Back To School ‘Stress Reduction’ Health Hacks

It’s no secret that back-to-school 2021 brings a potential added layer of anxiety for many families. Here are 4 valuable health hacks to practice with your kids to prevent anxious thoughts before they start!

4-4-4-4-4 Breath: Practice/teach this one to get out of ‘fight or flight mode’

  1. Take a deep breath in to the count of 4
  2. Hold that breath in to the count of 4
  3. Exhale to the count of 4
  4. Hold that breath out to the count of 4.
  5. Repeat four times for best results

Added benefits: (1) supply the lungs with better oxygen exchange on the deeper inhale, and (2) exercise the lung’s lower lobes on the out breath hold.

When: Practice this before you usher your family members out the door in the morning. This is also an ideal before bed activity to calm the nervous system for a good night’s rest.

Why: Our diaphragms are innervated by the Vagus Nerve. When we provide a deep stretch of the diaphragm muscle, it sends a message through the Vagus Nerve to the brain that all is well. The adrenals, also innervated by the Vagus Nerve, then slow production of stress hormones and the body begins to feel at ease.

Stabilize Blood Sugar.  Have regularly spaced meals containing:

½ vegetables of the widest variety of color/flavor/texture {to provide food in the form of butyrates to the microbiome, our master conductor in concert with the brain for hormone, neurotransmitter and other functions};

¼ lean protein (for meat and vegan options, visit Healthline)

1/8 healthy fat (nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, nut milks)

1/8 starchy carbs (potatoes,  rice, lentil, legumes, sweet potatoes, beans)

Maintaining consistent blood sugar levels ensures they won’t spike or drop quickly. Spikes in either direction produce cortisol, whose job is to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so keeping it at consistently reduced levels is optimal for everyone’s sake. Given the breakdown of optimal food portions, a good idea would be to toss the muffin and bagel and opt instead for some pre-baked egg cups or a morning protein smoothie.

Check Vitamin D in Lab Blood Draw 

Low vitamin D can result in anxiety, low immune function, and poor sleep quality. But make sure you need it before adding it to your supplement routine.

Lifewave Aeon Acupatch

During Shelter In Place 2020, I learned of this marvelous technology for meridian-based treatment using light therapy. The LifeWave Aeon Acupatches are crystalline patches infused with specific light frequencies that, when applied to specific points on the body, elicit a programmed response. The patches come with a pamphlet that shows the points to alternate – my favorite one for stress reduction is between the great and second toe. You can purchase them easily in my store HERE.

Aeon is designed to elicit anti-inflammatory and stress-reduction activity.  You simply apply one patch for 8 hours at a time – ideally during the hours when stress is likely to be amplified. I recommend doing this for 5 days on and 2 days {weekend} off.  Be sure to be very well-hydrated, as your body is working continuously during that time the patches are on. I suggest drinking 2 liters each day, and adding electrolytes to everyone’s water bottles to ensure that it’s getting across the cellular ion channels to clean out cellular debris. I like Nuun electrolyte tablets, which I buy at my local health food store. As electrolytes are often part of sports enhancement, some contain caffeine.  I recommend the Nuun Rest, lavender and chamomile (lavender label). Kids love the flavors, so it’s an easier way to keep them hydrated, especially while back at school!

I hope these hacks have you feeling better already, knowing that you have tools to navigate the transition into the rhythms of the school year.

If you’d like added stress reduction, please consider a monthly acupuncture treatment. Schedule your appointment for General Health HERE.