By Angie Laussel, Child and Family Therapist
The long, hot summer school holidays, with the smell of sunscreen, the sound of backyard cricket and the sticky aftermath of ice-cream, are coming to a close. It’s late January, and children and parents across Australia are readying themselves for the new school year. Some children and young people are SO bored they can’t wait to return for the stimulation and to reconnect with their friends. Parents too are counting down the days for a return to routine...
Others are starting to feel the bite of worry. Thoughts of: “who will my teacher be?”, “will I have any friends?”, “what if it’s too hard?”, “will I fit in?”, “what if my clothes/bag/shoes aren’t right?” - are starting to gnaw. The back to school wobblies are very real for many children, and can result in noticeable mood changes, tearfulness, irritability, sleep problems, and somatic symptoms such as stomach pains or headaches.
With our grown-up knowledge and experience, it can be tempting to dismiss their worries and give superficial reassurance that “it’ll be alright!”. This is especially true when we are caught up in the busyness associated with back to school: organising new shoes, uniforms, books, stationery and trying to get a school friendly sleep routine re-established.
It’s important to remember that change can give us all the wobblies, especially when we feel we don’t have much control over it - which is very much the case for children and young people going to school. So how can we genuinely reduce our children’s back to school wobblies in a way that builds their resilience? These 7 tips can help you tackle your child’s worries, when they can appear too big for them to tackle by themselves:
The back to school wobblies are a common experience for children of all ages, including young people going to high school. With parental and school support, the majority of children will learn to cope with their fears, settle back into the routine of the school year and learn to manage the ups and downs that come with it.
Some children, however, may need extra support if the back to school wobblies are more persistent and pervasive. Their fears and worries can transition to anxiety, which may stop them engaging with friends, participating in activities, and make it difficult for them to do things that others their age do. Big emotions such as anxiety are difficult for children to speak about, so will often be expressed through behaviour or through somatic symptoms. You may notice significant and sustained changes in your child’s behaviour, such as being withdrawn if they were outgoing, or defiant if they were cooperative. They may develop repeated and unexplained physical symptoms such as tummy aches, headaches or stress related skin conditions. Anxiety in children rarely just gets better on its own, and seeking support early is the most helpful thing you can do for your child.
By Rowena Bianchino
February is just around the corner, which of course means Valentine’s day is upon us, so why not dedicate a moment to reflect on your current relationship, or on attracting the one you want to have!
The truth is, none of us enter into relationships lightly and we certainly all hope that ‘this is the one,’ but slow down… you’ve only just met this person and it’s more than likely you have projected all of your fantasies and unmet needs on this unsuspecting customer, and theirs on you.
From the get go, no-one human can possibly fulfil everything we need and we definitely all have our little quirks that will undoubtably reveal themselves in time! So, if you’re looking at beginning a healthy, long-lasting relationship, or making your current one even greater, here are five things to think about:
Just as much as a relationship is about understanding each other, it is also first and foremost about understanding yourself. Personal therapy is a great way to understand the inner workings of yourself – which often leads to a better understanding of your experience, past and present, in relationships. This leads to a healthier approach to relationships, and a more inquisitive way of being able to understand your current or future partner. Couples therapy is also, of course, a great way to explore your partners interior world and likewise, help them understand and get to know you more. A safe space to express yourself, where you can be a fly on the wall as your partner does the same. Couples can learn a lot about each other, even in just a few sessions, opening up a whole new world and an entirely new meaning to your relationship.
Read more about how we can help your relationship with yourself, or your S.O, by exploring our Integrative Therapies here. We’d love to hear if you found this article useful, or if any points resonated with you. Leave us a comment below, or engage with us through our socials.
By Jayde Austin
It’s no surprise that most jobs involve some degree of stress, which isn’t unreasonable, however it can become an issue for individual’s health, and the workplace when it becomes excessive and ongoing. Not only does the effects of stress have a significant impact to mental health (in some cases causing an individual to develop anxiety and/or depression – or worsening their existing conditions), it also affects the productivity and performance within organisations.
Let’s first explore the effects to the individual, because we’ve all been there at one point or another, and it’s never pleasant. Some people thrive off being under pressure, but for others, it can feel overwhelming, causing physical symptoms such as:
Then there’s the psychological and behavioural symptoms you may experience, such as:
So what causes all of this? What factors are contributing to people feeling stressed at work? The main culprits include:
When mental health becomes compromised by work, it’s important for an individual to take steps to not only cope, but overcome this stress, allowing them to stay mentally well and as happy as possible. We first encourage individuals who are experiencing workplace stress to understand your agony, ask yourself, is this temporary? How intense are my stress levels? How long have they been increasing, and what impacts are they having to my work performance and personal relationships? Monitoring stress is a great first step in exploring not only the resulting factors of stress, but also the causations. Learning to identify when you’re stressed can help you either avoid commitments that may have otherwise proven taxing to your stress levels and mental health, but also figure out ways to manage situations more effectively in favour of less stress (i.e. ask for longer deadlines, start planning ahead of schedule, have an honest conversation with your managers, or confiding in friends and family, etc.).
While it’s difficult to give generalised advice to people experiencing stress in the workplace, given it is extremely individualised and circumstance based, there are a few key recommendations that are sure to help alleviate stress caused by the workplace.
Aside from yoga, we also offer various forms of assistance to individuals suffering from stress, anxiety and other forms of emotional unease. View our page on Integrative Therapies to learn more about how we can help you overcome your current hardships.
You may also be part of a workplace that offers an Employee Assistance and Wellness Program (EAWP) to assist employees with personal and work-related issues that are impacting their job performance, health, mental and emotional wellbeing. If your workplace offers this service, it’s absolutely worth chatting with someone about taking advantage of it.
For business owners who aren’t aware of this offering, EAWP gives you access to a team of specialists providing services that promote the health and wellbeing of employees. These services are designed to improve morale, and reduce absence levels and stress in the workplace, with the long term aim of improving the general health of the workforce. With EAWP, companies are gaining from resources helping employees manage their personal and work lives, meaning that both parties gain great benefits. With the primary focus being on the identification and resolution of employee and manager concerns, EAP programs are able to help individuals overcome triggers of anxiety and stress, allowing them to be happier, calmer and regain their optimal performance levels.
Harbour Therapy Clinic has a worksite focused program to assist with personal matters such as health, relationships, family, finances, emotions, anxiety and depression, alcohol, drugs and other related issues. Early intervention at the workplace is effective in ensuring employees return to work, in a positive, stable environment. We can advocate on behalf of the client to assist in reducing the impacts of workplace stressors. If you’re an employer concerned about your staff’s wellbeing, or just looking to boost their overall well-being in team building, visit our official EAP page to read more about this service and enquire with our team. Remember, when you or your staff start to be absent, it's our advice to make a timely response.
By Jayde Austin
Re-set, re-adjust, re-start, re-focus as many times as you need to.
With the new year, comes new resolutions. From quitting smoking, to being more physically active, or even eating to maximise your health/pleasure paradigm – whatever the focus we love hearing the goals people set – it shows that they want to continue enhancing their lives, and gives them something to focus on in the New Year.
In our experience, most goals we hear about will undoubtably have a positive impact on mental health, as people foresee themselves being in a happier space upon reaching their goals. It's quite surprising to know that a mere 20% of people actually accomplish what they set out to do… Not only do we hope this percentage increases; we also hope that you’re part of that group. We have written out some simple ways to help you continue moving forward to reach your set goals.
What goals did you set for 2019, and how are they going so far? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.