By Niku Sedarat
Returning to school is a mix of excitement and anxiety for many students, especially after a long summer break. Transitioning back into the school routine can be challenging, but it's essential to acknowledge your feelings and remember that you're not alone in experiencing them. Whether you're switching schools or moving up a grade, there are a variety of mental health strategies to make these transition feel smoother.
The first step in addressing anxiety about the back-to-school transitions is recognizing it. Feeling nervous about the uncertainties of the upcoming year is entirely normal. Instead of suppressing these feelings, allow yourself to embrace them. Lean on your support system, be it friends, family, or a counselor; discuss your emotions openly or simply use their company as a way to combat loneliness. Know that many people have experience feeling the same emotions that you are in the face of the back-to-school transition, so by leaning on your support system, you can rest assured that you are not alone and even learn new ways to cope with your feelings.
In the midst of all the uncertainties, establishing a sense of stability in your daily life can also be incredibly beneficial. This might involve maintaining a consistent sleep schedule or sticking to a regular exercise routine. This small and reliable amount of stability can provide reassurance that despite being in this transitionary phase, you still have some form of certainty to count on.
Learning effective coping techniques can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms. Practices like deep breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness can work wonders in reducing stress. However, relaxation isn't confined to these activities alone. Engaging in regular self-care, such as socializing with friends, reading, or enjoying your favorite TV shows, can also help alleviate stress. Consistency in self-care is key to unwinding and preventing anxiety from building up.
One common source of anxiety during the school transition is the fear of upcoming projects and tasks. These responsibilities may seem overwhelming at first, but breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps can make them feel less daunting. Creating schedules that help you ensure that you remain on track and move step by step can allow you to complete schoolwork with further ease and prevent becoming overwhelmed.
Always remember that there is support available. Reach out to trusted adults, teachers, school counselors, mental health professionals, or crisis hotlines whenever you need help. If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, consider connecting with a mental health professional or getting in touch with a local helpline via call or text for more personalized support.
If you require additional resources, please visit Unité's website for a comprehensive list of culturally and socially sensitive resources. Keep in mind that you're not alone in this journey, and there are ways to make these transitions smoother. You've got this!