The back-to-school blues! From many of my friends I am hearing cries of sadness and worry as their children… now young adults… leave home for the first time to go to university.
My friend Sarah’s text with lots of teary emoji’s as she announces Chris is off to Leeds, her second to leave home! And Clair sad to take Lara back to university after a lovely summer at home.
Now I have felt the angst of leaving my child for the first time at nursery, then dropping her off at primary school, changing primary school, moving to middle school and then high school. All challenging and emotional and each year a sense of being needed less especially now as a teenager. Though she does still like ask me to take her to school, but only so that her hair is immaculate when she gets to school!!! Then she gets out of the car so promptly and scuttles off without looking back and shouting a hasty “bye.”
The fundamental thing here is change!
Why do we struggle so much every year? Essentially are in conflict with ourselves, we want to see our children doing well, gain independence and confidence, but we still want to protect and keep them close and enjoy time with them too.
The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. – Charles Kettering
For many parents it can feel like a huge shift in their lives, a great force that changes their daily existence and patterns in life. But their lives do go on.
This last week, we have witnessed torrential rain and electrifying storms. I love walking in a country park near me, it’s idyllic, with a lovely meandering stream, beautiful trees, a lake and fields; but it is at the base of the moorlands and the mercy of the storms.
Later that week I could not believe the change in the park, the stream had changed shape, earth moved, boulders moved down stream, each part of my journey upstream looked different to how it is on my regular treks there.
The force, speed and persistence of the rain had created a huge shift in the lie of the landscape. But it was all still present, still essentially at its core the same place with recognisable features that I know.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. – John F. Kennedy
There were new sights to see and a there was a freshness about the place. I loved how many of the rocks now had a pinkie tinge, scrubbed clean by the power of water and soil.
I reflected upon this event and the scene, yes that night was quite uncomfortable, it wasn’t normal and caused disruption. But soon… calm was restored and new colours and new experiences were offered. Persistence, tenacity, pace and energy created that change!
We all experience change and like me you will have already survived the changes each school year brings, so you can do it again. We have the cycle the ups and downs the crying elations fear and hope and then calm is restored as we settle into new routines.
People can cry much easier than they can change. – James Baldwin
However, it is true that change can bring about anxiety and stress, especially if we have a few things changing at the same time.
In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe studied whether or not stress contributes to illness. They completed a survey of medical patients and their experience of 43 life events in the previous 2 years. Each event, called a life change Unity (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The higher the score the more likely the person is to become ill.
The Holmes Rahe Stress scale measures the stress load of life events. For example, experiencing loss of a spouse carries a 100 Life change units and Christmas – 12 LCU’s.
Your child leaving home has a value of 29 LCU’s. Yes, it’s in there, it is measured as a life changing event and can lead to stress or illness. We are likely to experience a deep sense of loss or sadness, we may miss them in our daily lives and we may find it difficult letting go.
Though we have established that we can move on… we have proved that each year that autumn has brought change. It is like a cycle.
In 1969, in her book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first proposed that there are five stages of grief. This model is used to understand individual journeys in life and is also used to support change in business environments.
Check it out: – what stage are you at now? Remember how you felt when they left primary school for high school? how did you feel? how long did it last…. And note how you survived and went through the curve. The trick is to ensure that the depth of the curve is shallow and the time frame short!
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. -Nathaniel Branden
So how can we move on? 3 actions to go through change with tenacity, pace and energy!
- Adopt a nurturing mindset!
Do the crying stage, its important, helps us to move on. Then use this time to look after yourself so that you can support your child.
Remember the Holmes Rahe scale and your score of 29, well your son or daughter is experiencing a Stress scale score of at least 103! Just on these following 4 factors
A change in financial state 38, change in living conditions 25, change of college 20 and change of residence 20. Remember……
“Self-Care is not selfish – you cannot serve from an empty vessel” Eleanor Brownn
Try these three actions –
- Daily do something to nurture yourself, it can be something as simple as a walk, a manicure.
- Look for new things to be thankful for and capture them in a journal, this will encourage a fresh focus and help you move find new ways of being and then acceptance.
- If you find yourself worrying, remember thoughts are not always true. Watch out for negative talk and flip it with positive thinking.
2. Opportunity to re-evaluate
The Balanced Wheel
The life wheel represents 8 areas of our lives to achieve happiness. When in harmony, the following areas provide focus for a well-balanced healthy life, something we all seek. Now is a time for restoring the balance.
|Ø Directions: The eight sections in the Wheel of Life represent balance. Regard the centre of the wheel as 0 and the outer edge as 10, rank your level of satisfaction with each life area by drawing a straight or curved line to create a new outer edge (see example). The new parameter of the circle represents the Wheel of Life.|
Now identify 2 areas that you would like to work on. Likely those with the lowest score, or the ones that will have the biggest impact on your life and other areas of the wheel
Now spend some time, perhaps over a week dreaming about what this area of your life would look like if it was a 10. Create that vision
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminster Fuller
3. Commit to action
To bring dreams to life you need to now get action orientated, get focused and organised.
- Set your goals in the positive, be descriptive
- Actions should have timescales
- Write them down, review them
It is natural to experience varied amount of emotions through any change and we can learn to embrace it.
Autumn is a time of activity, change, excitement sadness, and time to reflect and see new colours see new perspectives.
May the energy of change bring new colour into your life.
If you would like more support evaluating your wheel and setting goals, contact me for a consultation to discuss ‘personal coaching’
Good luck and happy Autumn.