Back to School

There’s a new school year upon us and the fun of summer days has quickly transitioned into the daily routines necessary to get kids (and parents!) “up and at ’em”, so to speak.

Photo from iStock/Getty Images

Photo from iStock/Getty Images

More young people are reporting increased anxiety as it relates to school, and is it any wonder?  On top of the normal daily routines, students are facing increases in standardized tests, homework, pressures to perform in extracurricular activities, and for older adolescents, balancing all of this with working after school and on weekends.

One of the top suggestions for managing everything on what is often a very full adolescent plate, is to make the most of the time that’s available, and that starts with a steady routine.

  1. Sleep.  As difficult as it may seem to “find the time” to get a decent night’s sleep, we know that sleep plays a large role in physical and mental health.  Making efforts to get to sleep around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning ensures that you reap the rewards of regular slumber.  This is true for people of all ages, not just you sleep-deprived teens out there!
  2. Good study habits.  Although there are a lot of mixed reviews on the benefits and drawbacks of homework, the reality is that there’s always going to be some amount of studying and preparation required.  Whether you’re gearing up for a big test, working on a project, or dealing with daily assignments, make the most of it by checking out 10 Great Study Habits.
  3. Prep the night (or weekend!) before.  If you have trouble getting moving in the morning or struggle with picking out what to wear, consider laying out clothes the night before or going a step further and matching multiple outfits for the week on hangers for quick grab-and-dress style!
  4. Breakfast.  It’s hard to think about sitting down to a meal when you’re still bleary-eyed and mentally waking up, but the USDA tells us that breakfast is an important component of a morning routine.  From better test scores to improved physical health and memory, we know that breakfast does a body good!  Not a fan of traditional breakfast food?  No problem!  If we can eat “breakfast for dinner”, why not the other way around?   Leftover spaghetti and meatballs or an easy breakfast burrito make the grade!  Aim for a balance of protein, fiber, healthy fats and carbs to keep that energy going until lunchtime.
  5. Talk.  Regularly connecting with a good friend or trusted adult and talking about anything that may be bothering you can be a big stress reliever.  Feeling heard and having your concerns validated can help you with clearing your mind and solving problems.  Getting a few laughs in and finding humor in daily stressors can lessen the burden, too.

Remember, we all have physical health and mental health.  Make sure you’re taking care of yours!