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Anxiety Around Going Back to School

Pumping heart and shortness of breath.
Uncomfortable back, shoulders and neck ache.
Chest pain, dry throat, head ache and the inability to get up and do anything.
These are a few physical symptoms of anxiety and those that suffer from severe anxiety say it is hard to explain. If you have suffered you may say it feels like a knife stabbing you in the chest, then there is the emotional hijacked of your normal self and negativity following every move. All this is an explosion in your brain sending your thoughts spiralling out of control into what can be identified as a panic attack.
Firstly, I just wanted to paint a picture of how some people express living with anxiety, it is no joke. Anyone, any age can suffer and if not highlighted and worked with can lead to severe mental health problems.
For this blog I am going to approach this subject with my knowledge and years of experience as a Martial Arts instructor and how to help with children and anxiety going back to school.
Anxiety can rear its ugly head at anytime in life but usually a traumatic event can trigger the physical and emotional onset. The unprecedented times of national lockdown and prolonged change or lack of routine is a trigger that has caused many children to become anxious about going back to school, so do understand you and your child is not alone. If you are a school age child reading and relating to this ask your parent to read it.
– Identify and listen –
My first piece of advice is to identify there is an issue (be honest to yourself) and be ready to support your child with time, listen to their feelings and what they are saying. Respect a child’s feelings but it is very important not to empower them by asking leading questions. It is normal for a child to feel worried from time to time and a firm but supporting “lets get your uniform on & go to school” is sometimes needed.
However if your child is showing significant signs of anxiety understanding something is wrong is important.
Some of the signs to watch out for;
-Feeling nervous, restless or tense
-Sense of danger, panic or doom
-Ongoing difficulty sleeping
-Significant changes in behaviour
When listening to your child try to understand what they are feeling and why. Then help them work through their difficulties. Starting a diary can be a very useful tool to share feelings, writing it down even using pictures for young children may help them.
– Encourage their interests and get involved with their life –
As a parent this will cost you time and expenses but the value to your child’s life will be priceless.
Martial Arts is a great activity to get your child involved with because it is fun, active, teaches life skills and is really cool. Wether their interest is Martial Arts, a sport or activity you would do well to try a few different clubs to see which instructor / coaches connect with your child. You will likely find somewhere that you and your child can get involved together. What is very important is to encourage these interests, get children active and give them the opportunity to learn something new.
– Build positive routine –
This starts as simple as creating regular routine of bedtime, eating and activity but you already know that. Having a direction, motivation and especially physical exercise helps this massively. You as a parent need to also keep to a promise of a routine with taking them to their club even when life gets really busy and deadlines start pinning you down. Planning your week for this is essential. Get a diary, calendar or an app on your phone. Reward charts are a useful tool when looking to encourage younger children into routine and an incentive for all ages maybe needed to get them out the door to start something new. Remember to keep this positive rather than a negative for not doing something and lead by example.
If you are looking for somewhere to start get in touch with a local Martial Arts club. A good instructor / club will be ready to listen and support you. Martial Arts is an interest enjoyed by all ages, girls and boys. The positives are endless with unique reward systems and opportunities to get involved with exciting events, making life long friends, memories and a way of life.
Always get support if you have concerns about your child’s mental health. You can talk to their school teacher, school nurse, social worker or GP.
If you would like to speak to our chief instructor Jacey Cashman about how Martial Arts can help you or your child please get in touch.
By Jacey Cashman; full time SKF Martial Arts Dojo Chief Instructor and WAKO GB Kickboxing National Coach.

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