Coping with Back to School Stressors

The time has come – school!

No matter how exciting those back to school banners are trying to make September sound, you are having difficulty buying into it. In your mind, September is full of anticipation, pressure, high expectations and STRESS.

It’s worse when you just had week after week of doing nothing. In comparison, September really seems like hell.

But is that true? Does back to school really mean that your fun is over? True, your life will fall into a more regular and rigid routine, and you will have many more obligations in a day; but these don’t have to be all that negative.

The primary origin of stress associated with back to school is the fear of failing, or the anxiety from not meeting certain expectations. This is beneficial in two ways.

  1. The fact that you are stressed means that you are serious about your work
  2. Stress can have a positive influence – it motivates you to work harder.

Still, stress and anxiety are unpleasant and they can have a negative impact if they build up.

Try employing a different mindset. Instead of dreading the piles of assignments and feeling drained before you even start, why not work on getting excited about making progress?

It’s the middle of August right now, and the new semester is two weeks away. There are a lot of things you can do to make the first day of school less daunting, and to turn it into something that you actually look forward to.

  • Get excited about the new beginning, and of course, new stationeries! Back to school is a perfect excuse to hit the mall, and to buy things without feeling guilty.
  • You are going to meet your friends (everyday!) whom you didn’t see as often during your break.
  • Get back into your normal routines – and this doesn’t only go for students. If you’ve taken a vacation from work (or are a teacher!), this applies to you as well. For those few days before school, or work starts, wake up early. Get into your normal sleeping pattern. If you manage to wake up earlier than usual, reward yourself with a nice breakfast.
  • Plan ahead: what are the things you need to get done in the first week of school/ work? Is preparation possible? Be familiar with your schedule, so the first day won’t be as overwhelming.
  • Have sufficient sleep. You don’t want to be sleep-deprived on the first day.

Here’s another thought exercise that might work: there are only five days of school/ work a week. If you felt that the summer flew by, you can get through five days without any problems… before you know it, it will be the weekend again!

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