Don’t Forget to Add Guided Imagery to Your School Supplies

As our fleeting summer vacations come to a close, we are deluged with back-to-school ads, commercials, flyers, coupons and news items. Back-to-school is a major retail sales event, second only to the winter holiday shopping season.  As we rush to prepare ourselves and our children for the upcoming academic year, the frenzy over bargains, what to buy and what to pack often eclipses the psychological side of this preparation.

Whether you are preparing for grad school or helping your child get ready for their first educational experience, the transition can create an emotional upheaval for prospective students and parents. Those heading off to college or entering kindergarten experience a kind of excitement, mixed with a little anxiety and an empty feeling most of us would call home-sickness.

For the little ones, waiting until the afternoon to see their loved ones can seem like an eternity. For college students, it might take months before they can go back home for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays. Not only are they facing new academic challenges, they miss their families, friends, pets and familiar surroundings. Their self-esteem can take a major hit, just when they need it the most.

Parents experience their own emotional roller coasters. When I dropped my daughter off at her college dorm in downtown Chicago, I was amazed at the emotional turmoil I experienced. In addition to worry, fear, second-guessing my decision to let her go there, excitement for the experiences she would have, pride that she made the choice to take this major step into an unfamiliar world and curiosity about the next stage of my own life, the overwhelming feeling was just plain missing her.


As I sat in traffic the next morning, I saw a woman put a small child on a school bus in front of me. She smiled and waved as the bus pulled away. Then she walked around to the side of her house, sat on the stairs, and cried. I wanted to say to her, “I know how you feel, but it will be okay. “ After all, she only had to wait until three o’clock. I had to wait until Thanksgiving.

For students and parents, the emotional toll taken by the sudden changes and separation can range from a mild sense of sadness to depression and panic. Guided imagery offers us a way to soothe those blues, address the worry and emptiness, bolster self-esteem and even avoid procrastination when we are dealing with daunting schedules and keeping lots of balls in the air.

For parents, we recommend soothing, feel-good titles, like Belleruth’s ever-popular Relaxation and Wellness or Joan Borysanko’s Relaxing Through the Seasons, which consists of five, brief relaxation meditations.  College students can benefit from Dr. Traci Stein’s Healthy Self Esteem, and her Self Esteem during Sleep is great for those experiencing problems sleeping in their new environment. We have many titles dedicated to learning and academic performance, including Belleruth’s Self-Confidence and Peak Performance.

The Sleep FairyChildren heading off to kindergarten or first grade are often too excited to sleep. Lisa MalkiewiczThe Sleep Fairy, with its positive affirmations and happy dream suggestions, is just the ticket. For teens and pre-teens, heading back to school after a busy summer, Mellisa Dormoy’s Relaxed & In Control: Guiding my Emotions for Good Self-Control, and her Calm and Clarity: Guided Meditations for ADHD, Hyperactive or Busy Kids can help them transition from summer fun to serious learning. For teens and adults of any educational level, we recommend Dr. Traci Stein’s Guided Self-Hypnosis to Help Free Yourself from Procrastination, to nip that bad habit in the bud and make for a more productive and less stressful school year.

We have so many more guided imagery programs available on our website and in our catalog. No matter what circumstances you are experiencing, we probably have something that can help. As always, we welcome your comments, stories and helpful suggestions.