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What Causes Back-to-School Anxiety? Can You Avoid It?

By HERWriter
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back-to-school anxiety: its causes and ways to avoid it Auremar/PhotoSpin

Going back to school is not always exciting like TV commercials might suggest. Some students are so stressed or scared about going back to school that they might even suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

For students who become emotionally drained as soon as they hear the school bell ring, experts have some solutions.

Rachel Eddins, a licensed professional counselor, said in an email that anxiety is the most common mental health issue that students experience when they go back to school.

“Anxiety can take shape in different forms for different people: separation anxiety, especially for a kindergartener or younger child, general anxiety about starting something new for many people, or even social anxiety about being around many new people you don't know,” Eddins said.

She said anxiety can be worse when there are bigger changes, such as going to a brand new school, or leaving home for college.

Anxiety is caused by change and fear of the unknown, she said. So the best way to minimize anxiety is to plan ahead and prepare for going back to school.

“Discuss thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly,” she said. “Don't minimize fears ... because the fact is, they are worried and need your help actually dealing with it,” Eddins said.

Here are a few more ways to help prevent back-to-school anxiety:

1) “Keep your household organized the days leading up to the change and spend time together ... If you're going off to college or a new school, be sure to arrive several days in advance to allow plenty of time to get your things settled.”

2) “Be sure to get a good night's rest several nights prior. This might involve spending time talking with your child before bedtime to explore what's on their mind and providing comfort, reassurance, and soothing to help them relax. Proper nutrition is also important for managing anxiety. Be sure kids get a healthy, balanced breakfast (be sure to include protein) before school starts and lunches are packed the night before.”

3) “If [they will be] riding the bus, walk them to the bus stop.”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.