Managing Back to School Anxiety

The school year is upon us. It can be a time of great excitement and or great anxiety. How we deal with these emotions is important in helping cope with the ups and downs of the school year.

By taking care of yourself physically, socially and emotionally, you can combat anxiety and keep it at manageable levels. Let’s look at each of these areas.

Physically:

  • Get plenty of sleep. Try to get between seven and nine hours a night. Limiting the use of smart phones, TV’s and tablets at least 30 minutes prior to going to sleep is also recommended.
  • Eat well. Make sure you are getting the recommended daily allowance of protein, vegetables, and fruits. Limit caffeine- it makes anxiety worse.
  • Some studies show even a 30-minute walk daily is highly beneficial!
  • Practice deep breathing. Try taking four to five deep “belly” breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth every hour.

Socially:

  • Get involved. Whether you are in high school or college, there are so many opportunities to explore. Decide what some of your interests are and look for clubs, classes, or seminars that support those interests. (Those of us struggling with social anxiety look for the extracurricular clubs- they typically have less people and are more of a warm setting.)
  • Talk with someone. Know your support people and rely on them as you make this transition. Also, campus counselors are always available and are usually free of charge.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Watch a comedy, hang out with friends, or go visit your local comedy club.

Emotionally:

  • Learn your triggers. If walking into a huge lecture hall is anxiety provoking, try finding out beforehand if any of your friends have the same class. If not, go early and find a seat you are comfortable in, take some deep breathes and look forward to maybe meeting someone new.
  • Practice acceptance.   Allow yourself to be okay with your anxiety. You are human, and it is completely normal for you to feel anxious/ excited when starting something new. And you are not the only one experiencing anxiety. Some experts believe up to 30% of the adult population (18-54) struggles with some form of anxiety disorder.
  • Watch your thoughts. Be aware of what is flowing through your mind. Remember, not every thought you have is true. Think of yourself as an investigator, full of curiosity and wonder, and ask where this thought came from and is it true? If it’s not true, it’s okay to let it go and replace it with the truth.

Terri Kutchera is a Patient Consultant for Ketamine Wellness Centers

Managing Back to School Anxiety