Overcoming Back-to-School Anxiety: Tips for a Successful Transition

As the summer sun fades away and school is nearing,  many students may experience excitement, as well as some back-to-school anxiety.


Back-to-school anxiety is a common and natural response to the impending changes that a new academic year brings. From first-time kindergarteners to second-semester seniors, students of all ages may find themselves with mixed emotions as school begins. 


As a student, it is important to prioritize your mental health. Try some of these helpful tips to help curb some of the stress and anxiety that come with a new school year. 

How to Overcome Back-to-School Anxiety:


  1. Establish a Routine
    • Adjust your sleep schedule and daily routines to get the school year started. Make sure you eat a balanced breakfast before heading off to school so you can ensure your mind is ready to learn. Having a consistent routine can help alleviate stress and make the transition smoother.


       2. Discuss Expectations

    • Having open conversations with your parents/guardians about what to expect in the new school year can help you set realistic goals. Break larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. For example, rather than setting a goal of “I’ll ace every test this year,” perhaps set realistic goals such as “I’ll attend a study group twice, I will create flashcards a week in advance, I will meet with my teachers once a month, etc.” These steps are bound to lead you to success. Addressing your concerns can help you feel ready to take on the upcoming challenges. 


       3. Stress Management Techniques: 

    • Implement relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation to cope with stress. Taking a mindful minute away from a stressful math equation or a long essay you need to write, can help you create more successful work.


        4. Limit Overcommitment: 

    • Avoid overscheduling extracurricular activities, as it can lead to exhaustion and burnout. This is the time to explore the different aspects of yourself, but don’t run yourself too thin. Find what you love, and run with it. Balance is essential for a successful school year. 


        5. Healthy Lifestyle: 

    • Having a healthy, balanced diet, doing regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can contribute to improved focus and overall well-being. Dr. Matthew Walker a sleep scientist at the University of California, Berkeley found that if you sleep right after you study, you are more likely to retain the information (so no more all-nighters).


         6. Create a Study Space

    • Setting up a dedicated, organized study area will help you focus on homework and projects. Studying in the same location helps your brain focus on the information instead of getting distracted by the surrounding environment.


           7. Social Connections:

    •  Having positive relationships with other students and teachers helps make the back-to-school experience more enjoyable. This can become a type of support system that is there for you if you need help, a laugh, or just someone to talk to. 


If you find yourself struggling with the stress of going back to school, reach out to those around you. Teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, parents, siblings, coaches, guardians, and friends are great to turn to in times of need. The Quell Foundation cares about the success of future generations and is dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health. We wish all students, of all ages, a happy and healthy new school year!



Citation: NIH