Welcome to our new “Mental Health Break” column!  Our goal is to write a snappy, relevant and newsy column with everything related to Personal Growth, Self-Improvement and Mental Health.  We are a dynamic psychotherapy group which has been part of the Summit and Montclair communities for over 25 years. We look forward to partnering with TAPinto and invite you to keep your eyes out for our column.  Stop for a moment, put aside your busy life, and take a mental health break with us!  

This week:  How to Ease Back into the School Year

This is the time of year that we therapists notice a sudden “bump” of anxiety and stress.

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While back to school takes the pressure off entertaining the kids every day, it also comes with crazy new schedules, a rush of back to school nights, sports commitments and a blitz of forms and sign-up sheets.  I remember always signing up to bring water bottles to every class event and then driving all year with a palette of them, just in case I forgot I had signed up for something! 

Here are just a few ideas to help you ease your way back into the school year:

  • Be Realistic:  Consider the practical side of transporting your children to activities.  When your schedule looks more like a new traffic pattern for the town, take a step back and re-evaluate.  Driving children around in a state of frenzy isn’t good for anybody’s mental health.

  • Be Inclusive: Consider the needs of all the family members when planning your Fall activities.  It’s great to be at all the kid’s games and activities, but what about the needs of other family members, including yourself!  It’s not healthy for the kids to think that their activities are the priority all the time.

  • Be Gentle: Try not to get caught up in the unnecessary “compare and compete” game.  Work on avoiding the “I’m not doing enough” rhetoric.  Our experience is that most of the children we see in therapy are overscheduled and the parents are exhausted trying to keep up with them.

  • Be Mindful: Take opportunities to be in the moment.  Make your goal to savor your experiences, rather than get through them. Thinking about what is ahead of you all the time is the precursor to both stress and anxiety.  Engage in activities which help bring all your senses into the present moment, like yoga, meditation and outdoor activities. Don’t “fit in” apple picking … truly “take-it-in.”

  • Be Less Serious: Humor is an antidote to stress and anxiety.  Try making games about getting ready for school; laugh at mistakes rather than beating yourself up; incorporate silly fun activities with no other agenda other than having fun.

  • Be Grateful: I know this sounds like an “Oprah Winfrey moment,” but it is scientifically proven that practicing gratitude has a significant impact on one’s physical and mental health.  Reflect on the wonderful memories of summer. Keep a family gratitude journal where family members can take turns to write in it.

  • Be Resilient: For most of you reading this, this is not your first rodeo.  Remind yourself that you will make it through this transition. At some point you might be grateful for the structure and schedule.  Think about your strengths which you can bring to bear and assign tasks accordingly. Help your children identify the strengths they have and how they can use them to be successful.  

Everyone at Summit Psychological Services wishes you a safe, smooth and happy transition back to school.

Psychologists Jeffrey S. Kahn, PhD, MAC, CGP, DABPS and Alison W. Johnson, PsyD had a vision.

They imagined a center where New Jersey’s most skilled psychotherapists—from all disciplines of applied psychology—could work under one roof. They saw a warm, welcoming, supportive space for individuals, couples, families, and groups of all ages. They pictured a communal environment that fostered counselor-to-counselor consultation and collaboration, and a spectrum of creative, innovative services.​

Most important, they envisioned a place where people could not only heal their psychological wounds—but also learn how to achieve their goals and live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Transforming dream into reality, Drs. Kahn and Johnson established Summit Psychological Services, P.A. in 1992. SPS has since grown to become one of the largest, most comprehensive private psychotherapy practices in New Jersey. Our Summit and Montclair offices have served thousands of people from northern and central New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, Warren, and nearby counties); New York City; and Eastern Pennsylvania.

As an SPS client, you benefit from the best of all worlds: the comfort, privacy, and safety of a trusted therapist’s office; a wide range of services; and the depth and breadth of expertise offered by our multi-specialty team.

Summit Psychological Services offers two locations: in Summit at 482 Springfield Avenue and in Montclair, at 94 Valley Road. To reach us, contact Information@SummitPsychologicalServices.com or call 908-273-5558.