The hope blog


Tomila Sahbaei | August 16th 2021 | 5 min read

This coming fall, a lot of universities will be opening for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot of high schools will be returning full time. Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, it’s likely that back-to-school preparations have taken a backseat in a lot of our/your minds so we put together this blog post to help you all prepare!

Back to Basics: School Supply Shopping

First things first, you need to cover the basics. That means figuring out which supplies you need and where to get them. Most stores have opened their doors again, with some restrictions, so the good news is that you can get back to typical school supply shopping. If you’re still wary of going in public you can always order your items online too! And, if you happen to have a lot of extra school supplies you do not need for the year, most schools have a donation program where you can donate your items so they can go to someone in need. Every school will have a different list of necessary school supplies, so make sure you consult the school you are attending. Most elementary and high schools will hand out lists, while universities leave it up to the professor to decide.

So-Long Summer Sleep Schedule

The second thing to do in preparation for back-to-school season is to start following a routine. While it is very tempting to stay up long hours in the summer, it can be very hard to adjust your sleep schedule rapidly, rather than progressively over time. Aim to head to sleep a half hour to an hour earlier than you normally do if you’re a night owl and are worrying about getting back into the habit of early mornings. If you follow this tip a few days in advance before going back to school, your sleep schedule will be on track to wake up on time. Routines are not all about sleep though, and in fact, some students end up having late morning classes. In that case, sleeping early is less of a necessity. A lot of students incorporate exercise into their routines too. Some students will be getting back to their regular athletic activities come September. Higher level athletes likely already have a summer fitness plan; nonetheless, getting back into the habit of exercising can have equal benefits for athletes and non-athletes alike. There is no need to go overboard, but light exercise averaging out to about 150 minutes per week will boost your serotonin levels and better help you structure your day. Furthermore, if you are experiencing anxiety about returning to school, yoga and meditation workouts can help to calm your nervous system, and provide you with a mindset that will mitigate those anxious feelings.

The Annual Back-to-School Nerves

Finally, it is important to address the unique situation this back-to-school season has presented for people globally. After months of lockdowns and restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic it can be equally exciting and nerve-wracking to be returning back to in person classes on a regular basis similar to our pre-COVID schedules. Denying these feelings will only cause harm, it is important to acknowledge them and work through them with compassion for yourself. While some people are more than ready to get back into the regular routine of things, others may still feel anxious or nervous about returning. As mentioned earlier, meditational practises implemented on a regular basis can help you work through these feelings. There are also some simple mindfulness practises that you can do in public, like lightly tapping your hands on your knees if you are sitting in a class, or taking three deep breaths when you are feeling overwhelmed. If you are still feeling overwhelmed try to find someone you can trust to confide in. Many schools offer well-being support systems, set aside time to research them and figure out if they could offer you assistance. If you feel comfortable, you can also confide in family or friends. Do not push your conflicted feelings down, it is courageous to acknowledge personal vulnerability. 

This post outlines some key ways to prepare for the back-to-school season: some more common ways, and some to fit the unique circumstances of returning to a post-pandemic world. Everyone will have their own more specific needs, depending on schooling level and school guidelines, so make sure you consult your own.

A sticker with an illustration of a brain that talks about mental health