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Navigating summer stress

Tips for managing anxiety as school ends:

If you’re a parent or caregiver of school-aged children, you understand the unique stressors and anxiety this time of year brings. With the transition from the school year into summer break, schedules become less predictable and can cause increased stress and anxiety for parents, caregivers, and children alike.

Moving from a structured routine, where children know what to expect each hour of their day, to an open or inconsistent one, can be anxiety-inducing1. On the flip side, the pressure to fill children’s days with activities, programs, entertainment, and fun is stressful for parents and caregivers.

With the right strategies in place, it’s possible to navigate this time with ease and ensure a smooth transition into the summer months.

Maintain a routine: Maintaining some semblance of a routine is incredibly beneficial for everyone during the summer. Staying consistent with regular wake-up and bedtimes, mealtimes, and daily activities can help reduce last-minute scrambling and uncertainty of what the day will bring (and the dreaded “I’m bored!” complaints). Consider co-creating a schedule so you can design the routine together.

  1. Stay connected: The end of the school year can often mean a decrease in social interactions for both parents and children. Making a conscious effort to stay connected with friends, family members, and the community can minimize feelings of isolation and provide much-needed emotional support during times of stress.
  2. Prioritize self-care: As a parent or caregiver, it’s common to prioritize the needs of your children over your own. However, it’s essential to remember the importance of self-care, especially during times of stress and anxiety. Ensure you’re making time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. In prioritizing your mental health, you’re also setting a positive example for children to do the same.
  3. Limit screen time: While technology can be a valuable tool for entertainment and communication, excessive screen time can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Set daily limits on screen time and encourage alternative activities such as outdoor play, arts and crafts, or board games. Reducing screen time promotes healthier habits and creates more opportunities for meaningful connection with your family.
  4. Seek professional help if needed: If you or an adolescent child are struggling to manage stress and anxiety, it might be beneficial to seek professional help. BounceBack® is one option. It is a free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) coaching program designed to help manage both anxiety and stress for youth and adults ages 15 and older. Working remotely with a trained coach, BounceBack® can help you build the skills you need to improve your mental health.

It’s perfectly understandable to have feelings of stress and anxiety as the school year comes to a close. However, summer also gives the gift of time to recharge and prioritize mental health and well-being. By implementing these strategies and, when needed, seeking professional help from programs like BounceBack®, you can get back to looking forward to a summer free of stress and anxiety.

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