Oct7WedFive ways to manage anxiety and focus on the things that matter with kids back in school. October 7, 2020 by Captain Bhreagh Rowe
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Kids are now back in school, whether in person, online, at home or a mix. For some, that’s exciting. For others, it’s stressful. For us, we are somewhere in the middle of those two realities.
Over the summer, we moved to the beautiful little city of St. Albert, Alta. We arrived in July, settled into our new home in August and sent our kids back to school later that month. We, like most of you, haven’t found it easy living through this unpredictable time, so getting back to some sort of routine was welcome.
However, there’s still a lot of anxiety. There is so much information—and misinformation—out there, and our leaders are trying their best to sift through all the unknowns and create a plan. Sending my kids to brand-new schools, in a brand-new province, in a brand-new situation, after being with them all day, every day, for six months, has not been great.
I miss them. I question my decisions. I question school decisions. I pray that my boys will encounter loving teachers who try their hardest to keep everyone safe and continue to love what they do.
Managing my own back-to-school anxiety has been important, because I never want my kids to feel any type of anxiety because of me. What do I do when I am anxious? Two things.
First, I pray, try and solve it myself, realize I can’t and then pray some more. Because there is absolutely nothing I can do to survive this life on my own without the grace, love and healing of Jesus. I do not have to hustle to prove something that God already tells me—I am worthy.
Second, rhythms, rhythms and rhythms! When you know you are worthy to the depth of your soul, you also know there is still work to be done. Prayer is important, but prayer without action isn’t always our best course of action. Set yourself up for success. Get into rhythms. Remember the things that matter and let the rest go. Here are a few of our daily rhythms that help us focus on what matters before sending the boys out to school.
- Early rise. There’s nothing I hate more than being rushed and, if your kids can put words to their feelings, they probably hate it, too. I hate having to yell at my kids to get their shoes on and get going. The slow and simple mornings from the lockdown are something I’m not willing to give up, so an early rise for everyone means more time for the things that matter and a whole lot less, “We’re going to be late!”
- Morning routine. Whether we realize it or not, most of us have a morning routine. Sometimes that routine is snoozing the alarm 18 times and then rushing everyone out the door. For me, our morning routine means I get up way earlier than I ever wanted to so I can have my God-time, workout time and get breakfast ready for everyone who gets up an hour or so later. Doing the same thing every morning isn’t boring, it’s comforting. Our boys get up, chill in their pyjamas for a bit, have breakfast and get dressed. We have time to get out the door and are way more balanced for the day.
- Table time. The table is probably the most important spot in our house. It’s a time to nourish ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Every morning we sit around the table, have breakfast, pray together, say our breakfast benediction, learn something from the Bible and fill ourselves with God. Table discipleship is important.
- Prep the night before. Laying everything out the night before makes the mornings even easier. Meal-plan breakfast, prepack lunches, know what everyone is wearing, pack backpacks—do whatever it takes so you can easily place your hands on everything you need in minutes. This way, the morning is filled with the things that matter—God and family.
- Encourage throughout the day. God and family time aren’t something to check off the list. It’s something to incorporate all throughout the day. Maybe you or your spouse or your kids are really feeling the anxiousness that everyone is putting out there these days. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but no one can steal the peace and joy that God gives. Encourage and stay connected to each other and God all day long. There are a few different ways to do this—one is a lunchbox note to remind your littles who they are and what kind of power they have to help others.
Ultimately, the best thing we can do during this anxious season is to take a deep breath, then be still and know, with our whole beings, that he is God. With God, and work on our part, we can lead our families to be even better Jesus-followers than before. Wishing you lots of peace and a calm mind.
Captain Bhreagh Rowe is the community ministries officer at St. Albert Church and Community Centre in Edmonton.
Photo: damircudic/E+ via Getty Images