Written by therapist Ruth Nathaniel

For many of us, the end of the summer can only mean one thing- the beginning of the school year! Whether you took a hiatus or are a seasoned student, we can all use a little help when it comes to a new term, so here are some strategies to help make this transition a successful one. 

Rest

Now, I know we’ve only just begun the school year, so energy levels might be at an all time high, but good sleep hygiene is one of the best investments you can make this year. You may be joining in-person classes for the first time in years, and the switch from a virtual to an in-person environment will be draining for a little while. The commute, interacting with others, absorbing all the new information, getting back into the swing of completing assignments, and studying will use loads of energy. To get the most out of your learning experience, consider a few options to optimize your rest:

  1. Plan either 20 or 90 minute naps when necessary. The 20 minute and 90 minute intervals are best to ensure you wake up alert and refreshed.
  2. Call it a night when you are no longer producing good quality work. There’s no point staying up an extra hour to drag through the assignment inefficiently, instead…
  3. Wake up an hour or two before you need to head out the door. This will provide you with the perfect pocket of time to work out, eat, shower, complete your school work, or whatever else you need to do. You’ll actually be settled and not frantically rushing as you start your day. 
  4. Make your bedroom a peaceful place when it’s time for bed. Blackout blinds (or an eye mask), soothing aromas via a diffuser or candle, and comforting textures (soft blankets, warm socks, etc.) will gently relax you. Consider a weighted blanket as well.
  5. Avoid the temptation to scroll through your phone as you fall asleep. The constant stimulation will inhibit your ability to rest well. If you’re feeling anxious or unsettled, try playing some calming music or a podcast on a timer and put your phone away into a drawer to stop yourself from reaching for it. 

Goal-Setting

Much like the New Year, the start of the school year can inspire change and motivation. This is wonderful when paired with honesty and acknowledging just how much you can implement. To avoid goal-setting burn out, ask yourself a few questions.

  1. What is my reason for this goal?
  2. What is one tangible step I can take every single day to help make this goal a reality?
  3. Who is keeping me accountable? 
  4. Am I willing to try again if I don’t succeed?

The aforementioned questions will help you lay the foundation when working on your goal. We’re all tempted to pile on a bunch of ambitious goals, only to find ourselves overwhelmed and unable to fully implement any of them. Instead, pick one goal and give it your full attention. You’re more likely to succeed if you give one goal your all, versus spreading yourself thin between several goals. 

Rest and goal-setting is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to back to school strategies. My hope is that these suggestions will help set you up for success as you head into the school year. You’ve got this!

If this piece resonated with you, and you want to work on some strategies to start this season well, I’d be honored to support you. Give us a call about setting up an appointment today. 

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