by Dana Martin, BYS Counselor
For many, it may be difficult to believe that summer is coming to a close and school is starting up again. I have seen a wide range of feelings around the idea of going back to school, ranging from disbelief that summer went by so fast, to counting the days until everyone can get back to a routine and be around their peers again. Fall represents a time of change for us all. There’s a change in the seasons, more time spent indoors, and of course, the busyness that comes with school and, perhaps, lots of activities starting up again.
In addition, we all find ourselves living in the midst of continued uncertainty about the future with regard to COVID and wondering how it will impact our lives. While there is excitement about new beginnings, it is normal that this excitement comes with some nerves. Whenever things feel out of our control, we tend to get nervous or anxious about the outcome. This might be a great time to lean into our fall routines. With so much we really cannot control but feel like we want to, it can be calming to focus on things that are within our control. We can schedule things like study times, family meals, social interactions, time spent alone, or enjoying hobbies. It is normal when we are feeling anxious to think these things do not matter. Anxiety can feel crippling and debilitating, which is why it might be difficult for teens to start and stick to a routine. Taking even a small step towards a healthy routine, whatever that looks like for you and your family, can help get you moving in the right direction. Celebrate small achievements!
We anticipate that many teens are going into the school year feeling behind on academics. With the pandemic upending all of our lives during the last school year, a lot of kids will naturally feel overwhelmed by the idea of being back in a classroom and faced with a heavy workload. It is important we help teens ease into the school year and recognize the pressure they are likely feeling. Doing things “perfectly” is always an illusion while just showing up and trying your best at any given moment is something we are all capable of.
If you or someone in your family is struggling, consider reaching out to BYS for support. Licensed mental health counselors are available for free, confidential, in-person and remote counseling for all youth 13-21 years old. Go to askbys.org to learn more or make an appointment.