• Are you a writer?
  • Add these articles to your site!
  • Articles - Education E-Mail article - Print article - Rate article   

    The Consequences of Extracurricular Anxiety

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    Hello, my name is Sara Richmond Walls and I have anxiety disorder. Now that I am in a point where structure allows me to relax, I often ask myself how I got this way in the first place. My mind goes back to college. As a college senior, I tackled a full course load and two part time jobs in addition to being a member of the leadership team for a campus religious organization and participating in other clubs.

    There was very little time in my day in which my mind was not swimming with all of the tasks I had to accomplish. The truth is, I had bitten off more then I could chew, and this combined with my anxiety disorder, creating an extremely unhealthy situation. Today, parents are placing their kids on this same unhealthy gerbil wheel.

    What Do Our Kids Do After School?

    I feel the need to preface what I am about to say with a brief disclaimer. I do not think that we should let our children lay on the couch watching TV from the time school ends to the time they go to sleep. However, I think there is a fine line between keeping our kids active and running them ragged, and parents are crossing it.

    When your kids come home after school, what do they do? When do they even get home from school? I used to stay after school for tennis practice and often did not get home until 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening. To an adult, that doesn’t seem that late, does it? Consider, however, that I had been up since 6:00 in the morning. Then, we would have dinner, I would do my homework, and I would go to bed. In addition to tennis, I sang in the choir, played on academic teams, participated in debate, and layered it all on top of a school schedule filled with AP classes.

    That was my life. I continued the trend of working, practicing, learning, doing through college and into my married, young adult life. For the first year straight after college, I worked from 8:30 to 5:30, worked through my lunch break on various writing assignments, came home, ate dinner while I wrote, and dragged myself to bed well passed 11:00. I’d get up the next morning and do it all over again.

    History Repeats Itself

    I formed devastating habits of working and placed entirely too much pressure on myself to get it all done perfectly. My to-do list followed me into my sleep, where I worked on the problems of the day in my dreams. My health went down hill. I put on 30 lbs. Finally, I had had enough.

    Don’t let your babies grow up to share the same wows I did. How can you prevent it? Here are a few ideas:

    1. Monitor the sleeping habits of your son or daughter, regardless of age. Ensure that they are getting at least 8 hours of restful sleep.

    2. Set up a mandatory “relaxation time” before bed. Let your teen watch TV, write, practice yoga, play the piano, walk on the treadmill, what ever it is that allows them to get out their tension.

    3. Know the signs of burn-out, such as loss of interest in the extracurricular activities that they once loved.

    4. Encourage brainstorming. Have them write down all the things that they need to do and how they can tackle each thing one at a time. This will help keep the “To-Dos” from overwhelming the brain during sleep.

    5. Don’t let them forget the fun of what they are doing. Yes, extracurricular activities help get your young students into college, teach them lessons in responsibility and keep their bodies and minds fit. But they are also in the activities for the shear joy of activity itself.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

    © FamilyLobby.com - E-Mail this article - Print this article

      del.icio.us    StumbleUponStumbleUpon      

    Post a comment

    Post Comment

    FamilyLobby.com Articles is your source for family-related articles. Talk about this article in the FamilyLobby Community.

    Create a free family website at FamilyLobby.com