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Getting ready for school: academically, emotionally & physically

Going back to school can feel like a bit of a shock to your system! You have to get up early, pay attention in class and do homework too. It’s a huge change to your summer routine. So to help you through this tricky time, here are some tips on how to get yourself ready for school– mind, body and all!

How to get ready academically

If you’re feeling nervous about starting school, you’re not alone. It’s especially a nail-biting time when you move schools or step up from GCSE to A-level. And after the summer, maybe you think you’ve forgotten how to study altogether! But it’ll come back to you and in the meantime, here are some things you can try to get your head back into school.

1. Get your workspace ready


If you haven’t already, get your desk organised. Recycle any school notes from last year that you don’t need, or file them away– or look over them to see if they’ll help jog your memory! If you can get yourself new stationery– highlighters, folders, pens of different colours– which can help you keep your notes organised. You can add a corkboard above your desk to pin reminders like deadlines. A plant can give your desk a nice touch too!

2. Take it one step at a time.

Whether you’re feeling confident (or not) about schoolwork, start small and build up from there. Look through your course syllabus to get your brain back into gear. For a lot of students, reading feels like a slog after the holidays. So, try reading ahead as a warm up. Pencil in study time to review your notes every day after school. It’ll make the class lessons sink in better. It’s also a good idea to set extra time aside on the subjects you find the hardest.

3. Mark your calendar with key dates.

There are so many dates to keep track of! It’s easy to forget deadlines unless you’ve got them marked. Whether you go for a paper diary or an app– just make sure you use it every day so that you know what’s coming up. For bigger projects, you can break up the work into chunks and set yourself mini deadlines.

How to get emotionally ready

Back to school is a time of change and every change brings up mixed feelings. If you know that you’ll go through lots of emotions at this time (like all teens do!) then you can be easy on yourself. Soon, you’ll settle into the new routine.

1 . Expect some highs (and lows).

Back to school can set off a rollercoaster of emotions. You might’ve been in denial a week ago (maybe you still are!) about school starting up again. Maybe the night before, you had that feeling of dread– especially if you’re starting at a new school. You might be wondering if you’ll make friends, or if your mates will still be the same or if you’ve drifted apart over the summer…. Everyone goes through ‘back to school’ in their own way. And just knowing that it can be a bumpy ride for a few weeks can help you feel better about it.

2. Jot it down.

Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a great way to let go of your worries. You can use this space to be completely open. Just let it all out in a great rush of words on the page. And don’t edit your spelling or grammar. If you’re worried about going back to school, draw a line down the middle of your page. Write down your worrying thoughts on the left side, and on the right, try and think of advice you’d give to a friend. This exercise can help you see your worries in a more detached way.

3. Talk to someone you trust.


If you’re not sleeping because you’re dreading school, or are just feeling anxious all the time– it might be a good idea to chat to a friend or family member. Just talking to someone else can help you feel better– especially when you hear they’re going through the same thing. And if you want someone to talk to that’s an expert with these issues, you can reach out to YoungMinds.

How to get physically ready

You’ll know by now that how you feel in your body can have a knock on effect on your academics. And it goes the other way around too. If you’re struggling in a subject, or you’re feeling down because it’s hard to find new mates at school– it can make you feel lousy in yourself. Here are some simple, time tested tips to get your body feeling its best.

1. Eat food that fuels your brain.

It sounds pretty basic, but there’s a reason why the advice is given out time and time again. Start off the day well with a balanced breakfast. It’s best to avoid a huge sugar rush in the morning (because you’ll crash pretty quickly), so go for a breakfast cereal that’s low in sugar. It’s all about keeping your diet balanced (with plenty of leafy greens, and fruits) so get advice from an expert before making any big changes to your diet.

2. Move your body!

It’s easy to get into a routine of sitting at your desk for homework, and then moving to the couch to watch something before bed. But getting your body moving is key to boosting your energy and just feeling good. Build walks into your day, and if you can, walk out in nature. You can do yoga and stretches in your room too by watching YouTube videos. It doesn’t have to be a big workout– just getting up every hour is a good start if you’re not someone who’s very active.

3. Get your Zzs.

You’ve probably had a few sleepless nights before. So you know how hard it can be the next day just to do simple things! It’s tough to be at your sharpest when you’re low on sleep. And being sleep deprived can have a knock on effect on your mood too. To get a good night’s sleep, try to stay off your phone at least an hour before bed. At the very least, switch off the white lights on your devices. Really use the hour before to wind down. That might mean listening to relaxing music, reading in bed, or meditating.

Back to school can take a toll on your mind and body. It’s normal to feel tense about going back. But you can make it easier on yourself by being patient and taking steps to give your body and mind what it needs. Soon, you’ll get back into the swing of it!

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