Califonia Bountiful

Stress-less back to school

Sept./Oct. 2009 California Country magazine

This can be an overwhelming time of year. The carefree summer days are coming to an end. Children have early morning wake-ups, homework demands and after-school sports and activities, while parents must juggle a new schedule, organize carpools, pack nutritious lunches and readjust already hectic schedules. But you can keep stress levels low with these strategies:

  • Set a schedule: Children respond positively to consistent routines.
  • Limit extracurricular activities: Choose activities your children will enjoy and consider time commitments before selecting activities.
  • Allow for downtime: Put aside time each week where nothing is scheduled so that you can focus and connect with your child.
  • Stay organized: Simple organization solutions, such as preparing lunches the night before and lining up school outfits, can save anxiety and chaos in the morning.
  • Rest and nutrition: Plenty of rest and a nutritious diet will help keep your children (and you) balanced and calm.
  • Relaxation techniques: Introduce your children to techniques that counteract stress, such as concentrating on breathing.

Stress-reduction methods are also important for parents. Many of the popular techniques found to reduce stress are derived from yoga: controlled breathing, meditation, physical movement and mental imagery. Try it!

Taking the simplest of steps to reduce stress sometimes seems difficult in our busy lives, but it's so important. Schedule some downtime just for you and put it on your calendar—take a walk, soak in the bath, lay on the couch or read a book. We can't fully give to our children if our own reserves are empty.

For information about the California Farm Bureau Members' Health Insurance Plan through Health Net Life Insurance Co., call 800-839-2172. Or visit the Health Net Web site.

Sam Cole is a regional vice president for Health Net of California Inc. He can be reached at

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