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How Do We Navigate the Stressful Month of September?

September is a month of getting back to routine. It is also usually a month of high emotions. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things ~ getting up early, making lunches, pack bags, ride the bus, having to be “ON” all day. No doubt this is an extra hard time for our kids with chronic pain since they are extra sensitive to change, extra stimuli, and emotional pressure. And when they are on high alert, we are on high alert, as parents! So how do we navigate September?!?!?! With an extra dose of patience and small steps. For ourselves, and for our kids. Maybe you think, “Things are already falling apart! I thought this year would be better!” It can be. And it will be. However, we have to give ourselves LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNG luxurious timelines. Do you know that when we give ourselves short timelines, even THAT can be a stress to our nervous systems?! We need to give our children timelines that are even longer than we think they need so that they aren’t overwhelmed. Give yourself a timeline that is twice as long as you think you will need. Or don't give yourself a timeline at all and instead just take the small steps to make progress! If your child is barely making it to one class, you might need to give them 2 years to make the transition back to full time schooling. Add 5 minutes a day weekly. And if that is too much, take it down to a 1 minute increase/week. If your child can’t even make it out of the house, make their first goal to get dressed each morning. The next week they can get dressed and brush teeth. The next week they can add a 5 min car ride. The next week can be walking to the front door of the school…. These goals can be really small! Or maybe your child can attend full days of school most days but not during a pain flare. Start to build up their capacity to do things during pain flares. And reward them for doing it. It’s hard work! But they can do it. And as they start to do it, they feel more confident and proud of what they can accomplish! And slowly they are able to be functional, regardless of pain fluctuations. And the pain starts to take a backseat and become background noise. Make your child’s weekly goals as small as you need to, in order to make progress. Small steps work. For everyone. As long as they are small enough. If you are looking for help to get your child more functional, to attend school more, or to increase their capacity to function during pain flares, I can help. Developing a program that suits your child and allows them to be successful is my specialty! Your child’s pain likely has made your lives unpredictable, but with small steps to increase function, life can become more predictable again. Let's take the small steps this year to make sure that next September feels very different. ~ Carla Friesen

Licensed Psychotherapist, Pain Coach

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The general contents of this website are provided solely for educational and informational purposes and are not meant to provide professional medical or psychiatric advice, counselling or therapeutic services.

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