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Prioritizing mental health and wellness as we return to school

As summer break comes to an end, it's time to gear up for another school year. While the anticipation of reuniting with friends and engaging in new academic challenges can be exciting, it's crucial to remember that mental health and wellness should remain at the forefront of our priorities. The transition from a relaxed summer routine to the demands of school can be overwhelming, but with the right mindset and strategies, we can ensure a smooth and mentally healthy return to the classroom.

Here are a few tips to consider to prioritize your mental health as you head back into the classroom:

Acknowledge and normalize feelings. It's essential to acknowledge that going back to school can bring about a range of emotions including anxiety, stress, and even excitement. Recognize that these feelings are normal and valid. Share your concerns with trusted friends, family, or a counselor. Talking about your emotions can help alleviate their intensity.

Establish a routine. Creating a structured routine can provide a sense of stability and reduce anxiety. Start by gradually adjusting your sleep schedule to align with school hours. Adequate sleep is crucial for mental well-being and cognitive functioning. Additionally, plan your daily activities, including study time, exercise, and leisure to ensure a balanced lifestyle.

Practice self-care. Prioritizing self-care is vital for maintaining good mental health. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, practicing mindfulness, or spending time in nature. Remember to set aside time for yourself regularly, even during busy school days.

Stay connected. Maintaining social connections is crucial for mental well-being. Reach out to friends, classmates, or teachers to foster a supportive network. Engage in conversations about shared experiences, concerns, and aspirations. Connecting with others who understand your challenges can provide a sense of belonging and support.

Manage academic expectations. Academic pressure can contribute to stress and anxiety. Set realistic goals and break them down into manageable tasks. Prioritize your workload and seek help when needed. Remember, seeking assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness. Utilize available resources such as teachers, tutors, or school counselors to ensure academic success without compromising your mental well-being.

Practice mindfulness and stress reduction techniques. Incorporate mindfulness and stress reduction techniques into your daily routine. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels. Take short breaks during study sessions to engage in these practices, allowing your mind to recharge and refocus.

Seek support. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, don't hesitate to seek professional help. School counselors, therapists, or mental health helplines are available to provide guidance and support. Remember, your mental well-being is just as important as your academic success.

As we prepare to embark on another school year, let's prioritize our mental health and wellness. By acknowledging our feelings, establishing routines, practicing self-care, staying connected, managing academic expectations, and seeking support when needed, we can ensure a successful and mentally healthy return to school. Remember, taking care of ourselves is the foundation for achieving our academic goals and overall well-being.

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