Stress Busters for Back to School
Stress, er, school is in session. That means registering for classes and extracurricular activities for teens and college students. For little ones, it’s about making sure backpacks and lunchboxes are filled. Of course, there’s also the school reading lists, driving your children (and others’ as well) to soccer or ballet or football or karate classes.
With all the hustle and bustle, everyone can get stressed out. That means students and parents alike. At Bookmans we de-stress with a good book or movie. We listen to music, play video games, or distract ourselves with quiet crafting. It’s not always easy to do, especially for students.
The list below are some recommended items or activities to help students de-stress throughout the school year. Parents, you can use these tips for yourself as well!
Worry stones can be any shape or size. They can be one you find on the ground or one specially made with an indent in them already. The indent is about thumb-sized if you’re on the hunt. Today they are typically gemstones. Sometimes they are called fidget stones or sensory stones.
To use one, you simply run your thumb back and forth in the indent while holding the stone. This form of de-stressing is very simple and meditating. We recommend reading The Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler with little ones. It can help them understand the concept.
Baoding balls, also known as zen meditation balls, can also help strengthen your hands and improve finger dexterity. Usually sold as a pair, you can use two or more balls in one hand; think of it as juggling. The catch is when you are using them for meditation, the balls are meant to never touch; you rotate them between your fingers and the palm of your hand. If you would like a demonstration, click on this video that explains how to properly use them.
Stress balls are the go-to form of stress relief. Typically a foamy or soft material, people squish and squeeze them to release their stress. Stress balls can be used to strengthen hands. They’re hard enough to bounce but light enough to throw up and catch in the air too. Plenty of fun to be had in one little squishy ball.
Classical Music, Meditation, and Nature Sounds Soundtracks
Our days are filled with constant noises. Instrumental music or soundtracks of soft melodies or nature sounds can be very soothing. These also help people concentrate. In fact, children studying in class can benefit from soft classical music in the background. If you’ve been having a stressful day and want a little peace, try Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.
Some prefer flutes, sitars, or the sounds of nature. Sound machines typically feature rain, ocean waves, blowing wind, and chirping birds. Very soothing indeed. There are also calming guided breathing and meditation playlists that can leave you feeling zen without much effort at all. No matter your listening preferences, you can’t help but relax with soothing sounds.
Specific Yoga Poses
How can moving around be relaxing? One Mayo Clinic article states that yoga “combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. [It] may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate. And almost anyone can do it.” With a definition like that, who wouldn’t want to give it a try?
Depending on the poses, you can stretch out stiff areas or muscles too. Even just a good back stretch can de-stress your body.
Setting time aside to eat well is not only physically important, but it can be mentally beneficial as well. Being constantly on the go, we eat and drink a lot of things for energy to keep us going. Instead of fast-food or pre-made snacks, try to take the time to set up a snack that consists of produce, nuts, and grain.
Better yet, have your children help you make the snacks. Studies show that food preparation gets kids interested in healthy eating. If you don’t a simple veggie snack, make fun snacks with the kiddos like as ants-on-a-log or Chex-mix.
Fidget Spinners and Cubes
Fidget spinners? Really?! Before they were a craze (*ahem* nuisance), fidget spinners and cubes were designed to increase focus. They also help students with learning disabilities or anxiety. Though not scientifically proven to work, if your children enjoy these little toys, they can be used to encourage study time.
Here’s one way to use it:
- Put the fidget spinner at the top corner of their homework and spin it fast.
- Tell your children they have until the spinner stops spinning to do as much homework as they can.
- Once the spinner has stopped, go over the answers they have done. Count with them how many problems or words they have done. Share the excitement with them.
- Once done with their studies, use the spinner as a possible reward. Kids still like to play with them, so let them do so for finishing their homework.
Written by Sky, Customer Service Extraordinaire
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