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Tips for dealing with back-to-school anxiety

3 min read
30 August 2018

Topics mentioned: problems at school, anxiety, exams

Author: YoungMinds

About: If you're worried or anxious about going back to school, here are eight tips to help you cope with that first day back.

Everyone’s school experience is different.

For some, the end of the summer holiday and a return to seeing friends each day can’t come soon enough. But for others, just the thought of returning to the classroom can be daunting. Everyone’s school experience is different.

Whether you’re starting in a new form, school or college, there can be a lot of stress around this time. From worrying about making friends to having to sit exams, we all have our own issues and anxieties.

Here are our tips to help calm your nerves in preparation for the new term.

  • Be prepared

    Organise your bag, uniform, books and everything else the night before so it isn’t one big rush in the morning. You could also start to gather things together a few days before, just in case some things take a bit longer for you to find!

  • Get a good night's sleep

    Getting plenty of sleep is great for clearing the mind, improving memory and ridding the body of toxins, to make you feel re-energised. It also aids concentration and helps to ease stress.

    A few days before you go back to school, set your alarm to the time you'll need to get up for so your body can get used to waking up at that time again.

  • Food for thought

    Try to start the day with a balanced and nutritious breakfast, which will also help feed your mind, support your immune system and boost your energy levels throughout the day.

  • Check your new timetable

    If you’ve got a new timetable, or new routine, have a look at it a few days before you’re due to start back at school. This can help ease you into your new routine so it doesn’t feel too strange on your first day back, and you know what’s coming.

  • Take it one day at a time

    From homework to exams, don’t try to approach everything at once. Work out how you’re going to prioritise each task and take it step by step. Try keeping a diary or making a list on your phone to keep on top of it all. Planning is key.

  • Exams aren't everything

    Adult life will teach you that it’s not all about exam results, and whatever you get, there are always other options and routes that don’t revolve around top grades. Be who you are and do the best you can.

  • Think ahead

    If you're really dreading going back, try and write a list of the things you are looking forward to. This could be seeing a friend, being in a certain class or an event you may have coming up in your school. Stick it somewhere you can see easily on your first day to remind yourself of the good things you have to look forward to.

  • Talk to someone

    If school is really getting you down, remember you're not alone. As difficult as it may seem, talking to a friend, parent or someone you can trust can really help.

More information and advice

We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.

Where to get help

  • The Mix

    Offers online information as well as helpline support to under-25s about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support is available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service and telephone helpline available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
  • Mind

    Offers advocacy services, as well as information and signposting on mental health difficulties, via the Mind Infoline.

    Also hosts Side by Side, an online community for those aged 18 and over to connect with others who are going through, or have been through, similar experiences.

    Opening times:
    9am - 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)

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