How to Manage Back to School Stress
Written by: Amanda Levison,M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT
As the school year approaches and summer comes to an end, students, parents, and teachers might find themselves more stressed out. For many, this year will be back to school in-person and full-time. On top of dealing with normal school stress, students
Get plenty of sleep, healthy food, and exercise. These things are important for stress management and performing at one’s best both mentally and physically.
Make time for fun activities. Making time to do fun things like hobbies or sports is important for mental health self-care. If a student needs help finding a hobby, begin by collaborating on a list of their favorite things, and encourage them to try something new.
Utilize a planner for time management. This is important for students, parents, and teachers to manage schedules, prioritize events, and keep track of assignments. Keeping everything organized reduces the chance of missing an assignment or event, which reduces stress.
Practice speaking positive affirmations. Positively talking to oneself will have a positive effect on mental health and self-view. Speak positive affirmations out loud and teach children to do the same.
Review safety precautions like hand washing, social distancing, and mask-wearing. Since most schools will be going back to normal, most will not require masks. Have a conversation with students about wearing a mask and social distancing if that makes them more comfortable, review proper handwashing techniques, and provide them with their hand sanitizer.
Slowly get involved with others to prepare for school. As students, parents, or teachers have not been around many people during the pandemic, practice going around more people by getting involved in the community or going to clubs. This will help ease them back into school and help everyone brush up on their social skills.
Encourage and help them practice mindfulness. If feeling anxious or stressed, another great tool is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is based on slowing down the body and becoming focused and present at the moment. Practice a breathing exercise while doing this, inhale for 6 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, and exhale slowly for 8 seconds.
Help get into a routine. Getting into a routine will keep the day predictable for those who get anxious or stressed easily when they do not know what will happen. However, it is important to be prepared and flexible when the schedule changes.
Make yourself available to talk and check-in. As a teacher or parent, make yourself available to talk to and check in with students and each other to ensure everyone is doing okay.
Talk to a therapist or school counselor. If you know yourself or your student will need more help with their stress and anxiety than can be dealt with at home, talk to a therapist or school counselor to get the student into therapy before the school year.
School is a tough time for many people. But, there are many ways to reduce this stress and help others reduce their stress. By using resources and techniques, this school year can feel like the most normal and stress-free school year in a long time. How are you reducing stress this year?