Beano's Back To School Guide To: Dealing with Anxiety
Going back to school can be a bit stressful for anyone – here's some ways to handle those big feelings!
For some people, the idea of going back to school hangs over the end of the summer holidays like a big black cloud. Maybe you have worries about school that won't go away and it's starting to be the only thing on your mind.
Having those moments of dread is perfectly natural, so here are some tips and tricks on how to turn that frown upside down.
What is it?
Anxiety is a fear of something and can often become the only thing you worry about. YoungMinds call it "the brain’s in-built alarm bell system" and can stop you enjoying day-to-day activities as usual.
You might feel nervous, go off your food, have trouble sleeping properly or even feel sick.
What type of anxieties do you have about returning to school?
At the start of a new school year, you might worry about going into class for the first time in ages, how you'll get on with your teacher or be around lots of new people.
Having worries when things change is perfectly natural – it's not the end of the world.
What are good ways to manage anxiety?
You can always talk to your parents, family or friends and tell them what's making you feel this way. It won't do you any good to bottle those feelings up. Get them off your chest and you might just find some of the people closest to you feel the same way sometimes. They could tell you what they do to feel better.
Learn some coping techniques
A few regular deep breaths can work wonders. Go for a walk with a family member. A stress ball might help distract you from any negative feelings you may experience. Some people even have a stretch to ease any tension. You could even visualise folding your anxious thoughts into a paper aeroplane and throwing them in to the sky. Paint a picture. Listen to some calming music. Distract yourself from your worries with fun things you enjoy doing.
Find what works for you.
Get into a routine
Be kind to yourself. You've had a long school holiday with late nights and a few too many treats. Why not? It's the holidays and you deserve to have fun. But when you're at school, a good sleep and eating properly will help you feel energised and ready to take on the world, one step at a time.
Think of it like this: would Marcus Rashford have a late night and eat junk food before an important football match? We don't think he would.
Don't avoid things
Of course, it's natural to want to avoid school if the idea makes you feel a bit wobbly and it might make you feel better in the short term. But it won't really help over time, because everyone has to go to school. The trick is to learn how to manage your feelings and get the most out of your lessons.
What can your family do?
Be supportive. If parents, family members or carers are reading this, encourage children to talk about their feelings. Don't ask specific questions that will get a 'yes' or 'no' answer – simply ask them how they feel about certain activities or school days that are provoking strong emotional reactions.
Tell them that you realise how much effort it must take to face their anxieties and let them see the positive ways in which you handle stressful situations.
Tell your teacher
You're going to be seeing a lot of them over the next year, so why not ask for a chat when it's quiet and you both have time. They'll have seen this all before and will probably some excellent suggestions to make things easier to deal with.
You're not alone!