Managing Anxiety About Returning to School

There is still half of the summer left and yet some teachers will start to have anxiety about returning to school now and will miss out on some of the enjoyment of the summer. There is so much to enjoy – drippy ice cream, sand in your hair, peeling skin – I love summer! Truthfully, I do! So, here are some strategies to help manage anxiety and enjoy the rest of the summer.

  1. Decide that you will allow yourself to be anxious the week before school or the day before school or whenever you choose – perhaps when you start setting up your classroom. This allows you to enjoy the rest of the summer up until that point. You can tell yourself that you don’t have to be anxious now because it’s not time yet.
  2. Positive self-talk. The ideal is that we would be excited for school to begin again because we so enjoy our students and job. When anxious thoughts turn up, they are mostly negative, and we can capture those thoughts and choose to make them positive. For example, we can choose to think of great classes we have had in the past and about how this year’s class will be like them!
  3. Plan something to look forward to. Perhaps you can plan a field trip or a party for your class within the first month of school – something you and the students will enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – perhaps walking over to the library and having freezies on the way home. When anxious thoughts come, redirect them to the thing you are looking forward to.
  4. Make a plan for the things that make you anxious. Are you worried about classroom management on the first day? Make a plan what you will do if things get out of control. Are you anxious about your relationship with the educational assistant? Make a plan to have a good relationship with them and what to do if there is conflict. When you have anxious thoughts, you can remember you have a plan for that problem.
  5. Talk with a therapist. Sometimes our anxiety is very difficult to manage and we need some help. If anxiety is causing you to change your sleeping patterns, eating patterns or preventing you from enjoying your life, it may be time to get help managing it. The summer is time for teachers to refresh and re-energize. If anxiety is stealing that, it is difficult to enjoy the summer.

There are many other strategies to help deal with anxiety and these are just a few to get you going. Please feel free to list your favourite strategy below! Yes, eating ice cream counts!! Chocolate might be my go to!


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