The start of the school year can bring anxiety for students and parents alike. To help families and students make a smooth transition back to the classroom, Vianey Reinhardt, a Licensed Professional Counselor, at Connections Wellness Group provides five tips.
Get some rest
During the summer, kids stay up later and in bed a little longer.
Two to three weeks before school begins, students need to start rebuilding consistent sleep schedules.
“An important aspect of mental health is getting enough rest,” Reinhardt said. “Our brains need time to recharge. When we are able to get a good amount of deep sleep, that’s when our brains really get a chance to reset and prepare us for the next day.”
2. Set a daily routine
Build a consistent schedule to help the body and brain adapt.
“Give the body that sense of consistency. That's really important,” Reinhardt explained. “Anything can be built into that schedule. The final product is your brain is back into that rhythm. It’s completed this task and moving to the next one.”
3. Eat a balanced diet
The bag of chips and soda for lunch will not give you all the energy you need to get through advanced algebra.
“Start building back a diet that includes proteins and nutrient dense foods to really fuel the brain and the body,” Reinhardt said.
4. Find time for yourself
With practices and homework, it’s tough to find time to relax. But it's important to schedule time to read a book, take a bath or stream a TV show.
“The goal is that you're creating a little space and time for finding something that brings you a sense of peace and a sense of joy,” Reinhardt said. “It’s OK to be a little bit selfish with your time. When we take care of ourselves in that way, we are in a much better position to be a better member of the household.”
5. Reach out for help
If the anxiety is too much, it may be time for a self assessment or to reach out to a professional.
“For some kids, particularly young teens and adolescents, school is no longer a place they find to be a haven,” Reinhardt said. “It’s a place they are looking to avoid…If we’ve done all the things at home to take good care, maybe now we need to get some additional support in place. Go to talk to a therapist. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it forever, but for a period of time that makes you feel more confident and capable about going back and facing a new school year.”