In a previous article, I explored the extreme stressors children and adults are facing this school year. Due to world events, the economy, and changing technology, parents, teachers, and kids are up against so much more than the usual back-to-school jitters and academic pressures.

Next, I explained that these chronic, excessive pressures have negative emotional, mental, and physical health ramifications. Unfortunately, because children’s brains are still developing, they are at an even higher risk of experiencing these detrimental impacts than most adults.

This is why I believe that offering additional supportive mind-body approaches, along with conventional psychiatric care, is crucial to intercept the mental health crisis we are facing. This includes taking steps to tame our racing thoughts and educate ourselves on how to best support our brains.

Since I already provided a glimpse into my naturopathic medicine toolkit for balancing the mind-body in the preceding post, I will now build upon “An Integrative Resource Guide to Beating the Back-to-School Stressors and Anxious Jitters of 2022.”

Topics include:

  • Coping with mental health on top of school stressors
  • The Mental Health America Toolkit
  • Resources for dealing with the typical back-to-school issues, including:
    • integrative mental health
    • naturopathic and integrative tips for stress relief
    • cognitive and brain health support
    • mind-body medicine to ease stress
    • essential oils to help balance emotions, mental health, and revive the body

There is a lot of information to take in, so it may be best to bookmark this page and come back to it as needed.

Let’s get started.

Coping with a Mental Health Diagnosis on Top of School Stressors

A mental health diagnosis carries additional considerations with finding the best ways to cope with back-to-school stress. Transitions can be especially trying for youth and parents whose brain health doesn’t allow them the capability to easily shift from one event or task to the next with fluidity. Therefore, adding the stress of back to school can trigger more symptoms due to the additional strain on a child’s and parent’s cognitive reserve.

There is a huge distinction between feeling overburdened and overwhelmed and having an anxious mind. Typical strategies for handling stress and improving focus may not be helpful for those with a psychiatric disorder.

This is because the brains of those with developmental, learning, and mental health diagnoses function differently than those without these labels. Specifically, the neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine signaling, anatomical and neuroimaging findings, and genetics vary in those with mental health diagnoses.

For example, if children with a certain brain type of ADHD are put under pressure to complete an assignment, they often fare worse. When they are told to “focus harder,” their brains can get even more stuck and frustrated. Rather, they should be encouraged to be in a relaxed and calm state.

This is why we must address mental health and get the proper support as we simultaneously deal with the additional back to school stress.

Integrative Mental Health Care for Better Treatment Success

Viewing anxiety, depression, or other psychiatric disorders as a personality or behavioral problem vs. a brain health issue has had devastating consequences to both the individual and society.

I wrote several posts on anxiety and explored the various brain health factors that naturopathic doctors and integrative health providers can support. Hormonal balance, digestion, nutrient availability, underlying infections, socioeconomics, lifestyle, neurochemistry, inflammation, and other aspects should all be considered for all brain types due to how they impact cognitive health and learning. All these areas can best be addressed in conjunction with one receiving behavioral or traditional psychiatric treatment.

One example for why combining integrative with conventional mental health care is preferable is the issue of proper brain fuel. Having optimal blood sugar balance has been shown to alleviate anxious symptoms as well as to support ideal brain functioning. No matter how much one tries to modify behavior or talks about stressors, if the brain is starving for glucose, one will continue to feel jittery until they are adequately nourished. On the flip side, even with blood sugar balanced, if one is not armed with adequate behavioral skills to navigate the demands of life, anxiety will not be alleviated.


The Mental Health America Toolkit

With current events overburdening one’s ability to handle things, various other triggers can pop up that can precipitate and aggravate mental and brain health disorders. Awareness is key, followed by proactive measures.

One resource I found and want to share is Mental Health America’s back to school toolkit. It provides downloadable resources and virtual events to help parents and kids emotionally cope better with the increased pressures of being a youth today.

The fact sheets and worksheet include:

  • Adult Fact Sheet – Social Belonging and Confidence (PDF)
  • Adult Fact Sheet – When Young People Lose Someone (PDF)
  • Adult Fact Sheet – When Home Life is Hard (PDF)
  • Adult Fact Sheet – Social Media and Youth Mental Health (PDF)
  • Youth Fact Sheet – Fitting in and Self-Esteem (PDF)
  • Youth Fact Sheet – Losing Someone You Care About (PDF)
  • Youth Fact Sheet – Tips for Processing Grief (PDF)
  • Youth Fact Sheet – When Home Life is Hard (PDF)
  • Youth Fact Sheet – Social Media and Mental Health (PDF)
  • Worksheet – Social Confidence and Connections (PDF)

Link to access.

Resources for Dealing with Typical Back to School Stressors and Learning Issues

After addressing brain health factors and being preemptive about the trials that our youth are facing, dealing with the typical stressors of the world and school still needs to be managed.

Below is my compilation of mind-body resources that I’ve shared throughout the years from my own clinical experience, colleagues, and other experts.

They are divided into five categories:

  • integrative mental health
  • naturopathic and integrative tips for stress relief
  • cognitive and brain health support
  • mind-body medicine to ease tension
  • essential oils to help balance emotions, mental health, and revive the body


1. Integrative Mental Health Support

  • Weeding out false anxiety. This post offers how to determine if anxious symptoms are the result of physical needs of the brain and body versus a mental health disorder.
  • Understanding the brain types in children with ADHD.
  • The benefits of combining psychological support, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), with integrative mental health. The later addresses the physical brain and the mind-body connection.
  • Foods that nourish the brain and my top two supplements for mood.
  • Nutritional supplements and nutrients for mental health.
  • Video: Essential oils for brain and mental health and for soothing stress.
  • Video: A review on essential oils for optimizing brain function, memory, cognition, and mood.
  • The top five single oils for anxiety and stress.


2. Naturopathic and Integrative Stress Relief

  • My naturopathic toolkit for calming an overwhelmed brain.
  • The importance of fun, music, and play for emotional health.
  • 10 natural ways to relieve stress and calm the mind-body during trying times.
  • Video: Essential oils to ease the stress and anxiety of back to school.
  • Tapping App from the Tapping Solution. This app has specific tapping sequences for sleep support, creating a great day for kids, and coping with stress about children.


3. Cognitive and Brain Health Support

  • 8 things to consider if you can’t focus.
  • 6 herbs that help with focus and energy.
  • My top 5 essential oils to help with fatigue, focus, concentration, and memory.


4. Mind-Body Medicine and Stress

  • Using meditation and mindfulness practices to change our mind-body.
  • The gene-altering benefits of mind-body stress relief.
  • Using laughter and relaxation to benefit the mind-body.

5. Additional Resources for Soothing Back to School Strain with Essential Oils

  • Essential Oils for Memory and Cognition: This is a link to a 10-minute video on specific essential oils to enhance mental health, including bergamot, rosemary, orange, and jasmine.
  • Essential Oils and Brain Effects (i.e. their effect on neurotransmitters, brain functioning, and biochemistry): In vitro and animal studies have shown various mechanisms on how essential oils impact brain signaling. Below are several examples.
    • Sage – modulates dopamine (the reward-motivation neurotransmitter)
    • Lavender – effects serotonin (equated with mood and calming)
    • Lemon – suppresses dopamine and accentuates serotonin
    • Bergamot – enhances synaptic connection of neurons for better brain communication
    • Bitter orange – impacts serotonin
  • Soothing Back to School Tensions: This post covers how to incorporate essential oils into the household for a relaxing environment. I discuss the comforting aroma of copaiba oil, a purifying blend for the environment, a head tension relief blend, Four Thieves Blend, kunzea oil, and rosalina oil.
  • How Essential Oils Shift Emotions and a Blend for Gratitude: Learn how the science of “emotions in a bottle” are legit and why we should use them.
  • How Essential oils Impact Brain, Emotional, and Mental Health: This post summarizes the mechanisms of essential oils on neurological and psychological health.
  • Essential Oils on the Emotional Brain: In part one of this article series, I review the impact of smell on emotions and physiological factors. I then discuss how essential oils can impact our mood through biochemical, biological, and psychological mechanisms. In part two, I summarize the use of essential oils for mood disorders and how they affect cognition and memory.

Posts on Specific Blends for Mind-Body Soothing

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Summary on Resources for Integrative Mental Health Support & Stress

We are up against an enormous number of stressors and challenges today. Children and parents have many more pressing concerns than in the past due to current world events, the economy, and the role of technology.

In this article, I provided you with a toolkit and information on coping with back-to-school stress with a mental illness.

I also gave you resources for your “Integrative Resource Guide to Beating the Back-to-School Stressors and Anxious Jitters of 2022.” These included the categories of:

(1) integrative mental health

(2) naturopathic and integrative stress relief tips

(3) cognitive and brain health support

(4) mind-body medicine for easing tension

(5) essential oils to help balance emotions, mental health, and nourish the body.

I hope that you find these tools useful and will revisit them as needed.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this topic below.

As mentioned, we all can gain from supporting each other.


Free resources and more education on essential oils and mind-body wellness are available to you here.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek professional help: National Mental Health Hotline

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Many blessings.


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Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)

This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.

Thanks Pixabay and Canva.