Building Your Back-to-School Resilience Routine
Building Your Back-to-School Resilience Routine
It’s that time again. Sunscreen and pool floaties get replaced with number two pencils and folders. I may be dating myself, but I couldn’t wait to get my new trapper-keeper each year.
I talk a lot about proactively cultivating the habits, skills, and behaviors necessary to build resilience, and this time of the year is a perfect example of why it is so important to create them for your whole family before you need them.
As the mom of two, one of which is a 17-year-old senior in high school dealing with social pressures and getting into college, I know that anxiety, stress, and overwhelm can easily start to feel like the new “normal”.
Back-to-school stress can be overwhelming for both parents and students. While top stressors for parents are juggling earlier wake-up times, school traffic, and after-school activities, students fret over fitting in and the pressure to get good grades. School has become extremely competitive and can feel like a popularity contest that leaves them wondering “Am I cool enough?” It’s probably no surprise that 70 percent of young people have seen bullying in their schools. And the same percentage of teens say anxiety and depression is a “major problem” according to a recent Pew survey.
During the school year, it turns out, teens are the most stressed demographic in the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Stress in America survey.
These emotional stressors trigger parents and students alike. This is why it’s important to develop a family resilience routine. People who build up their resilience don’t just survive challenging times; they thrive in them. Here are the 3 keys to a family resilience routine:
1. Add resilience to your schedule. You can’t be resilient when you have nothing to give, so stress-free activities should be part of the weekly routine. What do you wish you had more time for? Is there a fun activity your child’s been begging to do? Is it on your calendar? Make sure you’re not just prioritizing schedules but actually scheduling your priorities. Schedule time to be physically active with your kids. Exercise changes your brain and repairs neurons damaged by stress.
2. Mistakes are opportunities for growth. If we use adversity properly, we can become more courageous and resilient as a result, and triumph over anything life throws our way. If a work meeting didn’t go as well as expected or your student didn’t make the sports team, use that experience to practice resilience by searching for opportunities for personal growth. What did you learn from it? How will you use that information going forward? Learn to practice a growth mindset and teach your kids to do the same. Failure is only bad if you’re perfect.
3. Be grateful. Gratitude is the number one predictor of well-being. Research has found that you don’t have to find something to be grateful for; the simple act of looking releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain, changing your neurology. Make a gratitude jar, place it on your kitchen counter, and have each member of the family write down something each day for which they are grateful. The more specific the better. Each day, share something specific that that made you smile or laugh.
It is up to us grown-ups to model the behavior we are trying to teach. When we are running on fumes, talking about being stressed and overwhelmed, losing sleep, and trying to keep up with the Jones’s, we inadvertently teach our kids this behavior.
It’s easy to get caught being reactive in emotional and stressful situations, but how we respond has a profound effect on our productivity, relationships, and health. Be mindful in the moment, making subtle, little choices each day that will transform your life and help you and your family build unstoppable resilience!
We live in a world where we are bombarded with information, saturated with stimulation, and overloaded with deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. Demanding schedules, competing priorities, and a never ending list of to-do’s have made stress and burnout common place. Stress is the leading cause of heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other ailments, and it has literally become a public health epidemic.
Resilience Training & Productivity
The good news is that research has found a way to help combat the many challenges associated with stress, and companies that practice this are more productive, more profitable, and higher performing as a result. More and more organizations are turning to resilience training to help their employees manage stress, navigate change, and overcome obstacles and setbacks.
Resilience Is A Skill That Can Be Learned
Resilience is not a personality trait but rather a set of skills and habits that can be developed and honed, and there are skills, behaviors, and attitudes that can be learned. For example, research has consistently shown a link between job satisfaction and the degree to which managers express gratitude to employees. Gratitude affects your brain at a neurological level, producing serotonin and dopamine (the brain’s feel good neurotransmitters), and reduces cortisol (our stress & “fight or flight” response). Practicing mindfulness has been found to significantly impact and improve the part of the brain responsible for memory, attention, and emotional regulation.
One size does not fit all. Learn a ton of cool ways to build your courage resilience.
This is a resilience revolution, and it starts with you!
Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.
Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.