After a few months of relaxation during summer vacation, the beginning of the new school year often leaves young teenagers feeling immense amounts of anxiety. For most, the fateful first day is either one filled with intense fear or thrilling excitement for the scholastic year ahead. For many though, the return to school is only the beginning of anxiety-inducing symptoms. Some may feel the quivering of their legs, moist sweat forming on their palms, uneasy nerves filling their stomachs or even the nervous buildup of impending due dates. Despite the numerous causes of anxiety, overall the return to school can be nerve-wracking, especially when some students are returning after a full year at home. Here is a list of the top five strategies you can use to combat and help with whatever level of anxiety you may be facing. 

  1. Meditation

Finding peace within your body can be a rather challenging process, and without patience, it can be hard to harness the true inner peace needed to stop anxiety. Whether you do self-guided meditation or meditate through instructed yoga classes, meditation can genuinely harness unbearable stress. When someone is experiencing high levels of anxiety, it can be difficult to breathe, and in some cases, people may feel as though they will have a heart attack. However, meditation allows the individual to practice breathing exercises, as it can be very easy to forget how important breathing is for the body. Breathing keeps everyone alive, but can also bring ease and peace to your soul. If you are looking for an easy entryway to meditation, try downloading the Calm or Headspace app in your phone’s App Store.

2. Self-help Books

In many ways, anxiety can be best treated with therapy and meditation; however, self-help books are an additional way to self-medicate and ease stress. Many self-help books examine what anxiety is and how it affects someone’s body and mind. Self-help books can also show someone the different types of anxiety that exist. The six main types of anxiety are social anxiety, general anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite the ability to learn about other types of anxiety, the main point of self-help books is to determine the origin of someone’s stress. In some cases, it could be from friends, family or a tragic accident. No matter the circumstance, self-help books allow people of all ages to find out why their thoughts take over and why they are terrified of something, whether it be failure or enduring the first day of school. If you want to try to overcome anxiety with self-help books, you may want to purchase some online on Amazon. Some of the highly recommended self-help books include “Practicing Mindfulness,” “Self-Love Workbook for Women” and “Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress and Stop Negative Spirals.” 

3. Therapy

Communication is key to someone’s mental health, whether you meet with a therapist monthly or talk with family and friends. A therapist can show you multiple ways of relieving anxiety and dealing with any panic or anxiety attacks. Despite the ability or desire to talk about your mental health with family and friends, it can be rather challenging to talk about it with someone that you know and deeply care for. When someone is utterly depressed, at their lowest and having potential suicidal thoughts, not everyone wants to go and talk about their problems with their family. At times, talking to one’s family and friends can be too emotional and complex, such as if someone’s parents do not understand the issue at hand. However, a professional psychologist is a stranger that can help anyone through their dark periods and into more blissful times. For many, talking to a stranger is more beneficial and less complicated because that person does not know your whole life story, while talking to someone about mental health who knows every tiny detail about you can be too personal. Being able to speak to another human being about your mental health allows for different perspectives on matters going on within yourself. Therapy can also enable people to become more confident, grow in their communication skills and become better people. Additionally, it can help try to get rid of negative thoughts that have been ingrained into someone’s brain. Therapy is one of the best, if not the best, ways to relieve anxiety and any variant of depression. If a student is experiencing immense amounts of stress, it may be ideal to talk to a guidance counselor such as Ms. Eubanks or any fellow psychologist within Tallahassee. 

4. Get Sleep

Although it may sound like something anyone would tell a teenager, it is very important to get sleep in order to relieve anxiety. As a high school student, it can be so challenging to get a good amount of sleep. Whether a student is an athlete, artist or average student, anxiety and lack of sleep do not mix well. Anxiety can continue to take over someone’s mind, especially at night. Whether it be because a student failed a test or regretted saying something to their friend, anxiety can be at its most intense during the darkest times of the day. Excessive worry and stress can make eight hours of sleep hard to achieve. For those who suffer from high functioning anxiety at times, sleep could possibly be many hours of tossing and turning. If someone who suffers from anxiety does get to sleep, it is often only for a few hours. Although anxiety is a huge obstacle when it comes to sleeping, sleep deprivation only makes anxiety worse. Sleep deprivation can easily change your mood within a matter of minutes, bring back negative thoughts or induce insomnia. Ways to help sleep anxiety include listening to some relaxing music during sleep, turning off electronic devices thirty minutes before falling asleep and trying to go to bed earlier than usual. 

5. Connect with Nature

During the pandemic, staying in isolation made many people depressed and anxious. At first, the pandemic seemed like the best time for introverts to stay home and occasionally hang out with friends. If anything, however, the pandemic made many different students depressed and possibly suicidal. In many ways, 2020 as well as 2021 have been overwhelming for everyone, but teenagers have had it extremely rough. For many teens, the last two years have taken away events such as Prom, and has put pressure on students trying to get into college. The pandemic changed the realm of college applications and even forced some universities to change their policies. However, one of the most beneficial ways for teenagers to get away from isolation has been connecting with nature. Going outside and getting fresh air can not only be refreshing, but it can also be soothing during a time of uncertainty. Being able to go outside and explore nature is an excellent gift that can ease someone’s anxiety. Exploring the great outdoors and seeing flowers, waterfalls or animals can be soothing, relaxing and cathartic. 

The beginning of school can be an anxious period despite seeing friends and meeting new people. No matter how long someone has attended a school, everyone has days filled with nerves and anxiety. Whether it be the butterflies in your stomach, the aching of your head or the twitching of your leg, returning to school for many students is filled with immense amounts of anxiety. However, these five ways of easing yourself of anxious days can now be used and followed through during your daily routine in order to make your transition into the new school year a little more calm.

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