How Teachers and Students Can Prevent Back to School Anxiety
Each year when summer vacation comes to a close, oftentimes students, parents and teachers will begin experiencing back to school anxiety. Though this phenomenon is very common, there is no reason to fear these feelings – a simple combination of coping strategies and mindful decisions can help alleviate stress, and create a seamless, exciting new school year transition for everyone involved.
As a means to properly handle some of the issues individuals can face, it’s important to understand what facilitates back to school anxiety. Lack of open communication, absence of long-term plans, fear of being unprepared, and even a general fear of the unknown can all play a role in new school year anxiety. While the COVID pandemic has certainly intensified these stressors, back to school anxiety happens to individuals every year, and it’s simply a matter of seeking the proper guidance necessary to alleviate the worry.
Teacher anxiety is nothing new for those who work in education, as the job itself can be incredibly stressful for anyone. But to battle the many anxiety-inducing worries that happen before the year begins, here are some strategies to help teachers feel more relaxed and confident.
- Planning Ahead
A feeling of unpreparedness can certainly cause anxiety, so it’s important to handle the certain tasks and requirements of the school year ahead of time. Having plans far ahead of time can alleviate stress, and counter feelings of unmotivation. Whether it’s for a semester, a marking period, or an entire year, knowing what to prepare before crunch time can promote mindful strategies going forward, and can seriously reduce beginning of the year anxiety.
- Communicate With Fellow Teachers
All too often, teachers dealing with anxiety tend to keep it to themselves, to prevent others from criticizing their efforts. However, seeking companionship and inspiration from others can spark motivation and can help relieve symptoms of stress in a big way. In many cases, other professionals might be feeling the same way, and communicating these mindsets can provide relief and motivation going forward.
- Establish Routines
Whether it’s getting proper sleep, setting time to specific tasks, or choosing frequent
times to step away from work, adding these steps into your routine can help alleviate stress and anxiety. The brain functions better when structured, and by creating mindful routines, teachers can be more confident and ready to handle their tasks. Even shutting off phones or computers related to work at certain times to give yourself a mental break can provide extra focus when actually handling these things.
- Prioritize Mental Health
Feeling anxious or nervous about the school year is in no way a bad thing. It’s natural to feel stressed during this transition, and it’s especially important to be open to prioritizing mental health as a means to feel better about the situation. Talk to those who support you and establish healthy connections, whether it’s a loved one or even a therapist, to speak openly about feelings of stress. Anxiety is much harder to overcome alone, and seeking help is a sure way to feel better about it.
The beginning of a school year can be a huge proponent in parent or student anxiety. Children may be worried about making friends, reaching expectations, or feeling accomplished after a long day. But, as with teachers, similar strategies exist to explain how to deal with back to school anxiety.
- For younger children, parents should initiate and maintain an open dialogue concerning back to school or beginning-of-the-school-year anxiety. Talking about what to expect and ways to properly integrate themselves in the student body can help ease pressure associated with schoolwork and social pressures.
- For high school and college students, communication can still go a long way in properly handling stress. Though topics will usually change by this point, have open talks with yourself, parents, friends or teachers, and consider speaking to a school counselor to cope with feelings of anxiety, or stress.
- For parents, routines are among the best ways to promote mindful decisions and a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your children about establishing routines to balance schoolwork and social or extracurricular activities, and help them understand that a structured approach to school is a sturdy one.
Synergy Mental Health Services
Beginning of the school year anxiety never has to be dealt with alone. Synergy Health Programs is among the leaders in comprehensive mental health services. We offer clinical therapy and counseling services to help our patients with a variety of issues, including stress and anxiety. Feel free to learn about our programs, or contact us to find what service works best for you.