Back to school 101
By: Katharine Stewart, L.Ac.
Are you a teacher, a parent? Are you excited about going back, or about your kids going back?
Or maybe you’re dreading the new, more hectic schedule and the seemingly unavoidable bug that seems to wreck havoc on everyone?
While we can’t make your schedule less hectic, we can help you feel less stressed. We can also prevent catching that bug that goes around, or at least make it less severe.
While it’s often said that kids, and teachers, and then parents, get sick in the fall because of heightened exposures to each other, and more bugs going around, that’s not how Chinese Medicine sees it!
Firstly, exposure is never the only player in actually getting sick. If that were true, we would all be sick most of the time. Yes, catching something requires being around it, but it also requires some imbalance within us to get sick from it. Think of being stressed, or not getting enough sleep, or even having a new schedule. Those can all get us a little off our game.
Secondly, Chinese Medicine has the belief that times of transitions are inherently challenging. Going from summer to fall is a transition. The air turns cooler. What we like to do for fun changes. Like I don’t really fancy taking my kayak out in the cool water anymore.
What we like to eat changes. There aren’t many fall recipes for watermelon soup for example. We crave warm and heavy foods like pumpkins and squash. Pumpkin spice latte anyone?
Transitions are not solely about the change of seasons. They are also about the change of our routines, our schedules, our activities, even our lifestyles. Starting school. Stopping school. A new job. A new place to live. A new relationship. A baby. A “baby” leaving home. All of those are transitions. And that in between time, in between one phase of life and another, there can be apprehension, or even excitement, but there is still the unknown. How will it be? How will I cope?
I remember before my kid went back to school. I’d worry how I was going to juggle getting her to school and me to work, picking her up, getting her to dance class, making time for her to do her homework. At first it was hard. We ran late in the mornings. I did not fathom that it would take a 13 year old girl two hours to get ready. I’m still not so sure what she was up to, but I learned to allow for that. Pretty soon we had our rhythm, our routines. It wasn’t bad.
Then Winter break was suddenly upon us. I had no idea what to do with all that time on our hands. I had my own personal jam after dropping her off for school that I couldn’t imagine living without for two whole weeks. Two weeks? Cut to two weeks later… I didn’t want her to go back. It was great having her home (mostly,) and I wasn’t ready for another change of schedule! Yes, I was a little coo-koo. I was apprehensive about starting school, then stopping, then starting back again! Ugh!
Then I realized it was about transitioning. It wasn’t even that one time was good and one was bad, it was the instability of the change. I was feeling off-center for a while. Once I recognized that I usually felt that way before and at the first part of the new thing, it helped. I realized that I could allow for that imbalance. Like I started making my schedule lighter for that first week. I planned ahead with some meals, or fun activities. I also booked acupuncture or a massage at that time. I really needed a reboot going from one phase to the next.
Traditionally Acupuncture was done at the change of each season. A “tune-up” so to speak. It was to stabilize or decrease the imbalance that came from transitions to keep the emperors well. Did I ever mention that in the olden days, acupuncture was only for them? It was not for us common folk. Emperors only. Keeping them well was the job of the acupuncturist. It was not good if they got sick. So, even in the best of health, Emperors got their seasonal tune-ups.
It will help your immune system fight off those fall colds. It will help you reduce your stress and handle the new schedule with some vigor and vitality. And the time to do it is now. Give your body, mind and spirit a reset before you’re in the thick of it!
Also try a cup of Tulsi tea. Tulsi, or Holy Basil is a traditional tea that strengthens your immune system and also helps reduce stress. It’s available wherever good teas are sold. Try a nice cup to relax.
If that’s not quite enough, Ask us about our favorite herbal formulas to help strengthen your immune system or combat stress. We have a whole array of powerful formulas that help.
Happy back to school!