Going Back to School
Whether you are 5 years old or 50 years old, going back to school can be both exciting and frightening. School, like work, becomes our first place where we develop a love/hate relationship as we either love school or hate it, love our teachers or hate them, love our classmates or can’t stand them. Some students dread going back to school while others are ready for the summer to be over and want to get back to school, learning, and after school activities. And we all have back to school routines we do to help get ready for going back like getting our supplies, books, schedules, and clothes. But, do these “routines” help ease the stress of going back to school?
Some people focus on shopping for clothes and making sure their fashion game is on point and others focus on the organization at home and making a designated space for studying. And there are still those who leave everything to the two or three days before school starts before doing anything and go crazy looking for everything. Not because this is their “routine” but they don’t have one or can’t set one because life happens. Trying to find enough time in the day for work, school, kids, significant others and yourself can be tricky enough and trying to get into a routine can be difficult as life tends to interrupt our plans. Ask yourself the following: Do I feel ready or do I still feel stressed and unprepared?
Dealing with the stress of going back to school can be overwhelming and bring up a lot of feelings of pressure or having certain expectations of oneself. Parents and teachers alike all have expectations of their students and we of course have expectations of ourselves. This pressure to perform academically to a certain standard can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with for many people. It is important to remember that there are many ways to express these feelings and to relieve the stress and pressure.
What should we do when these routines no longer provide the sense of relief or readiness we want and need during these stressful times in our lives? What about those who have no routine or can’t set one? There are several different things one can do to help alleviate the rush, panic, stress, doubt, and nervousness of heading back to school.
• Plan ahead: Trying to plan ahead can be stressful due to work and home life constantly changing. And it’s easier said than done for every student and parent since much of the information we need (supplies, books, start dates, etc.) are coming from the schools and teachers and it doesn’t always come when we need or want it. For example, trying to set aside a day during the week to accomplish certain tasks is one way to help alleviate the stress.
• Make a game out of it: Not every girl loves back to school clothes shopping, much less many boys. Instead of dragging crabby kids to the mall, try coming up with a game or some kind of little sweet reward at the end to make the time go by faster and hopefully less painful for all involved.
• Talk about it: Whether it is yourself, your friend or your child, talk about any thoughts and feelings you are having about starting school to someone you trust and feel will listen. This could be a friend, spouse, parent or mental health professional. Sometimes hearing our own thoughts out loud can give a sense of relief and put them into perspective.
• Find time to relax: As the days get closer to that start date, remember to take the time to relax and unwind. Taking a hot bath at the end of the night, going for a walk, listening to music or reading a book are a few ways to relax and clear your mind.
Going back to school has become a time of year that many others including students and parents to teachers and administrators to retail workers all start to dread. The amount of time, energy, and money spent just on getting ready for school can be exhausting and that isn’t including trying to find your way around or trying to make new friends. Good news is many others in the country are dealing with similar stress and frustration. Bad news is that only helps so much before our own stress and anxiety comes back to the forefront. Taking action is necessary.
If you or someone you know is suffering from stress, disorganization, depression or anxiety, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health counselors.