How do you Cope with School Anxiety?
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
As the summer comes to an end many people are getting ready to go back to school, either elementary, high school, college, university, or some type of educational institution. Feeling anxiety about school is not at all uncommon. If you have had anxiety related to school in the past and can feel them again as school is approaching, you may know the signs to recognize. The change in routine can be a source of stress, the sense of pressure associated with academic performance can be difficult to deal with, and feeling of uncertainty can cause anxiety.
Please keep in mind that these are general tips and not meant to replace therapy and coaching, which would be individualized for you. Here are a few tips to help manage the upcoming changes and keep things flowing smoothly:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
This is important to help us cope with stress and anxiety and also to help with concentration. A good night’s sleep will help tackle the long days and help with focus and energy levels. It can help to develop a bedtime routine, cut out caffeine after 6:00pm, and avoid large meals close to bedtime.
2. Deep Breathing + Relaxation Strategies
This is especially helpful if you have racing thoughts before bedtime. Try this anytime but can be especially helpful 15 minutes before bed each night. Find a comfortable position in bed or in a supported seat in a quiet uninterrupted place. Take a deep breath into your lower belly (belly breathing) not into your chest, and feel your belly expand fully with air. Hold for a few seconds then release. Focus your attention on your body. If your mind starts to wander to thoughts or worries, gently bring it back to your body. Bring your attention to your breathing and your body and continue to relax. If your mind wanders just gently bring your attention back to your breathing and your body. Continue this for as long as it feels relaxing. You may also put on relaxing music if you like.
3. Eat Well + Hydrate
It can be easy to either forget to eat regular nutritious meals or eat fast convenient food late at night. You might also forget to drink enough water. Poor nutrition habits can impact our anxiety, mood, concentration, and make us feel fatigue so try to take care of your body.
4. Regular Activity / Exercise
If you attend the gym regularly - great! However, being active does not mean being athletic and let’s face it, many students may not be able to fit gym time into their busy schedule. It could mean going for a walk, doing exercises at home, or some way of keeping in motion. Staying active has various benefits that directly impact our mood and can help manage anxiety, help cope with stress, concentration, and keep up energy levels that are much needed during the school year.
5. Focus on the Positive
What are the things that you are most excited about and looking forward to about school? What are the things that went well in previous experiences? Build on these experiences and plan for the positive circumstances.