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Teen’s Guide to Managing Back to School Anxiety

The back-to-school season can be a thrilling time for some teens, but for others, it comes with a whirlwind of emotions, especially if anxiety symptoms are in the mix. As summer draws to a close, the prospect of returning to school can trigger feelings of worry, stress, and uncertainty. My goal is to provide you with some practical tips and strategies to manage those anxiety symptoms and embrace the new semester with confidence.

Starting strong…Acknowledge Your Feelings

First and foremost, it's crucial to recognize and accept your emotions. Feeling anxious about going back to school is entirely normal and okay. Allow yourself to experience these feelings without judgment. Remember, you are not alone – many other teens share similar thoughts.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety. Take a few minutes each day to focus on the present moment. Pay attention to your breath, thoughts, and sensations without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded and reduce the intensity of anxious thoughts.

Build a Support System

Having a supportive network of friends, family, or mentors can make a significant difference. Share your concerns with people you trust, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed. Sometimes, talking about your anxiety can relieve its burden and open up the possibility of finding solutions together.

Create a Study Routine

Establishing a study routine can help reduce anxiety related to academic performance. Plan a daily schedule that includes designated study times, breaks, and leisure activities. A well-structured routine can provide a sense of stability and control over your academic responsibilities.

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of a new school year is normal. Combat this by breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Whether it's preparing for a test or completing a project, tackling smaller portions can make the workload appear less daunting and boost your confidence as you progress.

Set Realistic Goals

Avoid setting overly ambitious goals that could lead to disappointment and increased anxiety. Instead, set realistic and achievable objectives for yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem, as they contribute to your overall progress.

Focus on Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is vital when managing anxiety. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and engaging in regular physical activity. Additionally, pursue hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Anxiety often stems from negative thoughts and worries about what might go wrong. When these thoughts arise, question their validity. Challenge them by asking yourself for evidence to support or refute them. Often, you'll find that they're not as rational as they initially seemed.

Seek Professional Support

If your anxiety symptoms become overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, don't hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor can provide valuable guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.

Preparing for school, armed with these practical strategies, you can take charge of your anxiety and approach the new semester with resilience and confidence. Remember that managing anxiety is a journey, and it's okay to take things one step at a time. Embrace the opportunities that come your way, learn from challenges, and know that you have the strength to navigate this transitional period with grace and determination. Here's to a successful and fulfilling school year ahead!

by Ciara Gorby


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