Family and Student Mental Health Conversation

Returning to school this year is especially stressful for families with children managing new ways of learning and connecting. On September 8, Susie Miller, LPC of BlueStone Counseling presented to a bilingual group about how to manage anxiety and navigate this fall in the midst of a pandemic. Consider these ideas next time you or a loved one feels anxious:

  • Smell something! Our brains can’t process a worrisome thought at the same time we are inhaling a pleasant aroma. It short-circuits the brain’s tendency to stay with the same troublesome thought over and over. Use an orange, an essential oil, or anything else with a strong scent to temporarily interrupt the worry.
  • Put your hand over your heart. This is a self-calming gesture and has been proven to lower the heart rate. It has a similar effect as petting a dog or cat would to them. It sends the message that everything is going to be OK.
  • Plan for 2 weeks at a time. In the midst of COVID-19, major aspects of our lives are changing from one day to the next. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your family by trying to plan for the whole fall and winter at once. Breaking the winter into 2-week increments is more realistic and manageable. Think about how the next two weeks might go, make a Plan A, B, & C for flexibility if things change during that time, adjust as needed, and then continue that cycle.


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