School and Self-Care
Shannon (aged 22 years)
Shannon works as a Peer Support Worker in our Child and Young Person Mental Health Services (Lincolnshire). She is using her lived experience to support young people struggling with their mental health.
Going back to school after the summer holiday can be a stressful and worrying time. There’s lots to think about and try and remember, so it’s natural to feel a bit worried and nervous. I remember being so worried about going back to school after the summer holidays, I would worry about not waking up on time, forgetting my school bag, or getting lost even though I’d been going to the same school for a few years. Whether you are moving schools, doing your GCSE’s, or going into a new class without your friends, it’s OK to feel anxious about it. It’s really important you keep looking after yourself during stressful times, and to make sure you’re still prioritising your mental health. School is important, but so is looking after yourself and your mind!
Something I found really difficult about going back to school and becoming completely submersed into schoolwork. Every year I would go back to school in September and feel so nervous and worried about keeping up with homework and schoolwork that I would just forget to make time to do the things I enjoyed outside of school.
I would forget that walking my dog made me feel calm, watching my favourite TV series on an evening made me smile, or having a shower before school helped make me feel more awake and ready for the day.
One way I found helpful to make sure I was looking after myself was by making sure I added selfcare activities or hobbies into my daily routine. Some easy and quick ways to do this could be:
- Getting up 10 minutes earlier before school to make sure you have breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day!
- Setting yourself a time for bed each night so you get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling rested
- Getting changed when you get home from school and taking time to relax and process the day
- Listening to your favourite music on the way to and from school
- Practicing self-care and setting aside dedicated time to do this so you don’t skip it!
- Going for a walk or walking the dog, getting out in the fresh air and being mindful of your surroundings
It’s also important to keep doing the activities and hobbies you love. This could be as simple as joining a sports team at school. If you’re like me who hated sports at school, it could be reading a new book or learning a new skill. Finding a balance between schoolwork and taking time for yourself will mean you won’t feel as burned out when going back to school again. It’s normal to feel really tired and a bit rundown as the school year starts but keeping those activities you really love doing in your routine can really help to break things up!
I will always remember the nerves I felt the night before school started again, and how challenging it was to relax and make sure I was well rested for the day ahead of me. If you’re going back to school and are nervous and worried about it, remember you are braver and stronger than you think and you can do anything you put your mind to. Good luck!