Mental Health + Back to School – 2020 Remix

I try to write a blog each Summer as children and parents get back into their routine of work, school, sports and all the other routines of a new school year.

As we all know, 2020 is like the ultimate remix. If any routine could be thrown out the window, this is the year it is happening. As we round out the summer, parents are frantically trying to figure out what this school year is going to look like. Will their kids go to school part-time? Will they stay home and attend online education courses? What type of daycare provider will they need to hire, what spaces are open for their kids to attend? Will they as a parent, ever get to work a full week without getting called to pick up their child because Johnny had a runny nose and now needs to be out of school for 72 hours? These are questions I’ve heard parents anxiously discuss for the past month. The most challenging part is all of the unknowns.

When there are so many unknowns in the outside world, it is easy to become lost, confused, depressed and anxious. Turning inward can be a pivotal step in reclaiming our power during this uncertain time. What does “turning inward” mean? It means getting still and silent and allowing ourselves to listen to our body and mind. We are taught from a young age to dismiss our intuitive abilities, to dismiss that gut feeling we get that can help guide us through the murkiest waters. We are taught that we have to rely on outside sources (parents, media, advertising, scholars, etc.) to help us find answers.

Truth is, nobody really knows the answers


Our experiences shape the way we see the world. We could all be looking at the same scenario and come to a different conclusion based on all the different experiences we have had throughout our lifetime. This is why it is so important to listen to our intuition and go internal during times of uncertainty. When nobody truly knows the answer, we have to do what is best for our body (or if you are a parent – your child’s body), based on our gut instincts.

The best way to tap into this internal knowing is to meditate or sit in silence. There are great (free) apps available that people can listen to such as Headspace or Calm. When I first started meditating, I used Headspace app 10 minutes a day for 30 days. In 2017 I started working with a spiritual mentor and dove deeper into this practice. I started meditating for 30 minutes a day and was doing mantra meditation (using specific words to evoke tranquility, peace, and healing). I noticed my body changing during this time. Prior to this I was more reactive to situations and through my meditation journey, I was able to listen to my intuition, become proactive, and really bring a calming presence to myself that I wasn’t able to prior.

I continue to grow my practice every day and I am gentle on myself as I realize I am not perfect! There are days that I just don’t feel the energy to practice and I listen to my body. But I have also realized that the days that I don’t want to meditate or listen to my body, are the days I need to the most. 

I hope going into this school year, you can find that inner peace and know deeply that everything is perfect and everything will sort itself out. It might look like a 1,000-piece puzzle that the dog chewed on, but the puzzle will come together beautifully.

Thinking of anyone struggling at this time. Sending love to all the parents, educators and staff that are working towards making the 2020 educational year happen seamlessly.

In (Mental) Health,

Stephanie Grutz, ARNP, FNP-C

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