Today, I’m back to work – a bit out of step with most of us…And I wanted to talk about the September stress that many of us can experience as we approach the day we set foot again at work or school if you are still on the benches of college, high school, university, etc. So, how can you stress less at the start of the school year ?
What is the September stress ?
Why back to school/work can be stressful ? The month of September is a bit of a key month in our calendar years. It marks the start of a new school year – whether or not we are still in school. A bit like the month of January, September is meant to be a time when we look forward to the months to come, where we reorganize ourselves, where we sometimes throw ourselves challenges and goals. In short, we have all, at some point, made resolutions for the start of the school year.
All these thoughts, this “mental load” as we hear more and more can be a source of stress, anxiety and even distress. Why ? This can be explained in different ways, especially with September stress :
- anticipation : we imagine all kinds of situations, usually which put us face to face with our limits, our lack of self-confidence and we “mount” our heads on what could happen. However, nothing has happened yet. So, let’s take a deep breath and reassure ourselves. If we start to think of this situation as a “hard” time, we put our minds in this “I’m going to face some unpleasant experiences” mode. We have the power to choose our thoughts every day (which we learn from meditation in particular). This does not prevent us from recognizing our entire emotional palette, however, I can choose to apprehend this situation with happiness, self-care, renewal, etc.
- perfectionism : if we are sensitive to astrology, the month of Virgo is a time under quite a lot of pressure. Indeed, the sign of Virgo is a sign that can seem like psychorigid, very ordered/organized…Wanting to organize is one thing, but preventing yourself from living by too much control becomes a source of suffering.
- a pathogenic environment : If I’m returning to a workplace that does not suit me, for example, or if we are in an “unhealthy” environment with the hierarchy or the colleagues, we can be anxious. If before our vacation, things did not go well…We can ask ourselves if it will be better at the start of the school year. Once the stressful situation is identified, how can I act ? What is my space to change the situation ? Sometimes the only solution is to change the environment. Personally, this is what I have been able to do in the past.
- the difficulty of mourning : Yes, yes, you read that right ! September is a time of transition between summer and autumn. This can be more or less well understood depending on who we are, our experiences, etc. We are changing energies. We say goodbye to extended lazy moments alone, with friends or with family. We dress differently again etc. Summer is the season of “all fire, all flame” energies, which are expressed outward. Moreover, in traditional Chinese medicine, it is inconsistent to take a vacation in July/August because these are the times when our energies are at their highest and when our body should work more. While from the start of the new school year, these decline towards more interiority – following the cycle of Nature. This parallel is sobering. Indeed, when we project ourselves on the fall/winter, we get up, it is dark and we come back when it is dark. We take little advantage of the light during the day.
- the current situation : impossible not to speak of this magnificent code name that we hear everywhere “COVID-19”. Even if we are not always connected to news channels, it is difficult to escape this context as soon as we go out on the streets and see everyone (or almost) with masks. In addition to a highly anxiety-provoking context fed by the media and social networks, people’s behavior has changed – and not necessarily in a good way. I find that there is more aggressiveness in the air, less manners. Under the pretext that “we must” maintain a social distance and partially cover our face, politeness, courtesy and Co. are the great forgotten in our societies. Let us try to be benevolent and tolerant, in short to be united in a context which aims to divide the strata of our societies.
Some ideas for a smooth September
The month of September may therefore be a good time to ask the real good questions about what is important to us, what we want to promote, etc.
Here are some ideas to handle this weather more gently this passage :
- delegate : whether you live alone, as a couple or with your family…Daily life weighs heavily on our mental health. For example with all my activities, I came close to a nervous breakdown in July (yes, yes, it even happens to shrinks). So I decided to delegate some aspects of daily life (housekeeping, for example). Sure, this comes at a financial cost but on the other hand, how much do you want to put into your mental health ? If there are several of you living under the same roof, the question could then be “what do I accept that I no longer have total control”, which can have a very big stake depending on your personality.
- set achievable and achievable goals : as I said, September is often a month of resolutions…It is always a driving force to give yourself challenges and other goals. Nevertheless, make sure they are attainable and achievable. If you are thinking of going back to exercise, ok, but how to organize it, how much time can you dedicate to it ? Where would you do it ? At what time ? If we want to transform our habits, it is important to start small and take it gradually so that these new behaviors turn into a reflex. Our brain needs time for neural plasticity to take place.
- take time for yourself to decompress : This is the importance of slowing down. With the start of the school year, everything resumes in a frantic way – so find breathing time to rest and do activities that make us feel good. Doing nothing is already doing something !
- doing activities that makes us feel good : It’s up to everyone to find what makes them feel good. For some, this will mean watching an episode of their favorite TV shows, a video on YouTube, reading a few pages of a book, listening to music, cooking, going for a walk, seeing friends, etc.
- get some fresh air, practice a physical activity : This can be an activity that makes us feel good, but if it is not part of your reflexes, then perhaps it is time to think about it. Even just walking a little each day allows you to restart the machine, fight against stress, anxiety, increase your breathing capacity, etc. It is the time of the open doors of many sports associations, do not hesitate to inquire !
- fill your plate with color : Our brain is powerful and beyond a balanced diet, if you bring color to your plates (whether through balanced food, spices and aromatics, etc.) , you will bring a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure with every meal to your mind. You don’t have to be a great chef and put pressure on yourself, just a few small touches make all the difference. For example, for your fresh fruits, do not hesitate to make yourself a fruit salad that you will keep 2/3 days with a little lemon – so you have the pleasure of seeing several colors when you eat your dessert.
Do you have any tips to deal with September stress ?
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