
And finally ...How to Eat Right to Reduce Stress: During times of stress, we often turn to traditional "comfort" foods such as macaroni and cheese, pizza, and ice cream. Ironically, these high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Not only that, but stress can drive up our blood pressure and raise serum cholesterol levels, wreaking havoc on our arteries and increasing our risk of heart attack.
The best solution? Low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. They soothe us without sapping our energy and give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system. Here's a guide to which foods reduce stress and which foods make it worse:
Foods to Include High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods: Scientists believe carbohydrates cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us. And lots of fiber is helpful in preventing late-night binging. Some examples of healthy comfort food include baked sweet potatoes, minestrone soup, or sautéed vegetables over rice.
Fruits and vegetables: Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. By upping our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, we can boost our immune system. Acorn squash and carrots, for example, are great sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene. And citrus fruits provide plenty of vitamin C, another stress-busting antioxidant.
Foods to Avoid High-fat foods: Fatty foods such as meat or cheese dishes and many baked goods thicken our blood which in turn makes us feel tired, even lethargic. This is clearly not a good way to reduce stress! Even just one high-fat meal can increase our risk of a heart attack.
Caffeine: Many of us deal with a stress-induced lack of sleep by turning to coffee, tea, and colas. Unfortunately, caffeine stays in our systems longer than many realize. Cutting back on caffeine can help with both sleeping problems and jitters.
Sugar: As a carbohydrate, sugar tends to calm us. The problem with sugar is that it's a simple carbohydrate so it enters and leaves the bloodstream rapidly, causing us to, in effect, "crash." On the other hand, complex carbohydrates?such as pasta, beans, and lentils, the starchy parts of foods?soothe without bringing us down.