A Back to School Message for Students from the OCDSB Mental Health Team

Heading back to school in September after a summer break can make you feel a number of different things. Are you excited to see friends and have a routine each day? Are you dreading not being able to sleep in? Are you stressed about what the workload will be like? Are you worried about starting a new school? No matter what you are feeling right now, it’s totally normal.  There is no one right way to feel.  

Even if you are someone who is looking forward to it, the transition back to school can be exhausting. Below are a few strategies that might help as you adjust to the return to school:

Talk About How You are Feeling

There is no one way to feel right now, all emotions are okay. Students, teachers and parents will all be adjusting to the new pace of life again. Talk with someone you trust about how you are feeling, you are not alone in handling this change. Check in with friends, be honest as this helps everyone feel less alone.

Focus your energy where it counts!

When feeling overwhelmed, focusing on what is within our control can help limit the time we spend worrying about things that we can’t. Ask yourself, “is this something within my control?” If not, make an effort to let it go as this can help life feel a little more manageable. 

Get on top of your sleep schedule

A good night’s sleep is essential for healthy coping. Gradually move back to the school year routine to ensure you get enough sleep and are prepared for the typical school week schedule. Create a routine, avoid napping when possible, and consider turning off screens at least an hour before bedtime. 

Set realistic expectations

As we prepare for the pace ahead, remember to set realistic expectations for yourself. It is great to set goals, just make sure that they are reasonable ones.  You are human and it is important to be kind to yourself just as you would be to a friend or loved one.

Taking care of you!

Developing healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as regular exercise can contribute to both a healthy body and mind. It is also important to find things that you enjoy and do this as often as possible. Whether it is reading a good book, cuddling with your pet, playing sports, drawing, or so much more, give yourself permission to make time each day to do whatever makes you happy. 

Reach out 

Staying connected with others (friends, family, community) is a powerful way to influence our mood and our mental health. If you are finding the transition back to school is overwhelming, remember you don’t have to carry this alone. Reach out to a caring adult such as your parent, a teacher, guidance counsellor, coach, or sibling. There are also people available in your community, including:

Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

LGBT YouthLine 1-800-268-9688

Distress Centre 613-238-3311

Hope for Wellness Helpline 1-855-242-3310

YSB Crisis Line 613-260-2360

Remember, this is a time of adjustment for everyone. Be patient with yourself and others. Take things one day at a time, focus on your strengths, build on them and embrace the ups and downs of the year ahead.



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