Holistic Wellness in Austin, TX

Sending Your Daughter or Son Off to College: Some Healthy Advice For You And For Them

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Holistic health is my second career; as some of you may know, I was a professor and spent a good two decades of my life in academia before coming to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  I’ve taught at a range of schools, from outstanding small liberal arts colleges to large research institutions.  As the first day of fall semester at UT Austin looms, I am experiencing a little nostalgia for my teaching career and felt moved to give a some advice to anxious moms and dads.  It’s tough to send your student off to school, isn’t it?  But there are ways to take care of your health and your kid’s, too, so that the year starts off on a good note.

~~~Three suggestions~~~

(I).  It’s ok to be anxious and it’s normal.  That said, this is your student’s time to be the shining star and the center of attention.  If you’re worried or even a little sad, you’re normal.  Most parents are emotional at this time.  But focus on your daughter or son and do it in an affirming way.  You can go online and see all the resources for anxious parents that the institution will have available, and there will be lots of them.  You can do some special things with your child to build memories and strengthen your bond.  Helping them to move into the dorm or other such activities are a great way to be present for your newly-minted college student.  But don’t become the center of attention.  Staying way too long on move-in day, making a big deal of things that are part and parcel of going away to school (example: being upset that your daughter’s roommate got there first and took the bed by the window), or calling your child’s professor for any reason?  Not good ideas.

Suggestion: Go with the flow.  Generally, things sort themselves out after the first term.  If you waste your energy being upset about everything you don’t like you will only become exhausted and so will the student.  Just let it go.  If you know that your son or daughter is emotionally immature, make sure that they have a therapist (or send them to me for holistic health support and I’ll give them some Dr. Bruno advice on navigating college in addition to their treatment) or other trustworthy resources.  But it’s good for students to learn how to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and get back on track.  At least they should have the opportunity to try.

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A little of this & some more of that...

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(II).  On the other hand…teenagers aren’t necessarily emotionally mature and they can make some pretty spectacular errors.  There’s a lot that can go on, but some of the things that I saw as a professor related to emotional upheaval, body image, struggles with coursework, and worries about what the student would do for a career or for graduate school.  I could write ten blog posts about this subject, so I guess I’ve got fodder for next year and the years to come…but anyway.

Suggestion: When it comes to emotional upheaval, you know your son or daughter.  If there’s a history of emotional fragility or mental illness, as noted above, do make sure you have a therapist already in mind.  For body image, yes, it is true that the Freshman 15 and social pressure can cause your student some undue angst.  But if you know that this might be an issue, then maybe see what kind of nutrition counseling is available, or get a mature personal trainer to work with him or her.  Not some beefcake from the student gym, but an actual adult who can talk to you and reassure you and keep you in the loop while teaching your child some good healthy life lessons.  Be proactive but not overbearing.

If it’s academic?  Well.  That’s an essay unto itself.  I’d take a long look at your child’s schedule and have a good conversation with him or her about plans before you say goodbye on move-in day.  With some classes, you cannot lose the thread early and catch up later (language classes, especially).  The student needs to be on it and steady from the beginning because they’re cumulative.  If the student has weak areas, it will only get harder as time goes by.  Other classes have some leeway.  It’s important to talk to your son or daughter about strategizing…and then let them deal with it themselves.  There are a lot of resources for students on campus and if the student wants to improve and has the confidence to reach out and ask for help, then things will be fine.  Talk to your son or daughter about academic resources and then let them spread their wings and fly.

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Holistic health

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(III).  Most professors are in the business because they care about students.  Yes, it is crucial to publish and yes, some professors have no personality and don’t necessarily love teaching.  But there will be at least one or two–at the very least–who genuinely love teaching and who will notice and care if your son or daughter is struggling.  I used to watch my students while they wrote their exams and picture them as toddlers.  I’d think about how they were once small children and how their parents must have loved them so when they were little and cute and now here they were, young adults, writing tests in my classroom.  “These are someone’s babies,” I’d think, and: “What a gift is is to have them here today.”  There will be more than a few professors who look at your daughter or son and recognize that this young adult is more than just a student in a class.

Suggestion: Take care of yourself, too, and honor this transition.  This is a big deal, for your son or daughter and for you.  You put all the time and love and care into raising this young adult and now they are going on to a new stage of life.  That’s huge!  Be present for yourself and your feelings.  Know that it’s okay to be worried or even a bit sad, but also take note of your joy and pride and hopes for your child.  The first day of freshman year is so exciting and the four years that follow should be wonderful, too.  Celebrate your independence and do something nice for yourself.  Trust in the process.  Things are going to work out just fine, for your child and for you.

Find something to do, though, to honor this change.  Take good care of yourself.  Maybe try something new.  Are you ready to make some transitions of your own?

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BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

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Two Hearts Wellness is a local holistic health and wellness outfit with a passion for all things nourishing, including but not limited to: joyful living, great food, art, and literature, and–of course–traditional Chinese medicine.  If you want to learn more about me, click here and do feel free to follow my blog and/or my Instagram, connect with me on Facebook, or contact me here to set up an appointment for health coaching services.  If you are interested in acupuncture, herbs, and/or Asian bodywork therapy, click here to book an appointment online.

Acupuncture is great for you but if you’re nervous about needles there are certainly other options.  Have you ever thought to try traditional Chinese bodywork? In addition to acupuncture, I offer tui na (similar to massage) and other ancient Chinese therapies, including cupping, gua sha, moxa, and more.  If you are looking for a holistic wellness consultant and coach, my services can entail short or longer term programs.  You are your own best investment, and when you take charge of your wellbeing you invest in yourself now and for the benefit of your future.

Note: Material on this web site is not intended to replace your treatment or care provided by an MD. It is for educational/entertainment purposes only. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness.  Always consult your primary care doctor for health concerns.

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