As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with anxiety, and back-to-school anxiety this time each year. And I know this is not uncommon, since “70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence” (www.camh.ca).
For me, this meant that when it came time for back-to-school, the thought of being in a new classroom, around individuals I hadn’t known, would make the whole experience of preparing to return a bit of a dreadful one.
Let’s face it, no matter what your age, going back to school can feel a bit intimidating. Although I’m some years away from my last back-to-school experience, I haven’t forgotten what had helped me through this process. In hopes of helping some of you out there, today I’m sharing what has helped me get through this anxious time of year.
Here are 10 Tips To Ease Back-To-School Anxiety:
# 1 – Do Your Back-To-School Shopping Early
Shopping for all my back-to-school essentials early has always helped reduce my anxiety. The reason is that the more prepared I felt closer to the start of the school year, the less anxious I would feel.
Make a list of all your back-to-school essentials and have all your shopping done as soon as possible. And don’t skip out on the list! The list will keep you organized and prevent you from forgetting a much-needed item.
I know this sounds like a drag, but the more time you spend worrying about this shopping, the less time you’ll have to appreciate your summertime fun. Much like pulling off a band-aid, get this anxiety-filled shopping out of the way as quickly as possible.
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# 2 – Buy Back-To-School Clothing That is Comfortable
When shopping for back-to-school clothing, opt for comfort over trend. What I’ve learned is when I’m feeling my most comfortable in my clothing, I’m also feeling less anxious throughout my day.
So my tip is this, if you do shop trends, make sure they are c-o-m-f-o-r-t-a-b-l-e.
We have all been there, struggling to find an outfit in the morning. But, keep it simple and be comfortable. The last thing you want to do is add discomfort to your already anxiety-filled day.
Bonus: Buying your back-to-school clothing early also gives you enough time to break in that new pair of shoes, or return the clothing items that are just not fitting or feeling right.
# 3 – Get In The Habit Of Using A Planner
Planning my weeks and months – by listing all my exams, assignment due dates, time-slots for studying or researching, etc., helped reduce my anxiety in a big way. I always felt like I had enough time to prepare for anxious events, and the more organized I felt, the less anxious.
A planner also helps make large, daunting tasks, more bearable. Spending small amounts of time to work on a task each week, is a much less stressful way of completing your work, as opposed to leaving everything for the last minute.
Give yourself your best shot and get to planning!
Read more: 10 Ways To Calm Anxiety At Night
# 4 – Work On Relaxation During Your Summer Break
Relaxation exercises, such as yoga, meditation or a simple breathing exercise, can be super beneficial for the anxious mind.
My tip is to make these practices part of your summertime break routine, don’t just wait until the school year comes around to practice them. Getting into the habit of relaxing your mind will help you better be able to cope when facing a more anxious situation.
And there are countless types of these exercises out there – find the one that suits you best.
# 5 – Stick To A Regular Sleep Schedule During The Summer
I know, this sounds like a completely ridiculous thing to do on your summer break, but hear me out.
Sticking to somewhat of a sleep schedule helps you transition into the start of the school year. I’m not saying you should be going to bed early each night, but maintaining some schedule is helpful.
Try finding some balance of this throughout your summer months – some late nights mixed in with some earlier nights. By doing this, you will find the transition into your school schedule and routine much more manageable. And, manageable often means less anxiety.
# 6 – Connect With Friends Before The Start Of The School Year
Connecting with your school mates/friends throughout your summer break, as opposed to only speaking with them after the school year begins, helps to avoid any anxious feelings you may experience from having to reconnect with such friends after you’ve returned.
Also, sharing this back-to-school experience with your friends can help reduce the fear and anxiety that you’re feeling. It can make the return feel more bearable, and offer comfort in knowing you can turn to someone who is feeling similarly to you.
# 7 – Make The Most Of Your Entire Summer
It is so crucial that you do not spend your entire summer worrying about returning to school. Being mindful, each day, to relax during your summer break will help you not only enjoy your much-needed break but also to be better prepared to take on the start of a new school year.
My tip is to wake up each day during the summer and make it a point to do something you enjoy – explore your city, have a picnic, go for a bike ride, or lounge by a pool.
Starting the school year feeling rested and re-energized, will give you your best chance at tackling any back-to-school anxiety.
# 8 – Keep Your Last Weeks Of Summer Stress-free
Get your back-to-school duties done early and quickly so that your last weeks of summer are f-u-n!
The key is to enjoy your entire summer break, but if that is not possible then at least ensure these last weeks are full of some R & R. This will help give you the strength you need when you’re facing an anxious return.
# 9 – Reach Out To Others For Support Throughout
Sometimes we need to reach out for support. Reaching out to someone you trust can help ease the back-to-school process. And seeking support doesn’t just end during back-to-school preparations, this should continue throughout the entire school year.
A family member, teacher, or school counsellor – reaching out to someone you feel safe with, to confide in, will not only offer you much-needed support, but it’s also an opportunity to learn how to better cope with your anxiety, and to learn about additional resources that may be helpful.
# 10 – Find Balance Throughout The Rest of The School Year
Unfortunately, if you struggle with anxiety, you will know that it doesn’t just vanish throughout the rest of your school year. Wouldn’t it be great to snap your fingers and have that daily stomach-in-knots feeling go away?
Well, I have learned that ensuring you allow self-care throughout your days and weeks, helps ease anxiety throughout the school year.
Don’t just wait for the weekend to watch that movie, or spend time out with friends, make time, each day, to do something, non-school related, that you enjoy.
Consciously spending time focusing on self-care and pleasant aspects of your life, will help maintain better mental health, and improve your coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety.
Going back to school does not have to be an anxiety-filled experience. Using these tips will help give you the strength to better cope with any back-to-school anxiety that may come your way.
I hope that your back-to-school experience is a positive one. And just know, you are strong, and you will pull through. Please be patient with yourself. You absolutely and positively got this.
Thanks so much for stopping by <3
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DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.