Welcome to 2020! A new year, a new decade, and a new school year brings with it plenty of excitement for continued and renewed opportunities and experiences.
This year, we look forward to STEM FEST, school productions, learning in the new Swift Science & Technology Centre, welcoming 126 new students, and of course, celebrating Toorak Spirit! While the new year can be an exciting time for those who look forward to new opportunities, for others, the uncertainty of the year ahead can feel overwhelming. The transition from holidays back into a school routine is not always an easy one for everyone and can bring up feelings of worry, doubt, anxiety, and tension.
We know what those back-to-school jitters are like, so we devised some tips to help with some of those nerves you might be experiencing. Plus, we are excited for all the opportunities the new year can bring for you! So we’re here to help you get off to a steady start.
Back-to-school nerves are common
Lots of people, even adults, feel uncertain about change. Although change might feel different or uncomfortable at first, such as having new teachers and subjects, a new locker, changing classrooms or even being in classes with different peers, the likelihood is that most of your peers might be feeling the same way—especially after a long holiday break. Headspace Youth Advocate Amelia, says, “There is this idea that everyone else is managing and is succeeding, but it’s not the case and many people still don’t talk about the pressure because there is a stigma in admitting that you’re struggling.” Be reassured that you’re not the only one feeling this way, and that experiencing nerves on the first day of school is common.Learn to identify when you are feeling worried
The first step to calming anxious thoughts and feelings is identifying you are feeling anxious in the first place. Becoming aware of your nerves helps you learn how to recognise and become familiar with what you are feeling, so you can then address what you are going through and be able to move forward. Nerves are experienced differently by everyone and can present as physical, psychological, emotional and/or behavioural symptoms. Jodi Richardson, researcher of best-selling parenting novel, Anxious Kids, who has more than 25 years experience in wellbeing and education, encourages parents and children to, “make sense of it [anxiety], key knowledge such as why it happens, the flood of physical symptoms that comes with it”.
For more information on signs and symptoms of anxiety, click on the following link: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/signs-and-symptomsIdentify the thoughts causing you to worry
Have you ever thought to yourself or told someone, “I’m feeling worried but I don’t know why”? The feelings you are experiencing are most likely a result of unhealthy thinking patterns and common thinking errors. Maybe you are worried about waking up and getting ready for school on time or have been catastrophising about dropping your books in front of everyone on the first day and being laughed at. Maybe you are worried about going to a certain class.
Writing a list of your worry thoughts in a journal, drawing them, or putting them on pieces of paper into a ‘worry jar’ can help you identify what is causing you to worry, help you feel a sense of control, even make sense of the way you are feeling. Identifying and expressing your worry thoughts in a healthy, productive way, is essential to dealing with worry thoughts effectively.
Confide in someone you trust
Confiding in someone you trust about your worries will most likely help you feel better, more supported, and reassured again. Vocalising your worries out loud can help you articulate and make sense of them, and take the weight off your own shoulders with the knowledge that someone understands and cares for what you are feeling. A trusted loved one can comfort you with a hug, words of affirmation, write you an encouraging letter, and/or help you work on strategies together.
Find strategies that work for you
It’s important to find solutions for what you can control, and let go of what you can’t control. Here are some more strategies that can help you:
We Iook forward to seeing all students back at school soon, and wish the last few days of holidays are uplifting, and positive so you can dream, dare and do to develop as aspiring young people with confidence and character again this year!
For additional resources, you can visit the following links.
‘Is your child ‘prepped’ for Prep?’- by Toorak College
‘How can your child transform their anxiety into resilience?’- by Toorak College
‘Tackling back-to-school anxiety’- by Beyond Blue
‘Back to School Anxiety’- by Child Mind Institute
Discover what makes Toorak College unique by attending our small group tours and prospective parent information evenings. Enrolments now open!