7 Tips for Managing Back to School Stress

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Heading back to school in the fall every year always comes with a lot of emotions: excitement, anticipation, a few nerves, maybe even some relief about getting back into a routine after a busy summer. This year, thanks to the pandemic, stress and anxiety are likely to be bigger factors than usual – but don’t worry, you’ve got this. Here are some ideas to help you keep your stress at bay so you can focus on your nursing education, whether you’re going back to school online or in person.

  1. Take care of your physical health: Eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise. Focus on incorporating nourishing foods and styles of movement that you enjoy – that will help you prioritize your healthiest habits. Keeping your body healthy can help keep your stress under control as well.
  1. Plan ahead: If the potential for certain situations is causing you a lot of stress, make a plan for how you would handle them. For example, if you’re worried about getting sick with COVID-19, keep a list of your doctor’s contact information, nearby testing sites, and anything you might need to be able to quarantine. You can apply this advice to both personal and school matters.
  1. Schedule your worry time: Block off some time, maybe 15 minutes in the afternoon, to focus on the things that are causing anxiety. Write them down and think through them. Knowing that you have time set aside to think through and address your stressors can help prevent your anxieties from overwhelming you when you need to focus on something else.

Want more self -care ideas? Here are 7 tips for reducing stress during uncertain times.

  1. Take a break from the news: It makes sense to want to stay up to date on the latest news when so much changes so often, but it can also be a huge drain on your mental health. If you feel your anxiety ramping up while you’re scrolling through your social media newsfeeds, put your phone down and find something else to do.
  1. Unwind: Take some time to read a favorite book, take a bath, watch a great show – whatever it is that helps you relax.
  1. Lean into your community: Reach out to your fellow nursing students about classes, studying for upcoming tests, or having a quick coffee together via Zoom. Especially If you aren’t physically together in classes, keeping connected with your classmates virtually can help prevent feelings of isolation. Don’t forget, your educators are available for you as well. Check in with them to see if they are hosting remote or in-person office hours and make a point to attend with questions that you may have.
  1. Spend some time outside: Get some fresh air and sunlight, whether by going for a walk or taking your study materials outside on a nice day.

Try any or all of these tips to help figure out what types of stress and anxiety relief work best for you. You’ll be back into a routine and enjoying your semester soon – and remember, you’ve got this!

Are you an anxious test taker? Check out these tips for online and in-person tests.

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