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Back to School Anxiety

Summer is just about over. You are having a hard time facing the reality that school is just around the corner. For some people it’s an easy transition...​for others, not so much. Alarm clocks, schedules, being indoors all day, school lunches, paying attention in class—are all things that are hard to adjust to. Sometimes the dread runs deeper though. A new school, new classes, social status, tryouts, what (not) to wear, and pressure for good grades can add another ​​layer of ​anxiety for a lot of people. How ​can you get a jump start to prepare for the changes that are coming when school begins?

A week or two before school starts:

  • Try to get back on a normal eating and sleeping schedule.
  • Get some fun school supplies—you might be surprised how a few new things can get you motivated to start school.
  • For new students, see if you can tour the school—find your locker, classrooms, the lunchroom, meet your teacher(s).
  • Consider making plans with a friend or classmate to walk or ride together.
  • Map out and time your route to the bus stop or school so you are sure to be on time.

A couple days prior:

  • Check your schedule; mentally prepare yourself for what your days will look like.
  • Start packing all your supplies to make sure you have what you need.
  • Decide what time you need to get up in the morning so you aren’t rushed.
  • Plan what you are going to wear the first few days.

Know that anxiety about school starting can affect you in different ways. Because you are feeling nervous, it may result in you being irritable and quick to snap at others. You may even feel physical symptoms—headache, stomach ache, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and racing heartbeat. Some people withdraw or avoid others, and some have a difficult time concentrating.

When these feelings start to overwhelm you, take a deep breath and relax. Positive self-talk and reality statements can help you put things into perspective. You aren’t the only one with self-doubts. Others are likely nervous and unsure as well. At some point once things settle down and become routine…you may wonder why you were so nervous!

Remember that everyone experiences change throughout their life. Change isn’t always a bad thing—after all it keeps things interesting and can certainly make your life exciting!



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