a teen sits at her desk with a book thinking about navigating the new school year

Navigating the New School Year with Holistic Support: 5 Techniques to Empower Kids and Teens at School

As the new school year approaches, the transition can bring about a mix of excitement and apprehension for students, parents, and teachers alike. Supporting your loved ones during this period using holistic therapy techniques can be a powerful way to promote their overall well-being and success. 

Our team of holistic therapists at Awakened Path recognizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, addressing various aspects of an individual’s health. Here are five holistic therapy techniques to help you support your loved ones, whether they are young children or teens, as they embark on the journey of a new school year.

1. Mindfulness Meditation for Emotional Balance

Mindfulness meditation is an effective way to foster emotional balance. Encourage your loved ones to practice mindfulness regularly, even for just a few minutes each day. Teach them to focus on their breath and be present in the moment. As they focus on their breath, they should become aware of their thoughts and feelings as they arise. Eventually, they will learn to observe their thoughts and emotions as they pass without judgement. At Awakened Path, our team utilizes this breath awareness meditation technique to help reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and enhance emotional resilience, making it an excellent tool for managing the emotional challenges of a new school year.

If you’d like to take your meditation practice a step further, here are some additional techniques you can try with your child or loved one:

Body Scan Meditation

This is a mindfulness practice that involves directing attention to various parts of your body, from head to toe, in a non-judgmental and focused way. The goal is to increase awareness of bodily sensations, release physical tension, and develop a sense of presence in the moment. To begin a body scan meditation, you will first find a comfortable place to sit or lay down. After focusing on your breath and centering yourself, begin the body scan. Starting by drawing attention to the top of your head, imagine a warm, gentle light or breath moving down from your head to the rest of your body. Slowly, scan through your facial features, your neck, shoulders, chest, stomach and back, down to your legs, feet, and toes. Once you’ve reached your feet, take a few moments to focus on your body as a whole. Feel the sensations in your entire body, from head to toe. Enjoy the sense of relaxation and presence that this practice brings. Reflect on how your body feels after the body scan.

Walking Meditation

Walking is an excellent accessible form of exercise, but it can also be a form of stress reduction through walking meditation. To get started, bring attention to your breath and center yourself in your body. Begin to walk slowly, taking one step at a time. Pay full attention to the process of walking. Notice the lifting of your foot as you take a step, the swinging of your leg, and the placement of your foot on the ground. Feel the ground beneath your feet, the subtle shifts in balance, and the movement of your muscles. Be fully present with each step. You may choose to synchronize your breath with your steps. When you’re ready to end your walking meditation, stop and stand still for a moment. Reflect on how you felt before and after the meditation and acknowledge the experience with a few deep breaths.

a classroom full of college students looks ahead to the front of the class, thinking about how to navigate the new school year with stress and anxiety

2. Aromatherapy for Stress Reduction

Aromatherapy involves using essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress. By grounding us in our senses, aromatherapy can bring us back to the present moment as we focus on the pleasant smell rather than anxious or stressful thoughts. Consider introducing your loved ones to essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus. Aromatherapy can help alleviate stress, improve moods, and create a soothing atmosphere.

If you’d like to try aromatherapy, there are a few different ways to do so. Essential oils can be diffused in their study or living spaces or added to a relaxing bath. They can be applied topically on pulse points like the wrists, temples, or the back of the neck throughout the day when you feel particularly stressed, anxious, or down. If you’re interested in aromatherapy, here are some beginner-friendly oils you might want to try:

  • Lavender: Known for its calming and relaxing properties.
  • Chamomile: Helps soothe nerves and reduce anxiety.
  • Frankincense: Promotes deep relaxation and emotional balance.
  • Bergamot: Uplifting and can help with stress and anxiety.
  • Ylang-Ylang: Has a calming and euphoric effect.

3. Yoga and Gentle Exercise for Physical Well-Being

Physical well-being is an essential component of holistic support. Encourage your loved ones to engage in activities like yoga, Pilates, or other gentle exercises. These practices not only promote physical health, but also enhance mental clarity and emotional balance. Plus, they can be a fun way to stay active and relieve tension.

Yoga emphasizes mindfulness and relaxation, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. The practice of mindfulness during yoga can calm the mind, lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and promote a sense of peace. Pranayama (breathing exercises) in yoga can improve lung capacity and oxygenate the body, promoting overall vitality and mental clarity. Improved posture, flexibility, and increased muscle strength are also benefits of a regular yoga practice.

Pilates focuses on core strength and stability, which contributes to healthy posture and balance. Exercises target both large and small muscle groups, helping to create balanced muscle development throughout the body. This can prevent muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injuries. Like yoga, Pilates promotes mindfulness and relaxation through focused movement and controlled breathing. It can help reduce stress and promote mental clarity.

two children sit under a tree surrounded by fallen leaves thinking about the new school year

4. Visualization and Affirmations for Positive Mindset

Visualization and positive affirmations are powerful techniques for nurturing a positive mindset. Teach your loved ones to visualize their goals and aspirations for the school year. Throughout the day, encourage them to repeat supportive phrases to themselves like “I am capable,” “I am confident,” and “I embrace challenges as opportunities.” At first, it may feel strange to think or say these phrases out loud, but with practice it will feel more natural and empowering. Our therapists find that these practices can boost self-esteem and motivation.

5. Herbal Teas and Nutrition for Holistic Health

Nutrition plays a significant role in overall well-being. Consider incorporating herbal teas into your loved ones’ daily routines. Herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint can promote relaxation and improve digestion. Additionally, focus on providing balanced, nutritious meals that support their physical health and cognitive function.

Supporting your loved ones as they transition into a new school year using holistic therapy techniques can empower them to thrive academically and emotionally. By incorporating mindfulness meditation, aromatherapy, gentle exercise, visualization, affirmations, and nutritious herbal teas into their daily routines, you create a holistic support system that addresses their emotional, mental, and physical needs. As they navigate the new school year’s exciting yet sometimes challenging journey, these techniques will serve as valuable tools for maintaining balance, reducing stress, and fostering a positive mindset. Together, you can embrace this new academic adventure with confidence and well-being.

If you would like to discuss these techniques more deeply, working with a holistic therapist on our team at Awakened Path would be happy to be a resource for you. The therapists at Awakened Path in New Jersey have extensive expertise in assisting individuals, teens, and families as they begin their journey to living truly. 

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