This back-to-school season is particularly stressful for a lot of parents. We’re all living through a pandemic, grappling with decisions on whether to send the kids to school or keep them at home and the kids are feeling the stress too.
They miss their teachers and friends and are faced with new rules when it comes to masks, distancing, and cleanliness. Asking kids to sit six-feet apart, preventing them from playtime and interacting with each other, and restricting access to the usual common areas of school are certainly causing stress responses in their bodies.
Our bodies function around a 24-hour circadian rhythm that regulates the way our DNA is expressed, the way our body detoxifies, even the basic functioning of our cells and so it is important to help children maintain a proper circadian rhythm so they can better adapt to stress. A properly functioning circadian rhythm helps our kids to better adapt to any environmental stress that may be happening around them.
Whether you’ve decided to homeschool or send your children back to school physically, here are some recommendations to help them adapt to stress and the physical damage it can cause to their growing bodies.
Artificial blue light exposure has increased as our world becomes more technologically advanced. Limiting this increased exposure through the use of blue light blocking glasses will support our mitochondria which produces the energy necessary for the survival and proper functioning of cells in the body. Blue light blocking glasses will also decrease eye fatigue and the headaches this causes.
This is even more important at night as it will help with melatonin production and decreasing cortisol to help children get a better quality of sleep.
Getting children outside in nature at any time of day is beneficial but this is amped up in the morning and evening hours. Try to get them outside barefoot if even for 5-10 minutes in the early morning and during the sunset hours.
Putting your bare feet directly on the ground helps to reset your circadian rhythm and biology and even helps to support your hypothalamus. Ask them to do a few stretches or play with them in the grass and don’t worry about getting their feet dirty. You’re exposing them to good microbes, microorganisms, and good bacteria which helps to strengthen the immune system especially in a world where we are destroying our good skin and gut microbiomes with an overly sanitized environment.
This can be a hard one and we’re not going for perfection here but making mealtime consistent and allowing kids to eat the majority of their calories early in the day is very beneficial to managing environmental stress. Eating lots of good healthy fat and protein for the first meal of the day such as pasture-raised eggs, goats milk yogurt or kefir, coconut milk, and avocado smoothies with collagen protein is recommended.
Try to have dinner early in the evening to naturally encourage intermittent fasting. This promotes deeper sleep, better production of melatonin, and supports the liver’s detoxification function.
Snacking late at night throws off your circadian rhythm and disrupts the liver’s detoxification process. It is best to eat most of your calories as early as possible, naturally lightening your meals as you get into the evening hours to help your body eliminate waste and toxins and give it the ability to rest and rejuvenate while fasting.
The HPA axis is our central stress response system.
NAD is a coenzyme that supports mitochondrial function, helps with gene expression, DNA repair, and oxidative stress reduction.
One of the things that age us the quickest and leads to disease and damage is a deficiency in NAD and supplementation helps to prevent this.
NAD+ Gold by Quicksilver Scientific is a good choice for this. It is placed under the tongue for 30 seconds and is a good option for kids as well as adults.
Magnesium is another mineral that supports HPA/T axis function. We like Natural Calm by Natural Vitality (which comes in several flavors, such as lemon and orange!) or you can use a magnesium glycinate or malate. Our bodies use magnesium on a cellular level constantly so the majority of our population is actually deficient of this important mineral.
Adaptogens also help to support our HPA/T axis. Some gentle ones that are great for kids include passionflower, lemon balm, and holy basil that can be consumed in a tea.
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This is a powerful way to reset the circadian rhythm and help the body to fight off stress. If your kids use an alarm to wake, get one that does so with light rather than sound. This is more natural to your circadian biology.
This may take some training and is not the easiest thing to do but have a go at it and do the best that you can to support your kids as they learn to deal with new environmental stress.
Finally, chiropractic care can help your children in a number of ways to adapt to stress. Chiropractic care helps to prevent disruption to the nervous system. The nervous system, along with your brain and spinal cord, controls how well you adapt to stress. This can be disrupted by children who are constantly looking down at devices. Their heads shift down and this puts tension on the spinal cord. This has been shown to disrupt the function of the hypothalamus.
Chiropractic care is preventative in catching damage before it happens. Seek out a family physician or chiropractor in your area to help support your children as much as possible in our new world.
Are you interested in getting your child under chiropractic care? Drs. Warren adjust children of all ages at their clinic, Chattanooga Family Chiropractic. Schedule a new patient appointment today to learn how chiropractic can support your child's development!