It might be challenging to be back at school full time again during these Coronavirus times. It is another change in routine after staying home during lock down, and it might be hard to be back in the classroom and potentially catching up on school work, on top of any health questions you may have. So how do you get back into the swing of things after being in isolation and learning from home, and how can you cope with any worries you may have?
Now is a good time to ‘reset yourself’ for the days and weeks to come, so you can hopefully enjoy your days at school & learn what is needed for your future!
1) Stay motivated with Positive Thinking: Use positive thoughts to help you cope. Whatever thoughts and attitudes people choose about going to school, can often impact on their experience. For example, if you are thinking, “school is boring”, then this could make the experience even more negative for you, as your mood is low and this can lead to negative behaviour, such as skipping classes, getting into arguments, or not concentrating in school. Your brain is like a sponge, whatever thoughts you put into your mind, is going to play out through your behaviour and experiences. Try positive thoughts instead to stay motivated & have a better school experience.
2) Maintain Structure and Routine: Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time daily. Create a daily routine by using your own calendar or wall poster that is easily visible to you, jotting in due dates of assignments and any other special dates. This will help you to feel more organised and in control, and clearer about what is ahead.
3) Be Physically Active Daily: This will improve your mental health & feelings of well-being (it’s a scientific fact that exercise brings us good feelings). Examples could be walking to and from school, playing a sport, yoga, dancing or bike riding.
4) Eat Healthy Food: Good nutrition and healthy eating will give you the energy to get through the day & stay physically healthier! Check out info about healthy food choices here
5) Good Sleeping Patterns: Maybe during Coronavirus lock down, your sleeping patterns varied. You might have stayed up later than usual playing video games or scrolling on TikTok. It is important to try to get to sleep at a reasonable time every night and be consistent, especially now that you need to get to school at a certain time. Getting enough sleep is so important for you, so you can have enough energy throughout the day, improve your memory, attention and concentration, to stop craving unhealthy snacks & help you better deal with stress. Good sleep is like a mental health superpower. When you get enough sleep, it is easier to manage a more positive mood during the day. You will have more patience and be able to deal with challenging situations better. Also, you reduce your risk of mental health challenges in the future!
For 12–17yr olds, 8 to 10 hours sleep is ideal. For 18yrs+, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended
Check out headspace sleep info for more tips- here
6) Manage stress effectively: It is important for us to deal with our stress in healthy and positive ways. Due to school being back in a time of Coronavirus, stress levels of young people could be higher than usual. The following strategies can help with managing stress:
- Try doing something calming everyday like journaling, breathing exercise or meditation.
- Organise your space: this includes your workspace at home, your diary and your books.
- Take small breaks when needed even if it’s just for two big breaths
- Remember to reward yourself for the small accomplishments, it can be really easy to be critical of ourselves
- The above tips on health eating, sleep and physical activity are important to reduce stress levels
- Talk about any worries you may have – with an adult you trust (eg. parent, teachers, or the school counselor). Of course, you can always talk to a friend, but they may not be able to support you with everything. Sometimes just letting out our worries makes us feel much better. Other times we need to talk to a professional adult to support us.
*Please note, every student should be safe at school. If you are experiencing any kind of safety concern related to bullying or harassment, please tell a trusted adult immediately.
7) Write down your GOALS: This can reset your mind to appreciate why you are attending school- example, to get a job in the future, find a new hobby, learn something new or make new friends.
8) Create a balance in your life: Be kind to yourself and be easy going with where you are at with your school work. This is an unusual time, and family & school should be understanding. After school, have time out and do activities which are relaxing, have some fun, or a chat & laugh with your friends about something positive. You may have heard it said that ‘Laughter is a good medicine’, so try to find something positive like a funny TV show or comedy video.
Remember that, ultimately, attending school is for you. It is for you to learn and grow as a person, and work out what direction you want to take in the future. We all need support and encouragement in these times. So we hope these tips have been helpful in some way, and we wish you all the best with school and your future. You can do it, one day at a time!
2Connect has free support services for a young person or family member in the St George or Sutherland region to talk about any concerns or difficulties. Phone us on 95561769 or read how we can help here. Other support services are Kids Helpline 24hrs on 1800 55 1800 (or online), or you can chat at eheadspace.org.au