Whether you’re a student, a parent, or know someone who is, "back-to-school season" can be stressful—and that’s without the uncertainty of a pandemic. Beat stress with these 5 ideas:


1. Slow Down!

Most of us are guilty of chronically rushing. We rush to and from work, we get angry if the grocery line is too long, we keep hoping next weekend will come or next month, and think that 30 minutes is too long to cook dinner or to wait for food delivery. In the process of rushing, we are creating stress for ourselves. Take the approach that many of the happiest countries on earth do; take your time with tasks, and do them mindfully rather than waiting for the moment to pass. If you don’t have time to take things slow, ask yourself if your schedule is just a little too full.

2. Practice Gratitude

One of the best cures for anxiety is shifting your thoughts away from what’s going “wrong” in your life and focusing on what’s going right. Create a gratitude journal, jar, or wall where you can write down things that you are grateful for daily. If writing isn’t your style, take a moment to think of at least three things you are thankful for. Remember: gratitude doesn’t come in sizes. Something as simple as enjoying the scent of your sanitizer or the cup of tea that you had earlier is worthy of praise.


3. Find Reasons to Celebrate

It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum of life without carving out time out for fun. Shake things up by inventing reasons to make the day special. Cook a big dinner, throw an impromptu party (even if your cat is the only invitee), go out for dessert, treat yourself to that book you’ve been dying to read, etc. No one is too busy to have a little fun, and no reason to celebrate is too lame.


4. Create a worry wall:

Find a bulletin board, wall, or notebook where you can place sticky notes or pieces of paper where you've written down whatever you are worried about. Once the worry is out of sight, attempt to release it from your mind. If the wall is public and the whole family participates, this allows everyone to express their anxieties, and creates opportunities for discussions that can potentially lead to solutions.


5. Plan the Week, but be Flexible:

Take ten minutes to organize your upcoming week. What appointments do you have, or need to make? What activities? What will you be having for dinner? When should you do laundry or grocery shop? By developing a schedule, you are less likely to forget things, and can stop stressing about how your week is going to play out. That being said, life is unpredictable. Don’t panic when your schedule is thrown off course; re-prioritize, re-organize, and use the tips above to calm down.