There's something about the phrase “going back to school” that tends to inspire a universal sense of dread, especially for those who already struggle with anxiety. For some, going back to school may mean time away from parents, a new start, and the rekindling of friendships, while for others, returning to school just means a sh*t ton of new stress. If you are someone who deals with back-to-school anxiety, believe me, I feel you.
Luckily, there are many ways to grab a firm hold of your angst before you even step foot onto your campus. Like many things, back-to-school anxiety can definitely be manageable -- as long as you can recognize what it is that's bothering you so much, and find ways to plan ahead for it. Here are five ways to conquer all of your back-to-reality nerves as the season approaches.
1. Start Adjusting Your Sleep Routine ASAP
Research on research on research has informed us countless times that sleep helps to reduce anxiety. It can be a bit difficult coming off of a fun summer and jumping back into a regular sleep routine, so you need to start weaning yourself back into it starting now.
Combating your nerves has a lot to do with how much sleep you got last night, so tackling this factor is sure to make the overall process so much easier.
2. Become Pre-Acquainted With Campus Resources
Remember, it's always wise to know what to do before it happens, rather than scramble for help in the midst of frenzy. Anxiety disorders are a top mental health concern on college campuses, meaning many schools are both equipped and happy to help any students struggling with such issues.
With that said, do the research now about your school to set up a game plan for you'll handle your anxiety when it comes time to step back onto your campus. If you're prone to breakdowns, then you need to be Googling or calling up your school to figure out exactly where the campus counseling services are.
It can also be helpful to research some support groups either on campus or in your school's town. Regardless of who you reach out to, the resources are there, and you don't have to deal with your anxiety alone.
3. Set Up A Self-Care Routine
Self-care routines are generally great for anyone's lifestyle, but they can be particularly helpful as a sort of preventative measure. Self-care exists to give you peace of mind and something to rely on when the world gets too claustrophobic and unbearable.
According to Anxiety.org, a well-rounded approach to self-care can help reduce the severity of anxiety.
So, whether your routine means waking up 10 minutes earlier to pray, or carving out 20 minutes of time alone to indulge in your favorite, healthy pick-me-up (whether that be a book, meditation, stretching, etc.), it could just be your saving grace during a chaotic school year.
4. Don't Wing It
It is so typical for college students to receive assignments and “just get around to” doing it. However, procrastination and anxiety go hand in hand, so if you want a fast ride to a mental breakdown, then by all means, put off that assignment.
However, if you want to keep your sanity, you don't necessarily have to tackle your assignments the moment you receive them, but at least have a thorough plan as to how you'll make it easy for yourself to complete them. Whatever you do, just don't wing it.
Procrastination, as much as people throw the term around, is stressful, and can make you feel like you're choking on the airless chokehold of your own responsibilities. Your friends who are procrastinating and having the time of their lives? You don't know their lives. You don't know the mental state they're in. However, what you do know is the anxiety that you have, so you need to handle yourself accordingly.
I am not advising that you unrealistically strive to be a boring bookworm and miss the best parties. I'm simply saying to be mindful and tackle your sh*t strategically.
5. Try to Take At Least One Easy Class
Listen, we all need that one throw-away class on our schedule -- it's just part of the deal. If you're taking 15 to 18 credits, nobody has the time to be studying for every single damn subject on your roster.
Remember when I said plan strategically? This is part of it. Sometimes, you need a class that you can actually afford to wing. After all, it's for the sake of your mental health.