Back to School Anxiety and Your Mental Health


I can’t even believe I am saying this, but summer is almost over and the fall is around the corner. It feels unreal, but the school season is upon us once again. For some, this may be a sigh of relief. But if you’re anything like me, this time of year fills you with so much anxiety that it would sometimes feels crippling. 

It wasn’t that I hated everything about school, but the transition from the freedom and joy summer provides to that monotony that school brings just filled me with this overwhelming dread. Even to this day, when I walk into Walmart and see all of the back to school supplies, my stomach fills with knots and I’m not even in school anymore. 

But what if I said there was a way to make it easier? How would it feel to reduce those back to school jitters, so that you’re not feeling so nervous about the new school year. Sure, returning to school isn’t going to be in the top ten of your favorite end of summer activities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to think about it in a healthier way. 

Here are four things you can start doing to help make the transition back to school a little easier: 


Let’s face it. The summer has a way of disrupting our sleep patterns and causing us to live without any structure of routine. However, if you start adjusting your schedule now, you’ll find it so much more easier to slip into the back to school routine. Instead of allowing yourself to mindlessly go about your days, set a routine that is structured as if you would during the school year. Start setting an alarm for when you’ll need to wake up for school and try to get in bed with the expectation of achieving a good amount of sleep. Start meal prepping as if you were going to pack lunch for school and plan to eat your lunch during a time you normally would while on break. It may not seem fun, but implanting these small changes can make a world of a difference in a successful transition.  


Start to reconnect with your school friends whom you may not have had much contact with throughout the summer. Instead of waiting until the first day of school where you’ll most likely have uncomfortable conversations like, “how was your summer?” try reconnecting and plan activities before school starts to help reduce the anxiety of feeling alone on campus. 

Perhaps it’s not possible to reconnect with friends because this is your first year at a new school. This won’t be a problem! Prior to the start of the school year, do some research on campus life and start looking for groups or activities you might want to participate in. By putting in the effort to research ahead of time, you will learn everything you can about your social options, which could then lessen some anxieties about the unknown.   


Of course, we hope that the summer provided a mind reset that allowed you to engage in as much fun or be as lazy as you want. Rest and self-care is a critical component to leading a long and healthy life. But, you may be nervous l that you’re faced with having to go from lounging and having fun to productive days filled with learning and mind-stimulation. We can reduce these anxieties by simply changing our mindset and incorporating more productive activities into our day. While you’re lounging by the pool, bring a cross word puzzle or a book to provide your mind with mental stimulation. Help establish a positive mindset about school 

by setting concrete goals for the upcoming year about personal development and your academic growth. By shifting your mindset to these thinking patterns, you will find yourself more focused on your goals rather than the nervousness of what the school year may bring. 


Although the start of a new school year can seem like a time of developing a autonomy, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Finding the right support team can be critical in your ability to stay focus and remain stress free during this tough transition. Explore the resources that your school has to offer such as academic tutoring, peer support groups, and clubs. Establish a network both at school and at home and fill it with individuals you find are positive and supportive. 

If you feel that the stress and anxiety may be a little too overwhelming, do not hesitate to seek out and establish a relationship with a therapist who can help support and guide you through the challenges of college life.

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