Going back to school can make us feel anxious at the best of times. A new school year brings changes and its normal to worry about what that might mean for you. Right now we’re all preparing to go back to school in a totally new way. Whether you’re a teacher or a pupil, things are going to be different. We can’t tell you what it’s going to be like, but we can help you to cope with any worries you might be having. There are tried and tested techniques that you can use to ease yourself in to the new normal.
You might feel as if the best way to deal with your worries is to ignore them, but that won’t make them go away. They sit there in the background telling your brain that it needs to get ready to fight or run away, creating a stress response that stops you from thinking clearly. By facing up to the things you’re worrying about you can deal with them. Sit down somewhere quiet with a pen and paper or make a note on your phone. Writing down the worries that surface helps you to work out what to do next.
What can you do when you’ve made a list of worries? Sometimes you’ll find that when you’ve written something down it loses its power. At other times you’ll need some support. You might need more information about how your school are dealing with a particular issue. It could simply be that you don’t know what it’s going to be like walking into your classroom for the first time. Some of your worries might only be resolved when you go back to school. Talking about it with someone you trust can help you to avoid dwelling on things.
It’ll feel strange when you first go back. Always remember that you can ask for help when you need it. If you’re a young person, talk to your teacher, your parents or another adult that you trust. If you’re a teacher, speak to your colleagues or someone in the leadership team. Everyone is adjusting to a new way of working and will be having similar worries.
Take your time when it comes to learning too. You might worry that you’ve fallen behind. As a teacher you might also wonder how you can support your pupils. Taking things slowly will help you to work through these worries and make a plan that works for you.
One of the simplest things you can do if you’re feeling stressed is to focus on your breathing. This can help you to feel instantly calmer and reduce your anxiety. Just find a quiet place and slow your breath down. Try counting to five as you take a breath in and the same as you breathe out. If any worries wander in, acknowledge them but don’t focus on them. Just concentrate on breathing slowly in and out. If you’d like more support with this try a mindfulness or breathing app to help you.
Being kind to yourself and others helps everyone. Find time each day to do something that you enjoy, whatever that might be. This reminds you that even when things aren’t completely normal you can still have fun and enjoy life. Helping other people can make you feel good too. Try some random acts of kindness, for example baking a cake for a friend or doing the washing up when it isn’t your turn.
If your school needs professional support to make it easier for everyone to get back to school, the Talking Rooms can help. Get in touch to find out more.