99: Anxiety Around My Child Going Back To School

99: Anxiety Around My Child Going Back To School

Hello, my ah-mazing empty nest friend, 

I know it is June, but with colleges beginning to announce their 2020 fall plans, I've heard parent concerns in all areas:

  • I hope they aren't online only!
  • I'm worried about them going back!
  • I'm concerned about it all!

Let's chat a bit about that today, and try an activity. 


Activity worksheet sample: available to print in the GPS Support Flock.

Coach Christine,

Your Empty Nest Coach

"You have the choice to resist a situation or to process through feelings and move on. BUT, until you know what is ahead, enjoy where you are now."

Take a listen or read the full transcript at the bottom of this post.

⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll down ⇓, so you don't miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓

Have anxiety about the fall semester for your child? Coach Christine has an activity for you! 💚 #listeningto #midlifemom #emptynestmom #emptynest #MomHelp #MomPodcaster #CollegeParent

Click to Tweet

This Episode is Brought To You By

What You Will Learn in this Episode 

  • A New Activity To Try And To Consider For Your CEO Toolbox
  • To Use Presence As A Reset
  • To Work On Processing Through Your Emotions

Quick Tip Submissions

Episode Questions for You To Consider

  1. Are you able to make fall plans for your family members as of yet?
  2. How are your thoughts about fall plans that may exist?

Episode Resources

Send audio feedback to Coach Christine now: voicemail/text to 1-920-LIFEWIN (1-920-543-3946). 📞

Legal disclaimer: Listening to this podcast doesn't make Christine your official coach, and this podcast is not meant to replace your doctor or therapist. Curious? Click here for the deets!

First time here? Try these episodes & resources:

For those who are freaking out about the empty nest years. It is time to make the rest of your life the best of your life!

Subscribe To This Podcast

It is FREE!

Want to get notified of new episodes directly on your phone? Subscribe to this podcast using your favorite app!


Episode 99 of the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast


Christine:  You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 99: Anxiety Around My Child Going Back to School. I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest.  My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time?  Is this you?  I’ve been there, and I get it.  Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion.  I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you.  This podcast is my gift to you.


Hello, my empty nest friend and CEO of Your Life! I hope that you are able to gift yourself with time to work on finding your future self, work on clearing up your thoughts in your days, process through emotions and do the work to uncover your future self. You are so worth it. A quick reminder, that if you find yourself talking back to me at any part of this episode;  if something resonates with you; or if you have a quick tip to share with my audience, please take the opportunity to leave me audio feedback either through SpeakPipe or my Google Voice number. You’ll find the information to do this in the description of this episode: on Apple Podcasts click “Details”; on Spotify click “See More”; on Overcast press the I for information button. Get the idea? Of course I always have full show notes with links to anything I discuss in the episode, and a full episode transcription on my website. Those reside at YourEmptyNestCoach.com/P (for podcast) and 99 (for this episode’s number). (YourEmptyNestCoach.com/P99) I can’t wait to hear from you!


Thanks!  Thank you!  It’s time to thank our sponsor.  This episode is sponsored by my membership community, The GPS Support Flock; Your Flight to Success in the Empty Nest.  If you are ready to find the GPS of your life, sign up to receive an immediate and free download of my PDF, "How to Find Yourself in the Empty Nest," our GPS Life Principles document.  You will also have the opportunity to learn about our community.  See the link in this episode's show notes or fly on over to my website, YourEmptyNestCoach.com.  Click the GPS Support Flock button.  See you soon!   


As I record this, it’s mid-June 2020, some of our children know what their school has planned for them in the fall, some of our children do not. Some schools will be in session, in-person. Some schools will not: elementary, high school, or college. The anxiety around what could happen is real and if left unchecked, could add more stress to you and your household than you already have. In this episode, we are going to assume that your thought deliveries are out of control when you think about your child going back to school.


A couple of things to keep in mind is to please remember that no matter what is announced right now, more than likely your child’s school is still working out thousands of details to make it all happen, whatever the plan is. So if you only get an email with some dates, and a line that says “more details coming soon,” understand that in most cases, the details aren’t known yet, but you’ll know eventually. Also remember that even though it was announced (if it was), things can change. 2020 is the year of pivot, after all, isn’t it? so don’t be surprised if things change yet again.


Now for you, my friend, this is a perfect opportunity to work on training your Protector, on using tools in your CEO toolbox and to work on presence. I cover these in two series on my podcast and you’ll find the links to both in my show notes.  I could just leave it there and end the episode but, how about I give you a new activity to do, that if it works for you, you can add to your toolbox? I want you to discover your main thoughts about your child returning to school and to dig deep on whether or not they are true, and I want you to consciously consider if the thoughts you are having are worth having in this present moment.


GPS Flock Members, I’ll have a PDF for you in our space, if you would like to print it out. If you aren’t a flock member, you may use any piece of paper. At the top of the paper, I want you to write “Back to School.” Then draw two lines to section the paper into quarters. For each quarter I want you to write in the center, at the top of that box, an emotion that you are feeling. Do three of these and in the bottom left corner box I’d like you to write “Peaceful” at the top of that box, no matter what. I’m challenging you here, and I’d like you to write it down even though you may not feel that way.


For each box, I’d like you to then do the part of our CEO Analysis tool where we work through describing how the emotion feels in your body, whether it is positive or negative and give it a number from 1-10, gut reaction there. I’d also like you to consider if this box allows you to move forward in your life at all.  If it does, put a checkmark on it. If you only have one emotion that you’re feeling, that’s totally fine. You’ll have your emotion box then, and the peaceful box in the bottom right. Now, fill in the peaceful box. Pretend for a moment that you are peaceful, and imagine how you would feel if you felt that way. Fill in how your body would feel, whether it’s positive or negative and on a scale from 1-10.


When you’re done. I’d like you to turn the page over and walk away from it. If those emotions come up while you’re away from it, remind yourself that you wrote them down, and can jump into them at any time. But for now, you are going to be present. Go to a place where you can calmly focus on presence. If you’ve never done this before, start with only two minutes. If you’ve done it often, try five or ten. Focus on details of your body, your surroundings. Use all of your senses, or use a sense that you don’t think about normally, maybe it’s something you smell in the air. Look for details that you wouldn’t have noticed had you not gifted yourself with this time. You could look deeply at the wrinkles on your hand, and count them. You could smell the air around you. You could consider your posture and see if you can feel energy within your body. These are just examples. For me, I like to go outside, sit in the grass and look at leaves on trees.


When you feel you’ve had enough time, either go back to the paper that you had started, or if you feel peaceful and want to let it go at that, let it go. There really are no rules here. At some point, you’ll probably head back to that sheet. If you easily find yourself back in one of the emotions that you listed on that sheet, when you think about your child heading back to school, or not heading back to school, whatever the fall looks like for them, then give yourself permission to sit in that emotion. Know you are strong enough to get to the other side of it. Allow yourself the gift of processing through the emotion. While you are in this emotion, see if you can find the primary thought that is causing it for you. Write down the thought if you do. Put it right in that box. Then ask yourself if the thought is true, and is there anything in this moment that you can do about it? 


When you feel you’ve gone through the emotion, and feel you can move on, either gift yourself with more presence, as like a break, or head to the peaceful box on that same page, and write down a thought that you can believe that moves you to more peaceful than you are now. It doesn’t have to be fully peaceful. You’re just taking a baby-step forward.  So write down a thought that you can believe that moves you to more peaceful than you are now.  These baby-steps are powerful. 


Work through this page as you feel led, giving yourself permission to sit in the emotions that you feel, to adjust as you progress, and gift yourself with presence time when you feel confusion about the topic. When you begin to look at the page with clarity on thoughts and can begin to see action items, turn the page over and write the action items down. Any action item should be placed on your calendar with a time to do it, meaning, I’m going to do this on Tuesday, and give myself an hour. Recognizing that that is enough in this moment.


Let’s be real for a moment, none of us knows what the future holds. I think 2020 has proven that. Could your child get the coronavirus and bring it home? Yes, and also no. Both are a possibility. Educating yourself and your child on best practices is about all you can do. Unless your child never leaves the house, the possibility is there, school or no school. Could your child’s school be all online? Sure, it might be, but I know you and your child will be able to handle the change if it comes to that. It may not be what you want, or what they want, or what anyone wants, but life isn’t guaranteed to be what we want. It isn’t guaranteed to be easy, either. Look, life is going to have things that aren’t pleasant. It happens but why live in those moments before they happen?  They might not even happen.


You have the choice to resist a situation or to process through feelings and move on. But until you know what is ahead 100 percent, enjoy where you are now. Enjoy your children being home, if they are, because I’m willing to bet that if they’ve been home for months on end, they aren’t going to rush home anytime soon once they are able to leave.  Prepare the best you can, but also find peace where you can. Allow yourself the gift of feeling your feelings. You are worth it. Keep in mind that your worry over what may happen isn’t helping anyone, especially you. So rather than living in the what-ifs, live in the now with conscious time spent on how to move forward. 


Of course, should you need assistance with navigating your thoughts with this, I am available to the GPS Support Flock Members in multiple ways:  workshops, group support calls, forum questions and more. I have created an online quiz for you to discover if the Support Flock is a good fit for you. If you are curious, fly on over to YourEmptyNestCoach.com/community for the quiz and another community option for my podcast listeners. Or send me a private message on the socials. You’ll find me @emptynestcoach. Message me with the words “Flock membership.” I’ll send you the link to learn more. See you online, friend! [Music] 


The questions I have for you in this episode are: are you able to make fall plans for your family members as of yet? How are your thoughts about fall plans that may exist? [Music]


My Empty Nest friend, we have two quick tips coming to you from a couple of my 2020 Quick Tips Team members: the amazing Susan Stevens and Deirdre Dolan Nesline. You’ll absolutely be able to tell that they both submitted these tips before social distancing. But, here’s the thing, podcasts are out here for a long time, so my hope is that one day they both will make perfect sense again. As I record this, hair salons aren’t allowed to be open. I’m desperately waiting for Susan’s to open so I can get my hair cut. Anyway, thanks for your tips, Susan & Deirdre! [Music] 


Susan:  Susan Stevens, passionate, professional hairstylist, 25 years. My best anti-aging advice, book a consultation at a salon for a new style. Get your hair cut, add some color. Talk to your salon professional about using a dry shampoo and not shampooing every day. Spring is around the corner, and change is truly empowering. [Music]


Deirdre:  Hi, it’s Deirdre from Declutter by Deirdre, and the Magnificent Aging podcast. My tip for this month is donate your gardening equipment and the tools that you’re no longer using to a volunteer chore service or an organization like HomeFront or Habitat for Humanity. Big and small workable tools that will help them restore someone’s home to a clean, safe dwelling are appreciated, and bonus, if you’re lonely or bored, volunteer with some of these organizations and make some caring friends.  Thanks so much for listening. I appreciate you. [Music]


Christine:  Well my empty nest CEO of Your Life friend, if you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to subscribe to this podcast. It is free after all! As always, I provide content to make you think. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. Never forget, my friend, that you are amazing! See ya!


[Bloopers / Still Listening]