It’s almost that time of year again: Time to head back to school. I know, I know. Teachers and students across the country collectively want to punch me in the face right now (while parents likely want to French kiss me). Hey, don’t shoot (or tongue) the messenger, m’kay?
It’s officially August (no matter how hard you’ve been willing it not to be), and for many students and teachers, August marks the end — the end of carefree summer days, the end of staying up and sleeping in late, and the end of freedom as they know it. But heading back to school doesn’t have to be so bad. Really. It doesn’t.
Here are five ways to beat the back to school blues.
Hit the back to school sales. Fewer things make us feel as good about a nerve-racking situation as having something new to show off when we get there. Whether it’s new school supplies or a trendy back to school outfit, shopping for back to school items can make the transition from summer to school more exciting. (You know you want to strut in the first day with this Outkast song playing in the background):
Get into the back to school rhythm. While we may be tempted to latch onto every last opportunity to live schedule-free, it’s important to establish a new routine before school starts again. Skip staying up and sleeping in late (no, your Orange is the New Black Netflix marathon is not a productive use of your time), and slowly ease back into a more manageable ritual. By becoming comfortable with the sleep and eating schedules school will require of us early, we can minimize the shock this change can cause to our systems later (and it is a BIG shock).
Exercise that brain. Experts agree that students lose mathematical and, sometimes, reading knowledge during the summer months . It stands to reason that adults might lose some of their acuity as well (well, adults other than you, of course. OBVIOUSLY). Recharging those brain cells by reviewing the previous year’s class and homework skills, by playing educational games online, and by completing the occasional cross word puzzle before school starts can lessen the stress and fatigue our brains experience upon returning to school. (It might not be as fun as clicking refresh on your Twitter feed once every 30 seconds, but it can still be fulfilling. Promise.)
Set goals. Often the most stressful part about returning to school is the uncertainty we feel about how things will turn out. Setting personal, academic, and professional goals serves to give us a sense of control over our upcoming experience, thus motivating us to tackle this new challenge head on (even if those goals are as simple as pledging not to swear at people before you’ve had your morning coffee).
Use positive thinking. An experience or endeavor is only as successful as one imagines it will be. Setting aside negative thoughts and apprehensions in favor of positive ones will increase the likelihood that things will go smoothly upon our return (no matter how certain you are that you’ll forget to put your pants on before heading to school sometime during the first week). Visualizing ourselves making it there on time, establishing good relationships with fellow classmates and teachers, and achieving because of our honest efforts sets us up for success from the start.
Students and teachers do not have to fall victim to the back to school blues. Taking these measures to beat them can ensure not only that you’ll lessen the amount of time you spend bathing in your own tears about having to go back, but also that you’ll actually enjoy a pleasant summer to school transition.