Are you ready to take a trip down memory lane?
It’s that time of the year again. No, not time for your annual colonoscopy or pap smear. Although, it may feel like that way for you. I’m talking about BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON. Don’t roll your eyes. Stay with me.
You may be thinking, this doesn’t apply to me, I’m not in school and/or I don’t have kids. Let me just say you don’t have to have kids to have been a kid yourself at one point in your life. This means you might remember very vividly that nervous feeling you felt going to school on that very first day each year.
Get in your time machine. Ready. Set. Go to your first day of school.
Now focus on that internal energy. Focus on that nervous energy. That feeling you got in your belly. Your hands are sweaty. You can’t stop tapping your foot. Your leg is shaking. You feel like a fish out of water.
You're about to endeavor into a social setting where you may not know anyone. You may be judged simply by your appearance. You know very well there will be some social posturing. Personally, as someone who was once nominated to be in the yearbook as the class clown of my grade I knew very well some kids would be other kid's and teacher's favorites. Some would be nominated to be Most Likely to Succeed, Most Likely to Win an Oscar, Most Likely to Win the Olympics etc.
Here you are trying to seem cool on the outside but you are a nervous wreck on the inside.
Now I ask you, how often do you feel that anxiaty now that you are an adult?
Odds are that If you are a person that falls somewhere in the Gender Spectrum you may feel like it’s your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL EVERY SINGLE DAY you wake up! You constantly feel judged for who you are and how you present yourself in public. You witness, firsthand, the incredibly immature social posturing that others exhibit when they see and/or meet you. You sense that they don't see you as an equal. They see you as someone less than. Once you come to this realization you either make yourself small or you plant your feet firmly on the ground and you stand your ground. You SHOW UP in all your glory.
According to Bloomberg in 2013 “An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety of some form at any given time.”
So what can you do to reduce anxiety?
Here are some tips on how to reduce anxiety from anxietycenter.com
Tips on how to get rid of excess anxious energy
- Regular light to moderate exercise
- Regular deep relaxation
- Relaxed breathing
- Going for a walk in the country
- Getting good sleep
- Unplugging from electronics
- Doing things you like
- Delegating responsibilities where appropriate
- Deferring stressful projects to a later date where appropriate
It is no surprise that according to GenderSpectrum.com the beginning of a new school year can raise many issues for parents raising transgender, non-binary, and other gender-expansive kids.
Fortunately if you have a child that falls somewhere on the gender spectrum you can join GenderSpectrum.com for a Back to School Q&A with Joel Baum, their Senior Director of Professional Development and Family Services. Click HERE
My personal quick tips for my non-binary brothers and sisters when dealing with social anxiety are:
- Accept the fact that you may be judged
- Go into any social setting with the belief that we are all in it together
- Try to find similarities in others instead of our differences
- Don't be afraid to say NO and set your boundaries with a smile
- Know deep down inside that this moment too shall pass
Life has a funny way of making us feel a certain way. Sometimes the way we feel masquerades as a unique experience while others are a reminder that they are reoccurring experiences and feelings like the first day of school. The trick is to convince yourself that you have the CONFIDENCE within you to tackle each AND EVERY DAY as if it were a successful first day of school. We learn something new each day. Isn't that the greatest lesson in life?
May you have a GREAT FIRST DAY. Play nice with the other kids.