Coping with Back-to-School Stress

The start of the school year can be a very stressful time. It can be difficult to transition from the summer months, which are often less structured, to the routine of the school year. New classes, new teachers, new assignments, and possibly new peers all contribute to a sense of uncertainty that may evoke feelings of anxiety. The tips below are intended to help you manage feelings of stress and anxiety as you prepare to navigate the start of another school year.

  • Set up a schedule and plan out your activities—sleeping, eating, studying, socializing, free time, etc. This will help you use your time more effectively.

  • Make sure to include enjoyable activities in your schedule. If you don’t make the time for fun, you will end up burning yourself out.

  • Break large tasks down into smaller steps. This will decrease the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and will help clarify a logical starting point.

  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Unrealistically high expectations just lead to self-criticism and feelings of failure. Instead, by setting achievable goals you are more likely to decrease distress and sustain your motivation to stay on top of your work.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on your own talents and strengths and identify how to use these most effectively.

  • Check in with yourself often. Learn to recognize your signs of stress, so that you can take steps to manage your stress before it becomes overwhelming.