How to overcome back-to-school anxiety.

Whether you are a parent preparing your kids for a return to elementary school or junior high, or a student yourself preparing for a return to high school, college, night school, or beyond, the Back-to-School time of year comes with a lot of feels. 

The freedom of summer is winding down, more structure and more responsibilities await, time with friends and family will change. 

It’s a lot of excitement and anxiety and worry and energy all wrapped up into one moment. It’s a lot to handle.


Aside from focusing on your breath, and using your breath to turn anxiety off and calm your nervous system, we created a few tips to help you start preparing for school, and help you overcome any back-to-school anxiety you might be experiencing.

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What to do right now.

First things first, let’s make sure we have some fun.

When summer started, what did you find yourself daydreaming about? What did you want to do with your summer?

Step 1: Make a list of all the things you wanted to do this summer.

Step 2: How many days do you have left before school starts.

Step 3: Prioritize your list. Number them by importance.

Step 4: Create a calendar event for your list, by priorities. One per day.

Step 5: Enjoy. Keep the list handy if you find yourself wanting to do more.

The most important part of this equation is that you are having fun, and by having fun you are being more present, and by being present, you are slowing time down (AKA making summer last longer).

But also, you are generating momentum that will carry you into the beginning of the school year.

You’ll start school in a positive mindset, calm and focused, ready to tackle the obstacles ahead.

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Journaling is easy with Rotezen because it’s really a micro journaling process. It makes change and progress easy by helping you break down your goals into micro adjustments, and measuring your progress along the way.

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What to do one week before school starts.

Routine is essential to your success during the school year. So implementing some routine back into your schedule now will help make the transition a little smoother.

1.  Set an alarm for the morning.

It doesn’t have to be early, but resetting the process will help. Prepare for the day ahead as you wind down the night before, and you will you wake up on the right side of the bed.

2.  Schedule some time out with friends.

To help you get back into the swing of the social circuit, grab some coffee with friends you haven’t seen all summer, or grab lunch, or plan an outing from the list you defined above.

3.  Ask your friends if they are nervous. 

Normalize talking about back-to-school anxiety and worries and excitement. Getting these thoughts out of your head and into the open will help you and your friends generate more momentum heading into the school year.

4.  Get to bed on time.

Sleep can help. Routine sleep can help even more. Get to bed around the same time. Get up at the same time. Make a consistent routine of bed time with brushing your teeth and reading and breathing and feel the anxiety melt away.

5.  Walk the campus early.

Transform those worries about the first day by familiarizing yourself with your campus and class location and daily routine. Walk the campus before school starts. Placing yourself in the environment will help alleviate some of the unknowns you might be worried about.

6.  Walk through your first day.

As you walk around campus, imagine what the day might be like: who will you see, what will you say to your teachers, what will you eat for lunch? And also imagine what happens at the end of the day: what’s the first thing you’ll do when you get home?

7.  Make a list of things you like about school. 

What are you looking forward to as school starts? Stay focused on the positives and you’ll be better prepared to confront and absorb the anxieties as they pop up. You’ll have a ready-made list of highlights to help you transition from one step to the next and ditch the anxieties along the way.

8.  Set up rewards for yourself.

What’s your favorite snack? Make sure that’s ready and waiting for you after day 1. How can you celebrate the end of the first week? What sort of goals can you define each week and how can you reward yourself when those goals are achieved?


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Learn more.


Daily tasks for the week school starts.

In the morning, as you wake up…

  • Focus on your breath for 1 minute.
  • Read your list of goals for the day.
  • Tackle your most important task first.
  • Plan your meals so you are eating well and not rushing through them.
  • Plan some time outside to exercise or just walk around.

Between classes…

  • Focus on your breath as you walk to your next class.
  • Think about the goal of the next class. What will you accomplish?

Before bed

  • Identify three goals for tomorrow, write them down.
  • Focus on your breath for 5 minutes. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique which can help you get to sleep faster.


Last thing: have fun.

Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun.

Make a list of all the things you love about summer. Then make a list of all the things you are responsible for during the school year. Are there any parallels? See how many items you can match up in each list. Chances are, you’ll come up with some ideas that not only help you enjoy the school year more, but summer as well.