Maybe it’s just me, but somehow the combination of the slightly shorter days and the Back-to-School commercials gets my heart beating a little faster and churns up nervousness from down deep. I start to
- Will my kids get a good teacher?
- What if my youngest hates the new school?
- How will we balance after school activities, homework, and still get dinner made?
- And then there’s the imminent time change and days so short the sun may as well stay down. Which is misery to this southern California girl!
There’s a lot that can get us anxious in the fall, even if we aren’t the ones technically going back to school. But fortunately, there is a quick way to bolster those inner reserves and find solid footing in the changes, too.
This pyramid, created by psychologist Abraham Maslow, shows what we need as humans to survive, cope and thrive in life. The needs towards the bottom of the diagram are what we need to survive, and the top few tiers represent what we need not just for survival, but to have a high quality of life.
When a need on this pyramid isn’t met – or feels threatened – we feel it as stress. Then we get anxious when we know that stress – or more of it – is coming, because we’ve probably seen it before. For example, we know we’ll probably get less sleep as we shift our schedules for the first weeks of school, and as we anticipate that, we start getting anxious.
But we can stop that pattern in its tracks when we do one simple thing:
Notice the need.
When you start to get anxious this fall, take a look at this pyramid and ask yourself, “What need isn’t met right now?” or “What need could I meet right now?” Then ask God to meet it in His own perfect way and to strengthen you as you take care of yourself and your family.
The thing is, simply noticing the anxiety comes from a legitimate need makes managing it more doable. As a mom, you know that sometimes we can’t change much about a moment that’s stressing us out. It may just be something we need to muscle through. But to notice the needs we have as humans in that moment opens space to invite God into our daily life like little else does.
When back-to-school routines or shorter-days trigger your anxiety, will you pause and notice what you need right then? It might just provide a surprisingly simple way out of those classic anxious moments!