Be Proactive About Back to School Stress

Be Proactive About Back to School Stress

By Julia Johnson, School-Based Programs Coordinator

As summer comes to an end, students and school staff start to get ready to go back to school. Transitions are not always easy, and this time there is a lot of stress from uncertainty about what school and even the future looks like.

“Chronic stress decreases memory and cognitive flexibility, as it increases anxiety and vigilance, writes Jerome Schultz, Ph.D. in the journal ADDITUDE. “This ratchets up a student’s alert level and gives rise to a protective defensiveness. As a result, too much energy is put into escaping the threat by avoidance, resistance, or negativity.”

As we learn to navigate this new normal, we are constantly being asked to be comfortable with the on-going experiment of what is going to work and what is not going to work.

This means we must learn to stay flexible and open to change. Some of this change will be out of our hands. But the change that is not out of our hands is how we respond to change.

Instead of feeling anxious or fearful about shifts that may happen, be ready for what might or might not happen. Prepare for the unknown by finding your own stability in a state of uncertainty. Feeling comfortable in the unknown can be a difficult task but stepping outside of your comfort zone is also how we can learn to grow. With the right metal health support in place you can adjust to the abnormal as it comes.

One way of doing this is by checking in with a therapist during these transitional periods of life. Therapists are trained to help you gain the confidence to embrace all of life’s shifts. They can be a resource for gaining more tools in the tool belt you can use to build a better you. Whether your working goal is reducing anxiety or stress by growing comfortable in the unknown or learning to notice unhealthy coping behaviors, therapy is there to help you navigate these unprecedented times.

Students and school staff can receive online therapy totally free. So, while you are reviewing your back-to-school check list, purchasing those pencils, add online therapy to your to do to support your mental health as you go back to school.

To learn more about the program and enroll in your first online therapy session , please visit our landing page at Review clinicians, read about our mission and then fill out the four forms needed to get started. If you have any questions or need further assistance please contact Tri-County Health network at 970.708.7096 or email Julia Johnston, School Based Program Coordinator at

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